Valerie Mizrahi is the professorial director of the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM) at the University of Cape Town (UCT), founding co-PI and Emeritus Investigator in the Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa at UCT, and director of the UCT Molecular Mycobacteriology Research Unit. Valerie is a former International Research Scholar and Senior International Research Scholar of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (USA). She served as founding co-director of the Department of Science & Innovation/ National Research Foundation Centre of Excellence for Biomedical TB Research from 2004-2023 and directed an extramural research unit of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) from 2000-2021. She was based at the University of the Witwatersrand and National Health Laboratory Service in Johannesburg for 22 years before moving to UCT in 2011. As director, Valerie has led the growth and advancement of the IDM to become the largest cross-Faculty postgraduate research institute at UCT and leading centre of research excellence in Africa renowned for its research and training programs in tuberculosis (TB), HIV, HIV-associated TB, and other infectious diseases prevalent in Africa.
Recognised by her peers as a global leader in TB research, Valerie has held an “A” rating from the National Research Foundation since 2009. Her research focuses on aspects of the physiology and metabolism of Mycobacterium tuberculosis relevant to TB drug discovery, drug resistance and mycobacterial persistence. She has published more than 180 original research articles, reviews, commentaries, and book chapters. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, African Academy of Science and Royal Society of South Africa, Associate Fellow of The World Academy of Science, and member of the Academy of Science of South Africa. Her major awards include the 2000 Unesco-L’Oréal For Women in Science Award (Africa & Middle East), the 2013 Christophe Mérieux Prize from the Mérieux Foundation, Gold Medal of the South African Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2016), the Order of the Mapungubwe (Silver, 2007), SAMRC Platinum Award (2017), and Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship (2018). In 2023, she was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society.
Valerie has served on numerous scientific advisory boards and review committees locally and abroad. She is currently a member of the Discovery Expert Group of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Board of Governors of the GSK Tres Cantos Open Lab Foundation, and the scientific/external advisory boards of the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard (Boston), the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology (Berlin) and the Seattle TB Research Advancement Centre. Valerie has trained more than 80 postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows, some of whom have moved into leadership positions in South Africa and abroad. In addition to (co)-supervising her own trainees, Valerie has sponsored and/or mentored many other postgraduate students, postdocs and junior faculty, and has made significant contributions, as co-investigator or site PI, to various programmes funded by the Fogarty International Centre of the NIH, the UKRI GCRF and LifeArc (Crick African Network), and other agencies which have supported the career development of dozens of emerging researchers from across Africa and has also mentored or sponsored many other early-career researchers.