Juana Portugal, Antonio Fuchs, and Paula Gonçalves (INI/Fiocruz)
Beatriz Grinsztejn, head of the INI’s Laboratory of Clinical Research on STDs and AIDS, was granted last Wednesday (March 19) the Ward Cates Spirit Award by the HIV Prevention Tests Network (HPTN). Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the United States, attended the event.
The award was given by Myron Cohen, the main investigator of the network. More than one thousand researchers with links to the HPTN cast ballots to elect this year’s winner. “Beatriz Grinsztejn joined us leading the HPTN 052 study in Brazil (Prevention of Sexual Transmission of HIV with anti-HIV drugs) and coordinating other different clinical trials at Fiocruz. She is known for her energy, generosity, spirit of integration, honesty, and all qualities we look for when we grant this award. Beatriz plays an important role in the decisions adopted by Brazil regarding infectious diseases, HIV, STDs and, more recently, in the context of the fight against COVID-19”, highlighted Myron.
Grinsztejn, clearly very moved, thanked her family and the team of the INI’s Laboratory of Clinical Research on STDs and AIDS, led by her. “I am very honored to be granted the Ward Cates Spirit 2021 award today. In 30 years working in HIV care and prevention research, I have always been dedicated to attending vulnerable populations and to helping to bring more knowledge to the field. HPTN appeared as a milestone and a source of inspiration for my career and the possibility to participate in the HPTN 052 study changed my life in profound ways, as a researcher and as a person, opening up new opportunities”, she stated. Grinsztejn said the award has a special meaning for her as a Latin-American woman and dedicated it to all Latin American women researchers, who face countless barriers - many of which invisible - to successfully do science.
With a medical degree from Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), she has a master’s and a doctor’s degree in Infectious and Parasitic Diseases by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). She has dedicated her career to Clinical Research on Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, in particular to the study of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, coinfections, and associated diseases. In addition to leading the Clinical Research Laboratory for STDs and AIDS of the Evandro Chagas National Infectiology Institute, she is also a professor for the stricto sensu post-grad course of the Institute (INI/Fiocruz). Leader of the HIV/AIDS Clinical and Epidemiological Research Group (CNPq Directory of Research Groups), she is also a consultant for the Ministry of Health, where she is part of the Auxiliary Commission for the Handling of HIV Infection in Adults (CAA). Grinsztejn is Fiocruz’s leading researchers in a number of papers published in academic journals.
At the international level, she is a member of the council of the International Aids Society (IAS), a member of the HIV/AIDS Adult Guidelines Development Group, of the World Health Organization, of the Scientific Expert Panel, of UNAIDS, of the Therapeutic Advisory Committee of the Pan-American Health Organization, and of research networks such as the AIDS Clinical Trials Group and the HIV Prevention Trials Network NIAID/NIH (EUA). She is also a member of the Executive Board of the Aids Clinical Trials Group, a member of the International Advisory Board and of publications The Lancet HIV and Journal of the International AIDS Society.
Ward Cates Spirit Award
The Ward Cates Spirit Award was created in 2016 and aims to acknowledge the commitment of Ward Cates and his contributions in the fields of HIV/AIDS prevention, international family planning and women’s health. The HPTN leadership established the Ward Cates Spirit Award to be handed every year to a member of the network with remarkable contributions for the HPTN’s missions by means of their leadership and guidance.
The award is a tribute to the legacy of epidemiologist Willard (Ward) Cates Jr. (1942-2016), an administrator dedicated to the HPTN’s scientific and research programs and renowned scientist who contributed with pioneering research in birth control methods and HIV preventions.
About the HPTN
The HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) is a global network of collaborative clinical trials that brings together researchers, ethics specialists, members of the community, and other partners, to develop and test the safety and efficacy of interventions projected to prevent HIV acquisition and transmission. The HPTN collaborates with more than 85 research venues for clinical research in 19 countries, to evaluate new interventions and HIV prevention strategies in populations considered more vulnerable to infection.
The HPTN research agenda - more than 50 ongoing or concluded trials with more than 161,000 participants enrolled and validated - focuses mainly on the use of integrated strategies: use of antiretroviral drugs (antiretroviral therapy and pre-exposure prophylaxis); interventions for substance abuse, especially injectable drugs; behavioral interventions to reduce risk; and structural interventions.