Dr. Glenda Gray is the executive Director of the Perinatal HIV Research Unit (PHRU), a research unit affiliated to the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, which she co-founded with James McIntyre in 1996. Trained as a medical doctor and later specialised in the area of Paediatrics, she developed the PHRU into a world renowned clinical research, epidemiology, operational research and treatment site for HIV infected adults and children, employing 400 individuals. Under her leadership, the PHRU now has an extensive HIV prevention research portfolio, which includes HIV vaccine research, microbicide research and other biomedical and behavioural interventions. Their research in TB includes examining new agents to prevent TB, TB prophylaxis and TB vaccine evaluation.
In addition, Gray currently heads the NIH funded Soweto Clinical Trials Unit, which has five clinical trials units (HVTN, MTN, IMPAACT, HPTN, ACTG). She was responsible for overseeing the first HIV vaccine trials that were run in-country, and has been involved in 5 phase I/IIa and IIb HIV vaccine trials in South Africa. She also has spearheaded the clinical development of the South African AIDS Vaccine initiative’s HIV vaccines, the SAAVI DNA/MVA candidates. She was the protocol chair for the HVTN 503/Phambili study, a phase IIB HIV vaccine trial, involving the Merck Ad5 polyvalent vaccine, protocol chair for the HVTN 073 trial that is investigating South Africa’s two HIV vaccines, the SAAVI DNA-C2 and the SAAVI MVA-C. Gray was one of the co-chairs for the AIDS Vaccine Conference in 2008 as well as the IMPAACT international vice chair for Vaccines until June 2010. Currently she is the HVTN Director of International Programs and the Co-PI of this network. She is involved in the P5 public private partnership designed to test two HIV vaccine regimens in late stage clinical development, and participate in the regulatory working group, as well as the communications and clinical trials working group.
Gray has been involved in the establishment of an adolescent program for the PHRU, and as well as conducting NIMH funded research that will adapt the current CDC risk reduction counselling model into an age, developmentally, and culturally acceptable counselling model for adolescents. Their current adolescent portfolio includes the investigation of HPV vaccination in this age group as well as socio-behavioural research investigating adolescent susceptibility to HIV.
In 1997, she was awarded the Femina Woman of the Nineties Award, for her contribution to Perinatal HIV Research. In 2002, together with James McIntyre, she was awarded the Nelson Mandela Health and Human Rights Award for pioneering work done in the field of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV-1. Gray was awarded the IAPAC “Hero of Medicine” award for work done in the field of HIV treatment in children and adults. She was admitted to the Academy of Science in South Africa in 2007, and have served on two expert panels for the Academy. In 2009, James McIntyre and Gray received the N’Galy-Mann lectureship in recognition of their HIV research contribution in South Africa. In 2011/12, she was admitted as a Foreign Associate in the Institute of Medicine, of the National Academies, USA. In November 2011, the National Research Forum of South Africa rated her as an internationally recognised or an “A” rated scientist, making her one of 17 “A” rated scientists at the University of the Witwatersrand. In June 2012 she will receive a Doctor of Science, honoris causa from the Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada.