ASSAf Members in the News

ASSAf Members in the News

Honorary awards/accolades

Prof Andrew Forbes

Prof Andrew Forbes has been awarded the 2020 Gold medal by the South African Institute of Physics (SAIP). The medal recognises his world-leading research in photonics as well as his significant contribution in science education and development of internationally recognised laser-based technologies. He is Distinguished Professor in the School of Physics at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). 

Two ASSAf Members have been presented with awards at the North-West University’s (NWU) Faculty of Health Sciences Research and Innovation Awards that recognise the efforts and achievements of its faculty members:

Prof Marius Smuts

Prof Marius Smuts has been presented with three awards, namely the:

  • Most productive senior researcher
  • Most sustainable productive researcher over a five-year period (2015–2019)
  • Most significant contribution to community-engaged research (in 2020)

He is currently Director and Professor in Nutrition at the Centre for Excellence in Nutrition at NWU.

Prof Salome Kruger is also recipient of the Most sustainable productive researcher award over a five-year period (2015–2019). She is Professor of Nutrition at the Centre of Excellence for Nutrition at NWU.

Two ASSAf Members have been presented with the 2020 Wits Vice-Chancellor’s Awards. They are:

Prof Karen Hofman: Social Impact Award

She is Research Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Wits.

Prof Johnny Mahlangu: Research Award

He is a full Professor in Haematology and Head of School of Pathology in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Wits.

Prof Quarraisha Abdool Karim

Prof Quarraisha Abdool Karim has been honoured with a Doctor of Science (DSc), honoris causa by Stellenbosch University (SU). The Honorary Doctorate recognises her pioneering research in the field of HIV and for advocating for the rights of people living with and affected by HIV; her commitment to advancing the health of young women in Africa and globally; her research leadership and scientific breakthroughs; and her generosity in sharing her knowledge through scientific and citizen-centred endeavours in Africa and beyond. She is Associate Scientific Director Centre for the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA).

Prof Jimmy Volmink

Prof Jimmy Volmink has been awarded the 2020 Chancellor’s Award by Stellenbosch University (SU), in recognition for his contributions to Evidence-based Health Care in Africa. He is currently the Dean in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at SU.

Prof Tahir Pillay

Prof Tahir Pillay and his team have won the first prize in the Biosciences category of the Innovation Hub’s Gauteng Accelerator Programme (GAP) Innovation Competition. They have won the prize for producing nanobodies directed against SARS-CoV2 proteins and they have been recognised for their research that aims to develop both low-cost biosensors and rapid lateral flow immunoassays that work on saliva rather than the uncomfortable nasopharyngeal swabs currently used in COVID-19 tests. Prof Pillay is Head of the Department of Chemical Pathology and the Division of Clinical Pathology in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Pretoria (UP).

Twelve ASSAf Members have been presented with awards at Stellenbosch University’s (SU) Research Output Awards for researchers who have made the biggest contribution to accredited publications (based on audited publication statistics of the 2018-output year) and doctoral graduates (December 2019/March 2020 graduations). They are:

Prof Ashraf Kagee is Distinguished Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychology at SU.

Prof Lesley Le Grange is Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Education at SU.

Prof Dave Richardson is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Botany and Zoology and the Director of the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology at SU.

Prof Umezuruike Linus Opara is a Distinguished Professor and holds the DST/NRF South African Research Chair in Postharvest Technology at SU.

Prof Mark Cotton is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Head of Division of Paediatric Infectious Diseases and Director of the Family Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Unit at Tygerberg Children’s Hospital (TCH) at SU.

Prof Aslam Fataar is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Education Policy Studies at SU.

Prof Soraya Seedat is Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, the Executive Head of Department of Psychiatry, and the South African Research Chair in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder at SU.

Prof Johann Mouton is Professor and Director of the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology at SU.

Prof Leslie Swartz is Distinguished professor of psychology at SU.

Prof Mark Tomlinson is Professor in Department of Global Health at SU.

Prof Yusef Waghid is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy of education at SU.

Prof Cherryl Walker holds a DST/NRF South African Research Chair in the Sociology of Land, Environment and Sustainable Development at SU.

Prof Herman Wasserman

Prof Herman Wasserman has been awarded with the prestigious 2020 University of Cape Town (UCT) Book Award for his second monograph, Media, Geopolitics and Power: A view from the Global South. The purpose of the UCT Book Award is to recognise outstanding and/or influential books written by UCT staff members. He is Professor of Media Studies and Director of the Centre for Film and Media Studies at UCT.

Prof Maxim Finkelstein

Professor Maxim Finkelstein has been awarded an A-1 rating in Probability, Statistics and Operations Research by the National Research Foundation (NRF). This is the country’s first A-1 rating in this field of research. A-ratings are awarded to researchers who are unequivocally recognised by their peers as leading international scholars in their respective fields for the high quality and impact of recent research outputs. Prof Finkelstein is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Mathematical Statistics at the University of the Free State.

Seven ASSAf Members have been presented with awards at the South African Medical Research Council’s (SAMRC) Scientific Merit Awards. They are:

Prof Mpiko Ntsekhe: Silver Award

He is Professor and Chair of Cardiology at University of Cape Town and Head of the Division of Cardiology at Groote Schuur Hospital.

Profs Graeme Meintjes and Michele Ramsay: Gold Award

Prof Graeme Meintjes is Professor of Medicine and SARChi Chair of Lung Infection and Immunity in Poverty-Related Disease at the University of Cape Town and Professor Michele Ramsay is the director of the Sydney Benner Institute for Molecular Bioscience (SBIMB) at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Profs Heather Zar and Linda-Gail Bekker: Platinum Award

Prof Heather Zar is Professor and Chair in the Department of Paediatrics & Child Health at Red Cross Children’s Hospital and Prof Linda-Gail Bekker is Deputy Director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre in the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine at the University of Cape Town.

Profs Jimmy Volmink and Mike Sathekge: Presidential Award

Prof Volmink is currently the Dean in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University and Prof Mike Sathekge is Professor and Head of Nuclear Medicine Department at the University of Pretoria. The SAMRC Scientific Merit Awards recognise scientific excellence and contributions by outstanding medical scientists “whose work has made an indelible impact in advancing the lives of South Africans”.


Prof Saurabh Sinha

Prof Saurabh Sinha has been elevated to a Fellow by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE). An IEEE Fellow is the highest distinction only reserved for select IEEE members in recognition of their extraordinary contributions in any of the association’s fields of interest. He is Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Internationalisation at the University of Johannesburg. 

Prof Hester Klopper

Prof Hester Klopper has been inducted as a Fellow Ad Eundem of the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). The Fellowship Ad Eundem is a prestigious award that is conferred on individuals in recognition of their work and achievements in nursing and midwifery, as well as their contributions to nursing, midwifery, healthcare, education, and research. She is Vice-Rector of Strategic Initiatives and Internationalisation at Stellenbosch University.

Prof Shabir Madhi

Prof Shabir Madhi has been appointed as the Dean of the Faculty Health of Sciences at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits). He is a Professor of Vaccinology in the School of Pathology at Wits and Director of the world-renowned Medical Research Council Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytics Research Unit (VIDA).