Announcing the Recipients for the 2020 CFAR International Pilot Awards

The UW/Fred Hutch Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) is delighted to announce the winners of the 2020 International Pilot Awards.  The International Pilot Awards are for the development and implementation of innovative and collaborative HIV-related research projects in Eligible Low and Middle Income Countries by junior faculty. Awards are for up to $15,000 over one year.

Please join us in congratulating our awardees!

2020 International Pilot Award Recipients

Anna-Ursula Happel, PhD
Senior Lecturer, Division of Medical Virology, University of Cape Town,
Title of Project: Vaginal virome of pregnant women living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Field Site: Midwife Obstetrics Unit, Khayelitsha
How will the award further your project?
This pilot award would provide sufficient funding to generate preliminary data on the effect of HIV infection on the vaginal virome during pregnancy. Additionally, it would (i) lay the groundwork for understanding the interplay between HIV, vaginal virome, bacteriome and preterm birth (PTB) risk, which is relevant for developing novel diagnostics and interventions for improving PTB among women living with HIV (WLHIV), thus potentially decreasing infant morbidity and mortality, and (ii) contribute significantly to my career development.
Ednah Ojee, MBChB, MMed

Tutorial Fellow and Pediatrician, University of Washington - Kenya
Title of Project: A pilot study to inform the development of a home visit intervention to reduce morbidity and mortality in HIV-exposed Kenyan neonates
Location: Nairobi, Kenya 
Field Site: Mathare North Health Centre
How will the award further your project?
This pilot study will directly inform the design of a postnatal home visit intervention that is tailored to Kenyan women’s needs, which will be tested in a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the benefit on infant and maternal outcomes, to measure the cost-effectiveness of such an intervention, and to assess feasibility of scale-up on a regional or national level. The current study enhances collaboration
between the partner institutions (University of Washington, University of Nairobi, Kenyatta National Hospital, University of Montreal, Fred Hutch) and involves a multidisciplinary team of physicians, epidemiologists, qualitative experts, and health economists in Kenya, establishing foundations for new collaborations as I begin my path to an independent career as a physician-scientist. This pilot will be an opportunity to advance my career in research by combining my experience as a Pediatrician and study coordinator to leading this new direction of research as a Principal Investigator.

Asa Tapley, MD, MSc
Senior Infectious Disease Fellow, International Clinical Research Center, Department of Global Health, University of Washington
Title of Project: Urine test strip and mobile phone application for monitoring isoniazid adherence during tuberculosis preventative treatment for people living with HIV in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
Location: Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Field Site: Sweetwaters
How will the award further your project?
The data collected in this pilot study will directly inform our approach to tuberculosis preventative therapy (TPT) adherence monitoring in an upcoming larger study to evaluate the integration of 3HP into differentiated community-based HIV treatment. Moreover, being the Principal Investigator of this pilot study will provide an exceptional leadership opportunity, expanding my knowledge base on tuberculosis (TB) preventative therapies, deepening my understanding of the operational aspects of international clinical research, and strengthening my relationships with experts in my field here and abroad. These are all critical steps in forging a successful career in TB/HIV clinical trials in sub-Saharan Africa with the goal of improving and protecting the lives of the poor and marginalized most impacted by these dual diseases.