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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Gopal to address winter graduates

Satish Gopal

Satish Gopal, an innovative cancer researcher on the forefront of cancer treatment in Malawi, will deliver the keynote address at the University’s winter commencement.

As the cancer program director for UNC Project-Malawi, a research and care collaboration between Carolina and the Malawi Ministry of Health, Gopal is working to build the care infrastructure that will both help Malawi address its rising cancer burden and serve as a model for effective cancer care in low-resource settings across the globe.

He is the only board-certified medical oncologist practicing in Malawi, a southern African country of about 18 million people. Chancellor Carol L. Folt will preside at the event, which will be held at 2 p.m. Dec. 17 in the Dean E. Smith Center.

“Dr. Gopal embodies the transformative and inspirational spirit and drive that exemplifies Carolina’s faculty and their global mission of research, education, service and caring for others that is changing our world,” Folt said. “His dedication and commitment to improving the health of the Malawi people – and work to teach future generations of caregivers – will inspire the minds and spark the imaginations of our graduates who are now prepared to go out and make their own impact in our state, nation and world.”

Gopal joined the faculty in 2012 and is jointly appointed in the divisions of hematology-oncology and infectious diseases as an associate professor of medicine. He lived in Tanzania from 2007 until 2009, during which time he developed a career interest in cancer in Africa. He has lived in Lilongwe, Malawi, with his family since 2012.

Gopal provides care to patients in the Kamuzu Central Hospital Cancer Clinic and leads cancer research activities, including mentoring American and Malawian trainees working on cancer projects. He is the principal investigator of the Malawi Cancer Consortium and Regional Center of Research Excellence for Non-Communicable Diseases and leads Malawi’s participation in several cancer care and research networks sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. He is also appointed as honorary senior lecturer at the University of Malawi College of Medicine and contributes to cancer-related teaching for Malawian undergraduate and postgraduate trainees.

Carolina has been conducting HIV and sexually transmitted diseases research in Malawi since 1990 when it began a collaboration with the Malawi Ministry of Health.

In 1999, these efforts were consolidated into a center of excellence for HIV/STD research called UNC Project-Malawi. Located in the capital city of Lilongwe, UNC Project-Malawi is on the premises of Kamuzu Central Hospital, a 1,000-bed public care hospital that serves nearly six million people.