Mucosal immunology scientist awarded FLAIR Research Fellowship

29 April 2019

CAPRISA scientist, Dr Lenine Liebenberg, has been awarded the prestigious FLAIR research fellowship by the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the Royal Society in London. The announcement was made at an event held in Naivasha, Kenya from 4 to 5 April at which the 30 FLAIR Research Fellows were welcomed by the Executive Director of the AAS Professor Nelson Torto and  Lesley Miles, the Chief Strategy Officer for the Royal Society, who encouraged them to use their abilities to solve African and global challenges

Liebenberg, a scientist in CAPRISA’s Mucosal Laboratory, will receive £300,000 (US$391,500) over 2 years as part of FLAIR’s initiative to help talented early-career researchers, whose science is focused on the needs of the continent, establish independent careers in African institutions and ultimately, their own research groups.


Liebenberg has combined training in medical virology, microbiology, genetics, and immunology which has directed the scope of her research in understanding immune responses of the human genital mucosa. During her Fellowship she will investigate the impact of recent sex and partner change on the genital microbiome and immune environment, expanding on research generated through her SANTHE Path to Independence award.


  FLAIR  is a programme of The AAS and Royal Society, with support from the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). The 2019 FLAIR funded scientists were selected from a competitive pool of more than 700 applicants. “Fostering science and innovation for social benefit and prosperity is key to the wellbeing of any society and investing in Africa’s scientific talent holds the greatest potential to tackle global challenges and improve quality of life,” said Professor Richard Catlow, Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society.