Prof. Christine Carrington

Christine Carrington of Trinidad and Tobago is Professor of Molecular Genetics and Virology at The University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine Campus. She is perhaps the foremost regional authority on virus evolution and molecular epidemiology, respected in the scientific community regionally and globally, with an impressive record of publication and international collaboration.

Professor Carrington has been instrumental in developing the human and infrastructural capacity of Trinidad and Tobago and the region to deal with the threat of viruses to public health.  Her expertise is routinely sought by Caribbean government institutions, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) for addressing viral outbreaks which have a major impact on people’s lives all over the world.

Currently, she is a member of the UWI COVID-19 Task Force and an expert advisor to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. She has been a key player in understanding the molecular epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 in the Caribbean. More specifically, as principal investigator of the COVID-19 IMPACT project, she leads a team that has been carrying out whole genome sequencing for genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 variants for Trinidad and Tobago and 16 other Caribbean territories.

Professor Carrington’s research has contributed to the understanding of the evolutionary and ecological factors underlying the emergence and epidemic behaviour of viruses that are of public health importance to the Caribbean, and she has gone a long way in demonstrating that Trinidad and Tobago is a hub for serious viral genomics research. Her reputation has enabled her to establish research collaborations with several institutes including the University of Oxford, University of London, University of Edinburgh, Imperial College, University of Colorado, Colombia University, University of Texas Medical Branch, Virginia Tech, Vitalant Research Institute, and J. Craig Venter Institute.

Her past and present international collaborators include world-renowned leaders in the fields of virus evolution, arbovirology, viral phylodynamics and viral ecology. In recognition of her scientific achievement, she has been an invited speaker or panel member at prestigious scientific forums, including in June 2021, the online WHO Global Consultation on SARS-CoV-2 “Variants of Concern and their Impact on Public Health Interventions”.

Professor Carrington serves in several important public health and scientific capacities, including as Trinidad and Tobago’s representative on the Board of Governors of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology; Coordinator of the Pan American Health Organisation Reference Sequencing Laboratory at the UWI; Director of the Global Virus Network Affiliated Centre of Excellence at UWI, St. Augustine and Committee Member of the Pango Network, an international team of experts who oversee the identification and naming of different lineages of SARS-CoV-2.

Professor Carrington also engages in public outreach work where, drawing on her expertise and deep understanding of virology, genomics and epidemiology, she simplifies complex concepts for lay audience from various sectors of society in order to educate and raise awareness. She has been the recipient of significant awards for her research and mentorship. These include the UWI Research Award for Outstanding Research Mentorship (2012) and selection as one of UWI’s “60 under 60” leading academics (2008). She was awarded the Commonwealth Research Fellowship in 2004.