Professor Konrad Scheffler was awarded the TWAS-AAS-Microsoft Award for his work in bioinformatics (science of merging biology, computer science and information technology) which has assisted in the analysis of the evolution of HIV.
The award recognises young scientists living and working in Africa whose research in computer science has had, or could have, a positive impact in the developing world.
The 37-year old Professor’s work on viral evolution has provided valuable input into research aimed at countering HIV, among other viruses.
Scheffler applies ‘computational techniques and probabilistic modelling’ to gain insight into the selective forces that drive the evolution of HIV as it adapts to the changes in its environment, for instance in its reaction to antiretroviral drugs developed to suppress the virus.
‘It is critical for medical researchers who are developing vaccines or other treatments to suppress the epidemic, to be able to predict and understand how the virus might possibly react to different scenarios,’ Scheffler explained.