LSTM’s Professor Henry Mwandumba receives the 2019 Royal Society Africa Prize

News article 18 Jul 2019
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LSTM’s newly promoted Professor Henry Mwandumba has been honoured by The Royal Society, being named as the recipient of this year’s Royal Society Africa Prize.

The prize is given annually to recognise research scientists based in Africa who are making innovative contributions to the biological sciences, including basic medical science, which contributes significantly and to capacity building in Africa. Professor Mwandumba has been named as this year’s recipient for his novel work in the description of the TB phagosome in HIV infected alveolar macrophages and his leadership in the College of Medicine in Malawi.

He said: “I am delighted and honoured to receive this prestigious prize from the Royal Society in recognition of my contribution to science in Africa. I thank those who nominated me and supported my nomination, members of my research group, colleagues and collaborators in Malawi and worldwide, our patients and study participants and the funders who have supported and continue to support our work. Lastly, I commend the Royal Society for recognising and promoting scientific excellence in Africa through the Africa Prize.”

As Deputy Director of the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme (MLW) and Head of the Mucosal and Vascular Immunology Group at MLW, Professor Mwandumba has recently been promoted to the role of Professor. He is an Honorary consultant physician at Queen Elizabeth Central hospital in Blantyre, Malawi and at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital in Liverpool. His research focuses understanding the effects of HIV-1 infection on lung immunity and predisposition to respiratory infections, especially TB.

LSTM’s Director, Professor David Lalloo, said: “I want to extend my warmest congratulations to Henry (Prof Mwandumba) on being recognised in this way by The Royal Society. It is testament to the impact of his work and to the inspiration and outstanding leadership that he offers to all of those who work with him.”

Professor Mwandumba is President of the Federation of African Immunological Societies (FAIS), member of Council of the International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS), Immediate Past President of the Immunology Society of Malawi (ISM) and Treasurer of the East, Central and Southern Africa College of Physicians (ECSACOP). He has received support for his research from the Wellcome Trust, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Institutes of Health (USA) and the UK Medical Research Council (MRC). He was the 2015 Cornell University’s Distinguished African Scholar and received the MRC/DfID African Research Leader Award in 2017.

Professor Mwandumba is the first Malawian-born clinician to be awarded the role of Professor. He had to leave the country to gain his medical degree and clinical expertise because there was no opportunity to do this in Malawi at the time. Since then, the College of Medicine and MLW were established, both of which provide clinical training for doctors and researchers. Professor Mwandumba has been involved in developing the ambitious vision for the CREATOR project which will provide much needed research capacity and postgraduate training promoting a sustainable medical workforce within Malawi, without professionals having to leave the country.