Stephen Lawn Prize

Stephen Lawn TB-HIV Research Leadership Prize winners 2022

This year, even more outstanding applications were submitted for this prestigious award, now in its sixth year. After much deliberation, it was decided to select not one, but two winners:

  • Dr Ruvandhi Nathavitharana
  • Dr Bern-Thomas Nyang’wa

Many congratulations to the successful joint winners, who this year, the LSHTM TB Centre will be welcoming in person to the 2023 Stephen Lawn Memorial lecture which is to be given by Dr Madhu Pai on 23 March 2023.

Dr Ruvandhi Nathavitharana

Ruvandhi Nathavitharana

Dr Ruvandhi Nathavitharana is an Assistant Professor at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Nathavitharana’s research on tuberculosis (TB) is funded primarily by the US National Institutes of Health and focuses on the use of implementation science to optimize TB diagnosis and improve TB care delivery in high TB incidence countries, with a focus on Peru and South Africa.

Dr Nathavitharana has served as a technical expert analyzing data to inform WHO guideline development group panel recommendations on the accuracy of line probe assays for the diagnosis of TB, the impact of the urine lipoarabinomannan test, and molecular WHO-recommended rapid TB diagnostic test implementation strategies.

Her clinical efforts focus on the longitudinal, multidisciplinary care of patients with TB and non-tuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) infections. She is an Associate Editor for Clinical Infectious Diseases, with a focus on mycobacterial infections. Dr Nathavitharana is the Co-Director of the Social Justice Pathway for the BIDMC Internal Medicine Residency.

She also serves as the Chair of TB Proof, an advocacy organization, based in South Africa, whose mission seeks to combine stories and science to destigmatize TB and mobilize national and global resources to end TB.

Dr Bern-Thomas Nyang’wa

Bern-Thomas Nyang'wa

Dr Bern-Thomas Nyang’wa is currently the Medical Director for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

In the 20 years since Dr Nyang’wa graduated from medical school in Malawi he has worked on TB-HIV in numerous contexts globally. He started his TB-HIV career in Malawi working for MSF in the rapid scale-up of antiretroviral therapy. He subsequently continued working for them in Nigeria, Chad and Central African Republic, much of it including roles in determining and delivering HIV policy, HIV-TB activity integration and testing and treatment programmes. He brought experience in TB and TB-HIV from many, varied international settings (Colombia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Georgia, Ethiopia) to his role in the Manson Unit working for MSF in London. It was during this time that Dr Nyang’wa ‘s work began to be particularly focussed on TB/HIV training development and delivery and in drug-resistant TB, informed by skills acquired during an MPH (with Distinction) acquired from the University of Leeds in 2010.

Dr Nyang’wa’s contribution to the global management of MDR-TB was set in motion 10 years ago when he first started talking about the potential for MSF to lead and sponsor an RCT of MDR-TB therapy. This developed into the PRAgmatic Clinical Trial for an Effective, Concise and Less toxic all oral regimen (PRACTECAL) which studied the BPaLM regimen which has been recommended by WHO for the treatment of rifampicin resistant TB.

Dr Nyang’wa is also completing his PhD in TB drugs pharmacology in the Clinical Research Department under Prof David Moore, and he is an honorary clinical lecturer at UCL’s Institute for Global Health and a visiting lecturer at the University of Leeds School of Medicine.