Biological Sciences

Professor Francisca Mutapi awarded Chancellor’s Award for Impact

Francisca Mutapi, Professor of Global Health Infection and Immunity in the School of Biological Sciences, has received the Chancellor’s Award for Impact.

Chancellor's Awards recognise innovation, relevance, creativity, personal dedication and impact in teaching and research. 

The impact award honours colleagues whose outstanding research has made a demonstrable contribution to society, globally or locally outside direct academic recognition. 

Francisca was recognised for the outstanding impact her work on the treatment for Bilharzia has had on policy and practice, in particular for millions of children in Zimbabwe. Schistosomiasis, also known as bilharzia, is an infection caused by a parasitic worm that lives in fresh water in the tropics.

Those who have been infected for a long time may experience liver damage, kidney failure, infertility, or bladder cancer. In children, it can cause poor growth and learning difficulty.

By integrating a highly successful programme of fieldwork spanning over 20 years, with laboratory and quantitative work, her group has been able to conduct high impact research on schistosomiasis.

The work has been translated to policy, by the World Health Organisation and the Ministry of Health in Zimbabwe, and has led to the current 5-year National Schistosome Control Programme in Zimbabwe.

Francisca is also Deputy Director of the Tackling Infections to Benefit Africa (TIBA) Partnership, a new multidisciplinary research programme that is seeking new solutions to neglected tropical diseases and emerging epidemics in Africa.

The African-led £7 million initiative will last for four years and brings together experts from the University of Edinburgh and nine African countries.

The scientists will pool their expertise to reduce the burden and threats from diseases like malaria, sleeping sickness, schistosomiasis and lymphatic filariasis.

The programme will seek to strengthen every part of the health system – improving diagnosis and surveillance, providing better access existing treatments and developing new therapies.

Related Links

Profile: Francisca Mutapi

Project: Understanding Bilharzia

TIBA Partnership