It is a pleasure to invite Dr. Francisca Mutapi for a member spotlight in our community scheduled for next week. Dr. Mutapi has a wealth of experience from an endemic country rising star to an eminent international scientist. We will learn how in her vantage position, she harnesses north-south linkages for mutual progress, giving back to her origins and inspiring others. Dr. Mutapi‘s work focuses on global health and tropical diseases. She has been conducting field studies in Africa, together with laboratory studies in the UK, for over 20 years, working mainly on the neglected tropical diseases schistosomiasis (commonly known as bilharzia) and malaria. Her work involves using basic science to inform helminth control and intervention programmes. Recently, her work has led to paediatric helminthiasis policy revision by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and contributed to the implementation of Zimbabwe’s ongoing 5-year national schistosomiasis and soil transmitted helminth control programme.
Dr Mutapi was born and brought up in Zimbabwe. She attended the University of Zimbabwe for her first degree, a BSc Hons in Biological Sciences, winning the best BSc programs student award and the best BSc Honours student award in Biological Sciences in 1991. In 1993, she successfully competed for one of two national Beit Trust Scholarships (established in 1906) to read for a DPhil at the University of Oxford from 1993 to 1997. Following this, she undertook postdoctoral training at the Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium (1997-1999), before returning to Oxford to take up a departmental lectureship post at the Department of Zoology and St Hilda’s College in 2000. This was followed by lectureship positions at Birkbeck College and the University of Glasgow’s Veterinary School, and a training fellowship at the University of Edinburgh in 2002. Following her training fellowship she was awarded a 5-year, tenure-track research fellowship from the Research Councils of the UK and established an independent research group that is highly productive, with many publications in the top journals in her field of research. Additionally, she established collaborative links with other national and international experts such that her work is multidisciplinary and combines original scientific research with significant practical impacts on child health and development in Africa. With this strong base she established an excellent record in postgraduate and postdoctoral supervision, especially in terms of final career outcomes and publication record of her students. She was elected as one of the 60 founding members of the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Young Academy in 2012 and is currently a senior lecturer at the University of Edinburgh.
The spotlight will run from May 4 – 8.