Professor Anna-Lise Williamson

Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine and Division of Medical Virology, Department of Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Anna-Lise Williamson was awarded her Ph.D. in 1985 from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her training is in virology and vaccinology. She has worked in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town (UCT) since 1987, where she was promoted to full professor in 2004. In 2008 she was awarded a South African Research Initiative Research Chair in Vaccinology. She is one of the founding members of UCT's Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, which is generally regarded as the best institute in Africa for infectious disease research. Her laboratory has successfully tested novel vaccines against papillomaviruses, Rift Valley fever virus, rotavirus and rabies virus in animal challenge models. One of her most significant achievements was to direct the vaccine development group that got two locally-developed HIV vaccines into clinical trials. These are the only HIV vaccine candidates developed in Africa to go into human clinical trials. Their role was vaccine design and construction, as well as generation of pre-clinical data to support regulatory documentation, including vaccine stability assays and immunogenicity in mice and non-human primates. Present projects include the development of novel HIV vaccines and recombinant veterinary vaccines based on lumpy skin disease virus. She is also an expert on human papillomavirus, and has participated in national committees on the introduction of HPV vaccine in South Africa, as well as serving as a consultant for the WHO. She is actively involved in training post-graduate students and has over 200 peer reviewed publications.