KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV Program Director, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Chevy Chase, Maryland)
Jill Conley is with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, serving as the program director for the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV. She joined the institute in 1994, and was the previous director of international, precollege science education, and biomedical research resources programs.
Conley received her PhD from Yale University in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. She received a Science and Diplomacy Fellowship from the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1989, where she spent a year in the Office of the Science Advisor at United States Agency for International Development gaining expertise in public policy and relating science and technology to societal problems and foreign affairs. Her special focus was on evaluating the capacity for innovative scientific research in Africa. From 1990 to 1994, she worked at the Board on Science and Technology for International Development of the National Research Council. Her projects aimed to improve international scientific collaboration and build scientific infrastructure in Africa, Latin America, Southern Asia, the Middle East, and the Central Asian Republics.
At HHMI, she directed programs that support outstanding scientists who are making significant contributions in a broad range of fields of basic biomedical research, as well as programs that improved science outreach to schools, teachers, and students in elementary school through high school. These programs aim to generate synergy among the scientists and educators, and encourage collaboration and innovation. Training is an important component of all of these initiatives, as is the goal of improving the scientific infrastructure in institutions in developing and middle income countries in the international programs.
HHMI recently announced a new initiative in South Africa, the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for TB and HIV (K-RITH), in partnership with the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban. KRITH focuses on combating the intertwined HIV-TB epidemics through construction of state of the art biosafety level 3 laboratory facilities, with research support for the conduct of basic and translational research, including work addressing diagnostics, pathogenesis, therapeutics, vaccines, and prevention. K-RITH will be the center of vibrant research and training programs involving a global network of outstanding scientists and institutions, aiming to create the next generation of scientific leadership in Africa.
Conley was elected in 2005 to the Council on Foreign Relations. She serves as a member of the BIOTEC International Advisory Board in Bangkok, Thailand. In the past, she was a trustee of Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, chairing the education committee, and also served on the boards of the Montgomery County Public Schools Education Foundation and the World Health Organization’s Tropical Disease Research scientific dissemination portal (TROPIKA).