Researcher biography

Dr Gilks is an International Public Health specialist and Clinical Academic.

Currently Dr Gilks is Head of the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland. Previously he was head of UNAIDS in India, providing leadership and political advocacy for the joint UN response to HIV in a complex political environment, managing the ten UN cosponsors and fundraising for programme support with multiple stakeholders.

He graduated in Politics from Cambridge, did his clinical medicine in London (UCL), received a Masters in Medical Parasitology (LSHTM) before completing his DPhil on Malaria at Oxford. Following dual-track clinical training in adult and paediatric medicine, he specialised in Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine. He was Professor of Tropical Medicine at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, then Professor of International Public Health at Imperial, as he was seconded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) to WHO. His country postings include Brazil, Kenya, Papua New Guinea and India.

He has worked for over 25 years on tropical medicine, HIV and health systems strengthening, as a clinical researcher, providing technical assistance and in planning and policy development. He has considerable senior management experience: in UNAIDS, running its largest country office; in WHO, leading HIV Prevention, Care and Treatment policy and driving the target-based “three by five” roll-out; and in UK Universities, leading an Academic Department and establishing a vibrant research team conducting formative multidisciplinary clinical and systems research and trials in Africa. He was the Principal Investigator on the DART trial, still to date the largest trial of ART in Africa and published in 2009 (Lancet runner-up Paper of the Year). He remains research-active, with over 200 peer-reviewed publications; his Google H-index is 56.

In the UK, Dr Gilks raised and managed grant research income in excess of 15 million, and supervised 9 MD/PhD students. In WHO, he raised over $250 million for HIV/AIDS work, pioneered the Public Health approach to HIV, and edited up to 2009 all the Prevention and Treatment guidelines which set the global norms and standards for HIV programming.

With a 30-year background in lecturing, presenting and more recently interacting with the media, he has learnt to communicate simply, clearly and concisely.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Oxf.
  • Master of Science, University of London
  • Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery w/Hons, University of Cambridge
  • Master of Arts, University of Cambridge
  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Cambridge