Faculty honoured with prestigious award

Karachi, July 17, 2019 (PPI-OT): Five faculty members* from Aga Khan University, who are co-authors of the multi-centre ANISA study, are among the winners of this year’s Charles C. Shepard Science Award which recognises the most original research in global public health. The annual prize from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) selected ANISA as being the most impactful study in the assessment category. Researchers from 12 institutions in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, the United States, Denmark and Switzerland who collaborated on the study were honoured with the award.


ANISA, the largest-ever analysis of neonatal infections in South Asia, used advanced microbiology and computational modelling techniques to determine the incidence and causes of possible serious bacterial infections in new-borns. Data was gathered from five sites in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India with the University’s researchers and field staff leading the surveillance, collection and analysis of data from Pakistan.


Findings from the study have paved the way for metagenomics approaches that will shed further light on the causes of neonatal infections and help generate new insights on how to end preventable deaths of newborns by 2030, a target under goal 3 of the global Sustainable Development Goals.


Since 1986, the CDC and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) have presented the Charles C. Shepard Science Award to authors of the most outstanding peer-reviewed research papers. The award has been named after Dr Charles C. Shepard, a leading microbiologist who was chief of the Leprosy and Rickettsia Branch at the CDC for over 30 years.


* Co-authors of the study from AKU include Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Sajid B. Soofi, Shabina Ariff, Muhammad Imran Nisar. Anita Zaidi, a former chair of AKU’s department of paediatrics and child health, was the principal investigator for the Karachi site. Yasir Shafiq, Benazir Baloch, Furqan Kabir, Murtaza Ali, Aneeta Hotwani, Sheraz Ahmed, Imran Ahmed were also part of the project team on the study which was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


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