Kanki honored for work in AIDS research

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Dr. Phyllis Kanki
Dr. Phyllis Kanki

During its annual Points of Pride Research Day, March 27, the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine honored Dr. Phyllis Kanki, professor of immunology and infectious diseases at Harvard University, for her work in AIDS research.

Dean Jeffrey Klausner said, "We are pleased to present our Distinguished Research Alumnus Award to Dr. Kanki. Her work exemplifies the critical role that veterinarians play in human health and medicine."

Dr. Kanki is director of the AIDS Prevention Initiative in Nigeria, established with a $25 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Working with local leaders, APIN researchers are developing collaborative HIV prevention programs in Nigerian states where infection rates have remained below two percent. Prevention strategies are tailored to each state on the basis of surveillance data. The goal is to work with local government and educational and community organizations to incorporate training and capacity building into all prevention efforts, including public education.

"With the crucial information gathered from the start-up phase, we will make real and important progress in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria," Dr. Kanki said.

Dr. Kanki graduated from Minnesota in 1982 and earned her doctor of science degree in 1985 from the Harvard School of Public Health.

"I am honored and delighted to receive this important award," Dr. Kanki commented. "My education at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine was a critical foundation for my research career. Throughout my post-CVM years, faculty at the college played an important role in the decisions that led me to public health research at Harvard. ..."

During the Points of Pride Research Day, Dr. Kanki presented a Distinguished Research Alumnus seminar, "The HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Africa—Implications for Pathogenesis and Vaccine Research."