The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has appointed HHMI Senior Scientific Officer and K-RITH Acting Director Dr Dennis McKearin as their Vice President of Operations. Dr McKearin will take up the position, based at HHMI headquarters in Chevy Chase, MD in the United States, from September 1, 2016.

McKearin joined HHMI in 2008 from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, where he was associate dean for the Medical Scientist Training Programme and professor of molecular biology. His research focused on germ-line stem cell biology in Drosophila and signalling in the stem cell niche.

McKearin’s relationship with K-RITH began in 2010 as a member of the institute’s Scientific Advisory Board and as the principal liaison between K-RITH and HHMI. He was appointed Acting Director in 2013, and describes his past three years at K-RITH as “an opportunity of a lifetime”.

“Dennis has done an unbelievable job of bringing stability, vision, organisation and community to K-RITH,” commented former HHMI President, Dr Robert Tjian.

K-RITH would like to thank McKearin for his enormous contribution to the institute. We wish him everything of the best in his new position at HHMI.

*From 1 October, 2016 K-RITH will join with the Africa Centre for Population Health to form a new interdisciplinary research institute, called the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI). Current Africa Centre Director, Dr Deenan Pillay, will lead the new institute. AHRI is made possible through R1.2-billion in grants from Wellcome Trust and HHMI, with University College London and the University of KwaZulu-Natal as significant academic partners.