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K-RITH awards grants to foster teamwork among South African TB/HIV scientists
Date:5/4/2011

The KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH) has awarded a total of 1.7 million rand ($248,000 US) to 18 South African scientists and students to help build new tuberculosis and HIV research collaborations throughout South Africa.

These are the first Collaborative Grants awarded by K-RITH, which was founded in 2009 as a collaboration between the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). K-RITH's mission is to conduct outstanding basic science research on tuberculosis (TB) and HIV, translate the scientific findings into new tools to control TB and HIV, and expand the educational opportunities in the region. South Africa has more residents infected with HIV than any other nation and one of the highest per capita rates of TB.

"We wanted this program to foster more crosstalk between the TB and HIV research communities and to indicate our willingness to be part of that collaboration," says William R. Bishai, who became K-RITH's first full-time director in September 2010. "The high quality of the applicantsand the level of interest and enthusiasm for the projectssuggests that we are filling an unmet need for small grants to help start up new projects."

The Collaborative Grants competition was open to South Africa-based scientists (including students) outside of Durban. Applications were accepted in four areas: pilot research projects, travel, workshops, and students support. K-RITH received 66 applications, which were reviewed by top scientists and educators from South Africa, Europe, and the United States.

The grants fund a broad spectrum of projects that will start immediately, ranging from studies of naturally occurring TB in the local hyaena population to helping scientists create better computer models of the spread of TB and HIV. "This really is a chance to see who in South Africa is working on TB and HIV, not just those who are directly related to K-RITH," sa
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Contact: Andrea Widener
widenera@hhmi.org
301-215-8807
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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