Tag Archives: Africa

Will Black Panther Inspire Young Africans to Become Scientists?

Shuri, the Black Panther's brilliant scientist sister

When Black Panther opens in China on March 9th, worldwide box office receipts should exceed the $1 billion mark, destroying previous records. The movie, based on the Marvel comic, is set in the fictional African country of Wakanda, ruled by King T’Challa, the Black Panther. His sister, 16-year-old Shuri, loves to tease her older brother. Shuri is funny and daring and the brilliant mastermind behind the high-tech Wakandan Design Group. (Think Q, Tony Stark and Elon Musk, only smarter, younger, and more fashionable.)

How do real-life African scientists view the character of Shuri? To find out, Martha Henry, HAI’s Executive Director, sat down with two Fogarty Fellows from the Lab of HAI Chair Max Essex. Dr. Catherine Koofhethile earned her PhD in immunology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is currently quantifying levels of provirus in people infected with HIV. Tapiwa Nkhisang arrived in the Lab after graduating from Smith College with a double major in neuroscience and economics. She conducts research related to the Botswana Combination Prevention Project. Continue reading

A Fresh Look at Infectious Disease Research in Africa


Thirty of the world’s leading infectious disease researchers gathered at Harvard on October 19th and 20th to brainstorm about the future of deadly diseases in Africa.

While modern medicine and technology have diminished the threat of many infectious disease pathogens in high-income countries, infectious diseases account for more than 17 million deaths worldwide every year. A significant number of those deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. Harvard has a long history of research collaborations with African universities and NGOs. While most research has centered on a particular disease such as HIV/AIDS or malaria, research findings often have broad implications for global health practice and policy.

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