International recognition for outstanding early career researcher
9 August 2017
Dr Duleeka Knipe with Professor Murad Khan, President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention.
Dr Duleeka Knipe, from the Bristol Medical School at the University of Bristol, has received the prestigious Andrej Marusic Award in recognition of her outstanding research into suicide prevention.
The award was presented at the 29th World Congress of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) in Sarawak, Malaysia on 21 July.
Dr Knipe was nominated by David Gunnell, Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Bristol. Professor Gunnell co-supervised Dr Knipe’s Wellcome-funded PhD Studentship on Suicide and Socioeconomic Position in Sri Lanka and is a mentor for her current Economic and Social Research Council (UK) Global Challenges postdoctoral research fellowship: Understanding the association of low socioeconomic position with increased suicidal behaviour in Sri Lanka.
Dr Knipe's research has focussed on low and middle-income countries where 76 per cent of the world’s suicide deaths occur. She has led collaborative work on pesticide exposure in Sri Lanka with colleagues in Crete and is collaborating with researchers in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Taiwan. She has also recently been invited to visit a leading mental health research group in Goa, India.
Dr Knipe, commenting on receiving the Andrej Marusic award said: “It is a great honour to receive such a prestigious, international award so early in my career. It has been my great fortune to work with some inspiring and accomplished researchers, including Professors David Gunnell, Chris Metcalfe and Helen Lambert at the University of Bristol, and to have had the belief and backing of the Wellcome Trust and the South Asian Clinical Toxicology Research Collaboration.
“I am passionate about using research to create a positive impact. My motivation comes from the belief that by gaining a deeper understanding of the factors that contribute to suicide, we can begin to develop strategies for suicide prevention around the world. This award recognises the importance of this aim and provides a platform for building greater awareness.”
In addition to her international research, Duleeka is actively engaged in non-research related suicide prevention activities. She coordinated a suicide awareness workshop for the University of Bristol's Students’ Union, and is currently organising a social media campaign to raise awareness about mental health issues amongst the student population. She has also advised a UK-based film company on their program of work related to mental health.