Gray, who trained as a Medical Doctor and Paediatrician at the University of the Witwatersrand, co-founded and led the Internationally renowned Perinatal HIV Research Unit, based at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto with James McIntyre. She is internationally known for her research in HIV vaccines and interventions to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV. She is the Co-PI of the of the NIH funded HIV Vaccine Trials Network and is responsible for the expansion of HIV vaccine research in Africa. In 2002, she was awarded the Nelson Mandela Health and Human Rights Award together with James McIntyre for pioneering work done in the field of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV-1.
As a scientist, she has published over 300 peer-review science papers. She is a member of the Academy of Science in South Africa, the African Academy of Science and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS). She is one of a handful of South Africans who are foreign associates of the USA National Academy of Medicine, of the National Academies of Science, and has served on their Global Health Board. She was the Chair for the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD). Gray has also been awarded the IAPAC “Hero of Medicine” award for work done in the field of HIV treatment in children and adults.
In 2009, James McIntyre and Gray received the N’Galy-Mann lectureship in recognition of their HIV research contribution in South Africa. In June 2012 she received a DSc (honoris causa) from the Simon Fraser University, Vancouver for her work in the field of mother to child transmission of HIV. She has also been admitted into the American Academy of Microbiology in 2012. In 2013 she received the country’s highest honour, the Order of Mapungubwe, granted by the president of SA for achievements in the international area which have served South Africa’s interest as well as the EDCTP’s outstanding Africa scientist award. In 2017, she was listed amongst the Times 100 influential people in the world. Her focus now is on capacity development in Science with a special focus on transformation and increasing diversity in Science. For this, in 2018 she has received the Regional World Academy of Science award for science capacity development in Africa. Recently she was listed by Forbes as one of Africa’s 50 most powerful women. She is a member of the NRF Board; sits on Wits Council as a member and serves on the board of the international GARDP (Global Antimicrobial R&D Partnership) and has recently being appointed to the WHO STAG for TB. She is on the NDOH Ministerial Advisory Committee for COVID 19. She has is also spearheading the SAMRC funding for COVID 19.