Prof Yahya Choonara received the award forBasic Sciences, Technology and Innovation. He is an Associate Professor of Pharmaceutics in the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) and Senior Research Scientist at the Wits Advanced Drug Delivery Platform (WADDP) research unit. He is an expert in Computational Pharmaceutics and ‘PharMATHaceutics’, a novel concept which he has coined, for implementing unique computational algorithms that assist in the optimisation of drug delivery systems. His research has been widely published with 148 research publications and 30 editorials/opinion papers/books/book chapters in scientific journals. He is a co-inventor of more than 40 local and international patents. He supervises more than 70 postgraduate students and is a member of several academic and scientific organisations. He has been the recipient of several awards such as the South African National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) 2012/13 Award in the TW Kambule Emerging Researcher category and is principal grant holder and recipient of several research grants such as the Carnegie Corporation of New York Large Equity Programmes Research Grant and the Friedel Sellschop Award at Wits University. He frequently acts as a guest editor, co-editor and expert reviewer for several international scientific journals, peer-reviewed conference proceedings and as a representative member of the research advisory panel of local and international research funding institutions. Choonara is a NRF-rated scientist in the Y1 category.
Prof Marlien Pieters received the award for Earth and Life Sciences. She is the Head of the sub-programme: Nutrition and Haemostasis in the Centre of Excellence for Nutrition (CEN), North-West University. Her role in this sub-programme is not only to establish a sustainable research programme for postgraduate students, but also to acquire infrastructure, equipment, international and national networks and sustainable research funding for this sub-programme. She has supervised and co-supervised eight PhD and 10 MSc students and has 38 publications in international peer-reviewed journals, one book chapter and 48 conference presentations of which eight were invited presentations. She has twice received a two-year grant from the Sugar Association of South Africa as well as two, three-year grants from the Medical Research Council. She has also obtained international funding from the Newton Fund under the Advanced Fellowship programme. She is a Co-chair of the Factor XIII and Fibrinogen Scientific and Standardisation Subcommittee of the International Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis and is also a board member of the International Fibrinogen Research Society. She is a C2-rated scientist of the National Research Foundation a member of the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS). She has led an international task group involved in the international standardisation of methodology related to fibrin network characterisation which led to a recent publication in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis as an official communication of the Scientific and Standardisation Committee of the International Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis.