Prof Lee Fairlie

Director: Maternal and Child Health

Professor Lee Fairlie is the Director of Maternal and Child Health at Wits RHI. She is a Paediatrician and Associate Professor within the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand. She serves as the Director of the Maternal and Child Health Department at Wits RHI. Prof. Fairlie’s clinical and research efforts are centered on the prevention and treatment of HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and other infectious diseases in children, adolescents, and maternal populations, with a focus on those affected by HIV. 

Prof. Fairlie obtained her MBChB from the University of Cape Town in 1997 and her Paediatric Specialist qualification (FCPaeds SA) from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2005. Since 2012, she has led the clinical research site at the Wits RHI Shandukani Research Centre. She has been the Investigator of Record for over 20 studies, including those funded by the NIH’s International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Network (IMPAACT) and the Microbicide Trial Network (MTN), as well as studies sponsored by Novovax, Path, Pfizer, Gates MRI, TB Alliance, British MRC, and UNITAID. 

Prof. Fairlie is an active member of the IMPAACT Therapeutic Scientific Committee and has contributed to several key protocols, including IMPAACT 2010/VESTED, IMPAACT 1090, IMPAACT 1094, and PRACTICAL. She co-chairs the MTN Network DELIVER/MTN 042 protocol, which evaluates the dapivirine ring in pregnant women. Additionally, she co-leads the Ubomi Buhle Pregnancy Exposure Registry, which tracks data on pregnant women across 15 facilities in three provinces of South Africa, enrolling over 18,000 women annually. 

Her expertise extends to various global health committees, including the WHO/IMPAACT HIV, Hepatitis, STIs Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Therapeutics Working Group and the CEPI-Maternal Immunisation Working Group. Prof. Fairlie also contributes to national health policy as a member of the National Department of Health and Southern African HIV Clinicians Society HIV guideline committees for children, adolescents, and PMTCT. 

Prof. Fairlie has played a pivotal role in Wits RHI’s COVID-19 vaccine studies and TB-prevention research. She is the co-National Principal Investigator for the CommuniTB study in South Africa. Her prolific research career is marked by over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles. 

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