Professor Ameena Goga Appointed as Unit Director of the HIV Prevention Research Unit

The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) is proud to announce the appointment of Professor Ameena Goga as the Unit Director of the SAMRC HIV Prevention Research Unit (HPRU). The HPRU, a Centre of Excellence in HIV prevention research on reducing HIV infections among women and men through biomedical interventions, is part of our strategy to address one of the leading epidemics in South Africa. 

Professor Goga, is a paediatrician with a PhD from the University of Pretoria and Masters degrees in Mother and Child Health (ICH, London) and Epidemiology (Columbia University, USA). Before her appointment as a Unit Director, she was a Chief Specialist Scientist and Deputy Director of the SAMRC’s Health Systems Research Unit and Interim Unit Director and Principal Investigator of the HPRU Clinical Trials Unit.

Goga is also a paediatric pulmonologist and honorary consultant in the Department of Paediatrics, Steve Biko hospital, University of Pretoria. Her research includes: the prevention of vertical HIV transmission especially breastmilk HIV transmission; preventing maternal HIV acquisition and developing models and systems to improve maternal and child health at all levels of the health system, including systems to monitor long-term health outcomes.

Over the past few months the SAMRC through our intramural research programmes has focused on public health studies on COVID-19. Professor Goga has worked tirelessly to fight the COVID-19 pandemic through her research, taking on a leading role in COVID-19 studies, including leading the country-wide COVID-19 point-of-care testing study as the SAMRC’s Principal Investigator. She is also a member of a community of practitioners, researchers, and others, who are contributing to the body of science about COVID-19 in children. 

“There are major advances in long acting biomedical preventative interventions including  vaccines, monoclonal antibodies and long acting antiretrovirals  and the HPRU plays a major role in assessing  and  implementing these  strategies  in our region, as well as contributing to the treatment of HIV infected adults and children, and addressing the co-morbidity of HIV and TB,” says Professor Glenda Gray, SAMRC President and CEO.

“The strategic response of the HPRU is to conduct innovative, collaborative research in basic, socio-behavioural and biomedical science, in a multi-disciplinary manner, to reduce the global and national burden and impact of HIV and related diseases,” said Professor Goga.

“It is a real honor to take on this position to be a part of defining and implementing solutions in HIV prevention research,” added Goga.

“I am delighted at the appointment of Ameena to this strategic role, heading one of our largest research units, supporting our endevour to join other organisations worldwide to prevent HIV infections through biomedical, behavioural and structural interventions,” said Gray.

On behalf of the Executive Management Committee, we congratulate Professor Goga and would like to thank the HPRU team and key stakeholders who have supported us through this transition.