UW/Fred Hutch CFAR Leadership Announcements

April 1, 2021


There are several updates on leadership roles in the UW/Fred Hutch Center for AIDS Research (CFAR). 
First, we are delighted to announce that Connie Celum, MD, MPH has agreed to be the next Director of our CFAR, and Ruanne Barnabas, MBChB, MSc, DPhil has agreed to join her as the CFAR Co-Director, as of April 1, 2021.  Drs. Celum and Barnabas will join the CFAR Leadership Team, which consists of the current Associate Directors, Corey Casper, Grace John-Stewart, Julie McElrath, Susan Mello, and Director Emeritus King Holmes
Both Dr. Celum and Dr. Barnabas bring internationally respected expertise and experience in HIV research.  Dr. Celum has been a leader in multiple areas of HIV prevention research, prominently oral pre-exposure prophylaxis, longer-acting antiretroviral and broadly neutralizing antibodies for prevention, and prevention and treatment of sexually-transmitted infections. She has led or co-led landmark multi-center HIV prevention efficacy trials, including genital herpes suppression for prevention of HIV acquisition as well as HIV transmission and the Partners PrEP Study, which demonstrated high efficacy of tenofovir and emtricitabine-tenofovir prophylaxis, and which contributed to regulatory approval of PrEP for HIV prevention. Dr. Barnabas is a South African Physician-Epidemiologist whose research focuses on interventions for HIV and STI treatment and prevention, and, more recently on COVID-19 prevention. She is particularly interested in novel approaches that increase access to services and has led clinical trials with companion health economic modeling to assess the potential impact of interventions as, for example, in the Delivery Optimization for Antiretroviral (DO ART) Study, which evaluates the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of decentralized, community-based ART initiation compared to clinic-based care.
We are very grateful to Dr. Grace John-Stewart, who has served as Interim CFAR Director since last November when Dr. Jared Baeten, our former CFAR Director, transitioned to become Gilead’s Vice President of Clinical Research, HIV Treatment and Prevention. Dr. John-Stewart’s insights and steady hand have been tremendously important in navigating the last four months. We also want to thank Susan Mello, who co-designed and managed the succession process with a wonderful balance of speed and thoughtful attention to all of the critical details. Finally, we appreciate each of the members of the CFAR Succession Oversight Committee for their help in ensuring a smooth transition to outstanding new leadership.
Second, after 25 years as our CFAR Developmental Core Director, Ann Collier, MD turned over the directorship of the Developmental Core this past December to Dr. Ruanne Barnabas, who had been serving as one of two Associate Core Directors.  We are incredibly grateful for Dr. Collier’s leadership and contributions over the years, including her 12 years as Associate Director of the CFAR.  And we are excited that Dr. Barnabas will continue to lead the Core with Associate Core Director, Jennifer Lund, PhD.  Look for additional Core leadership announcements in the months ahead.   In the meantime, here are a few words from some of Ann’s colleagues:

“Ann’s unfailing, effective, practical support was essential to our clinical and research-oriented HIV programs. Through the years, it was she who most effectively advocated for our clinical programs, and who most often highlighted the needs and opportunities for continued improvement. Her legacy is secured in the programs that ore thriving in the care of those whose lives you have so abundantly enriched. She deserves more recognition and appreciation than we can possibly express.” – King  Holmes
“Ann has been an inspiration to me and to all of us in CFAR. She has provided fantastic leadership to the Developmental Core for over 2 decades and has been so committed to the development of new HIV investigators. We will miss her energy, directness, and tireless commitment to scientific rigor and early investigators.” – Grace John-Stewart
“The CFAR Developmental Core bears the hallmarks of Ann’s passion for HIV research, training, and service. Building the next generation and thus ensuring outstanding services to clients is really synonymous with who she is.  She sees the whole person and gently, wisely, guides them to the next step.” – Ruanne Barnabas

In addition, Ana Gervassi, MSc, PhD transitioned from her Immunology Core leadership roles to a position in industry in January.  We are very grateful to Dr. Gervassi for her 7 years of service, first in leading the Specialized Cellular Immunity Subcore, and then for co-leading the Cellular Immunity and Flow Cytometry Subcore with Stephen De Rosa, MD as well as her Associate Core Director role for the Immunology Core.  Dr. DeRosa will continue to direct the Subcore, and Noah Sather, PhD has assumed the Associate Core Director role held previously by Ana.  We are also excited to report on the addition of Sandra Dross, PhD as Co-Director of the Non-Human Primate Immunology Subcore.  Here are a few words from some of Ana’s colleagues:

“It was always a pleasure working alongside Ana in the Core.  She was always so enthusiastic about our science and helping Core users.” – Stephen DeRosa
“I have really benefited from working with Ana.  Her ideas have shaped projects that might provide novel insights into HIV pathogenesis.   Also, I appreciate her…tremendous energy in the lab!"
– Lisa Frenkel
Please join us in congratulating and welcoming Dr. Celum as the new CFAR Director, and Dr. Barnabas as the new CFAR Co-Director and Developmental Core Director!  And please join us in thanking Dr. Collier and Dr. Gervassi for their years of service to CFAR, and welcoming new Immunology Core leaders Dr. Sather and Dr. Dross.