Gopal, MD, MPH, a member of UNC Lineberger, works to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer in Malawi, Africa.

Satish Gopal, MD, MPH, is the cancer program director for UNC Project-Malawi.

From the UNC-Chapel Hill Office of News Services

UNC Lineberger’s Satish Gopal, MD, MPH, an innovative cancer researcher on the forefront of cancer treatment in Malawi, Africa, will be the featured speaker at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Winter Commencement ceremony.

Gopal, is the cancer program director for UNC Project-Malawi, a research and care collaboration between UNC-Chapel Hill and the Malawi Ministry of Health. In the role, he 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.

Chancellor Carol L. Folt will preside at the event on Sunday, Dec. 17.

“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,” said Folt. “His dedication and commitment to improving the health of the Malawi people – and work to teach future generations of care givers – 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 UNC-Chapel Hill faculty in 2012. He is an associate professor in the UNC School of Medicine Division of Hematology-Oncology. 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 principal investigator of the Malawi Cancer Consortium and Regional Center of Research Excellence for Non-Communicable Diseases, and leads Malawi 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.

UNC has been conducting HIV and STD research in Malawi since 1990 when it began a collaboration with the Malawi Ministry of Health (MOH).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 (KCH), a 1,000-bed, public care hospital that serves a population of nearly six million people.

From the foundation of groundbreaking and life-changing infectious disease research, UNC-Project Malawi now employs more than 300 people and supports clinical care and education in disciplines including cancer, surgery and women’s health.

The research led by UNC in this small nation has made an impact across the globe, shaping world-wide understanding of the treatment of HIV. Gopal is hopeful his cancer research can have a similar impact.

Gopal received his undergraduate degree in biology and music and his master’s degree in public health at UNC-Chapel Hill. He completed his medical degree at Duke University and residency training at the University of Michigan before returning to UNC for fellowships in the fields of infectious disease and medical oncology.

Winter commencement will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 17, in the Dean E. Smith Center.


About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 111 master’s, 65 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty, staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 322,000 alumni live in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 165 countries. More than 175,000 live in North Carolina.