Professor E. Nigel Harris


VC E. Nigel HarrisEon Nigel Harris has been Vice Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (UWI) since October 1, 2004. He was previously Dean and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, from 1996-2004.  Professor Harris graduated magna cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa from Howard University, with a degree in Chemistry, then received a Master of Philosophy degree in Biochemistry at Yale University. He earned his MD degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978, and then returned to the Caribbean where he completed his residency in internal medicine at the UWI at Mona and was awarded the post-graduate degree, Doctor of Medicine (DM). In 1983, he went to the Hammersmith Hospital in London to do a fellowship in Rheumatology.


It was at the Hammersmith Hospital that he, in collaboration with Aziz Gharavi, Graham Hughes and others developed the anticardiolipin test (1983). Over the next decade, he and collaborators went on to refine the aCL ELISA test, developing calibrators and units of measurement for aCL antibodies. They went on to introduce the title Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS) and first proposed Criteria for its classification (1987). In 1984, Hughes, Harris and Gharavi initiated an international symposium on anti-phospholipid antibodies and these meetings have continued every two or three years, since that time (the next scheduled for Rio de Janeiro in 2013), attracting international researchers from diverse specialties of medicine and the biomedical sciences. In 1987, Nigel Harris moved to the University of Louisville where with Dr Silvia Pierangeli, they developed the APhL ELISA kit utilising a mixture of phospholipids that enables more specific diagnosis of APS. They also developed a mouse model of thrombosis to study effects of anti-phospholipid antibodies on thrombosis and in a series on in vivo and in vitro studies contributed to knowledge about the pathogenesis of the disorder.


For this work he shared with Dr Graham Hughes, Dr Aziz Gharavi and others, the Ciba-Geigy Prize awarded by the International League against Rheumatism (ILAR) in 1990. The National Medical Association (NMA), in its Centenary year (1995), awarded him a centennial award for contributions to medicine.  In 2011, he received the Caribbean Health Research Council Award for contributions to medical research.  Other noteworthy honours include the Martin Luther King International Award received in Washington DC in 2010 and the Cacique Crown of Honour from the country of his birth, Guyana, in 2011.


In addition to his role as Vice Chancellor of UWI, Professor Harris is currently Chairman of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), President of the Association of Universities and Research Institutions of the Caribbean (UNICA) and Chairman of the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC).


Professor E. Nigel Harris - Curriculum Vitae




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