E Nigel Harris

Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (Jamaica)


Professor Harris graduated magna cum laude from Howard University in 1968 with a degree in Chemistry. He later received a Master of Philosophy in Biochemistry from Yale University and a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He is internationally known for his work as a rheumatologist.  With Doctors Aziz Gharavi and Graham Hughes, he helped to define and develop a diagnostic test for Antiphospholipid Syndrome. Professor Harris and his colleagues have published over 150 papers on the subject. 

In 1987, he joined the University of Louisville, Kentucky, and in 1993 became Professor of Medicine and Chief of Rheumatology. In this position, he launched the Antiphospholipid Standardisation Laboratory that led worldwide efforts to standardise diagnostic testing. In 2004, Dr Harris accepted the post of Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI).  UWI serves 15 Caribbean countries with major campuses located in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad. Since coming to the University of the West Indies, Professor Harris has focussed on programmes that enhance contributions of UWI to Caribbean governments, broadened funding and enhanced alumni relations. A key initiative launched by Professor Harris was the creation of an “Open Campus” which uses the Internet to reach students in the dispersed islands of the Caribbean Sea.

In addition to his university position, Professor Harris holds a number of international leadership positions. He is currently President of the Caribbean Association of Universities and Research Institutes (UNICA), and Deputy Chairman of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU). He has received many honours and awards, including the Centennial Award for contributions to medicine by the National Medical Association (USA) and the Martin Luther King International Legacy Award.