ASSAf Programmes




Welcome from Host Organisation
Prof Barney Pityana, Vice-President, ASSAf

Welcome from Partner Organisation
Prof Yousuf Maudarbocus, Vice-President, NASAC

Keynote Address
Dr Mamphela Ramphele, Nelson Mandela Foundation


The Scramble for Africa’s Food Security: Food and Nutrition Trends in the sub-Saharan Economic Powerhouses
Prof Julian May, Department of Science and Technology-National Research Foundation (DST–NRF) Centre of Excellence in Food Security, University of the Western Cape

How to Look at Food Security as a Complex Issue?
Dr Patrick Caron, Agricultural Research and Development (CIRAD), France

Strategy for Agricultural Transformation in Africa (2016-2025): Feed Africa
Mr Joseph Coompson, Agriculture and Agro-Industry Department, African Development Bank, South Africa

New Zealand Based Opportunities for Africa to Enhance its Agriculture
Prof Hazel Chapman, University of Canterbury, New Zealand


Urbanisation as a Social Determinant of Health Imperative: Addressing Spatial Inequality while meeting Rapid Urbanisation – Who Gets Left Out?
Dr Olufunke A Fayehun, Nigeria Young Academy of Science

The Disease Burden – Health Infrastructure, Social Cohesion and/or Exclusions that Affect Social Determinants of Health – HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Zika Virus and Other Communicable Diseases
Ms Janine White, Lecturer, School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand

Innovative Approaches to Improving Social Determinants of Health – How STI can be Used to Achieve This
Ms Eunice Gnay Namirembe, Digital Editor, Change Corp – IT/Mobile Tech for Development, Uganda National Academy of Science

Keynote Address
Dr Babatunde Omilola, Development Planning and Inclusive Sustainable Growth, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)


Can Women in Science Help Alleviate Poverty in Africa?
Prof Jennifer Thomson, University of Cape Town

Gender, Development and Poverty Reduction in Africa: Lessons Learnt from Three Decades of Action
Prof Joyce M Endeley, University of Buea, Cameroon


Intersections of Policy, Practice and Academia in Advancing Urban Sustainability
Mr Melusile Ndlovu, South Africa Low Emissions Development Programme (SA-LED)

NASAC’s Journey to Inform Water Policy in Africa
Ms Jackie Olang, Executive Director, NASAC Secretariat, Kenya

NASAC’s Contribution to the African Water Sector Targeting Poverty Reduction
Prof Yousuf Maudarbocus, Vice-President, Network of African Science Academies (NASAC)

Key Messages: The Grand Challenge of Water Security in Africa Policymakers’ Booklet
Prof Cheikh Bécaye Gaye, Ministry of Higher Education and Research, Senegal
Link to booklet

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Response on Water Advisories
Dr Manta Devi Nowbuth, Faculty of Ocean Studies, University of Mauritius


Presentation on the Policymakers’ Booklet
Dr Sophie Plagerson, University of Johannesburg
Link to booklet

Policymakers’ Roundtable and Response
Ms Mastoera Sadan, Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, South Africa
Ms Adelaide Asante, Ministry of Environment, Science Technology and Innovation, Ghana
Mr Francis Kintu, Parliament of Uganda, Uganda  



Albert Thembinkosi Modi  Dean and Head of School1Prof Albert Modi has been the Dean and Head of the School of Agricultural, Earth & Environmental Sciences since November 2011. He was employed by the then University of Natal in 1996 and has been associated with University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) since then. Before joining the University, he was provincial agronomist for PHI-Hibred International, a position that exposed him to the agronomy and rural development issues. He has also worked as the CEO of the Moses Kotane Institute for Science and Technology, which he established in 2008, while he was the adjunct Professor of UKZN. His agronomy research focuses on traditional/indigenous crops.

In 2012, the prize in Life and Earth Sciences was awarded to Professor Alta Schutte from the North-West University, and Professor Thokozani Majozi from the University of Pretoria received the prize for Basic Science, Technology and Innovation.

Alta-SchutteAlta Schutte is Professor of Physiology and Director of the Hypertension in Africa Research Team (HART) of the North-West University. The research focus of HART is the identification of early markers for the development of hypertension, and ultimately the prevention of cardiovascular disease in the black South African population. Schutte is regarded as a future leader in the field of hypertension research and has been the recipient of various awards, such as an award from the Minister of Science and Technology as Distinguished Young Woman Scientist in Life Sciences in 2010, the British Association Medal from the Southern Africa Association for the Advancement in Science (S2A3) in 2011, and the Meiring Naudé Medal from the Royal Society of South Africa in 2012 as a promising young scientist under the age of 35 years.


Thokozani-MajoziThokozani Majozi is a Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Pretoria. His main research interest is batch process integration. His major contributions to research to date are the development of a continuous-time framework for the synthesis of batch plants and a novel technique for near zero-effluent batch chemical facilities. Both these contributions have been adopted by industry. He was appointed as an Associate Professor at the University of Pretoria in 2004 and became a Full Professor at the end of 2008. He was also an Associate Professor in computer science at the University of Pannonia in Hungary from 2005 to 2009. He is a member of various scientific committees and organisations, including the European Symposium on Computer Aided Process Engineering the international Process Systems Engineering conference, a Member of the Academy of Science of South Africa, a Research Fellow of the CSIR and a Fellow of the South African Academy of Engineering. His research awards include the NRF President’s Award (Transformation of the Scientific Cohort, 2008) and the University of Pretoria Leading Minds Award (2008). Recently he won the prestigious S2A3 British Association Medal, the South African Institution of Chemical Engineers Bill Neal-May Gold Medal and the NSTF-BHP Billiton Award - Individual through Research and Its Outputs. 


anna cousinsDr Anna Coussens is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Cape Town. She received her PhD from Queensland University of Technology, Australia, in developmental molecular biology. After her PhD she volunteered in Uganda with a Medical Students’ organisation, running health surveys in remote communities. She moved to London where she contributed hugely to a programme of work on vitamin D regulation of the immune response to tuberculosis. Now in Cape Town, she is defining how seasonal UVB patterns affect vitamin D levels in healthy young adults and how this impacts their immune response to HIV-1 infection.

Anna CoutsoudisAnna Coutsoudis, a public health scientist who is a Professor in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, is renowned for the quality of her research, the global impact of her findings on exclusive breastfeeding, and her commitment to improving the lives of poor children. She has made groundbreaking contributions in the areas of the impact of vitamin A in lowering measles-related morbidity, and on the positive effect of vitamin A on the morbidity of infants born to HIV-positive mothers. She also established, for the first time, the association between non-exclusive breastfeeding and increased risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. She has looked at ways of making breastfeeding safer for HIV-exposed infants in communities.

Paul van HeldenPaul van Helden, Professor and Head of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics at the Stellenbosch University, has initiated major new directions in TB research, obtained funding, found local and international collaborators, co-ordinated and managed the projects - all in the interests of finding new tools to diagnose, treat and prevent one of the world's most devastating diseases. Van Helden’s contribution towards the body of science is evidenced by his extensive list of publications, book chapters and patents. There are few South African   scientists who have such an excellent record, particularly in so many high-impact journals. Van Helden has also been innovative in product development, as is evident from his patents and novel equipment items produced. 

Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan

Anusuya Chinsamy TuranProf Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan is a palaeobiologist and Head of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Cape Town. She is a global expert on the microscopic structure of the bones of extinct and extant vertebrates. Her work has been recognized by several highly acclaimed awards: For example, in 1995 she received the NRF President’s Award, in 2005 she won the South African Woman of the Year Award, which acknowledged her research excellence and science communication to the wider public. In 2005 she also received the "Distinguished Women Scientist Award" from the South African Department of Science and Technology. More recently (2013) she was awarded The World Academy of Science’s Sub-saharan Prize for the Popularisation of Science. Anusuya has an extensive publication record, which includes 4 papers in Nature and two in Nature Communications. She has published two academic books, “The Microstructure of Dinosaur Bone”, (Johns Hopkins University Press, USA, 2005) and "The Forerunners of Mammals: Radiation. Histology. Biology", (Indiana University Press, USA, 2012). In addition she has written many popular level articles, and has published two popular level books: "Famous Dinosaurs of Africa" (Struik, 2008) and “Fossils for Africa” (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

57135423bernard20slippers11Bernard Slippers is an Associate Professor in Genetics at the University of Pretoria (UP). He is a research leader of the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme and Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology at the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI). His research focuses on the molecular ecology and evolution of insects and micro-organisms that affect tree health, and associated anthropogenic influences. Slippers received a PhD from UP and was a postdoctoral Fellow at the Swedish University of Agriculture in Uppsala. He has published widely in international peer-reviewed journals and other scholarly works. He has been involved in the supervision or co-supervision of numerous postgraduate students and advises government and private organisations on tree protection issues in South Africa, Indonesia, Europe and the USA.

28 – 29 July 2011 – ASSAf Offices, Pretoria


Dr Nthabiseng Taole, ASSAf & Ms Jackie Olang, NASAC

State of the Water Sector in Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe

Ms Barbara Schreiner, Pegasys Consulting

Dr Manta Nowbuth, University of Mauritius
Prof Dinis Juizo, Academy of Science of Mozambique
Namibia: Key water challenges and opportunities 
Mr Greg Christelis, Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, Namibia
Mr Alick Muvundika, Zambia Academy of Science
Prof Christopher Magadza, Zimbabwe Academy of Science
Ms Barbara Schreiner, Pegasys Consulting
Dr Rivka Kfir, Water Research Council
Way forward Ms Jackie Olang, NASAC

dmartin1 Dr Darren Martin has been selected as the first Sydney Brenner Fellow. He is 36 years old, with academic qualifications obtained in genetics at the University of Natal, and virology at the University of Cape Town (UCT). He is based at UCT’s Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, in the HIV laboratory of Professor Carolyn Williamson and the UCT Bioinformatics Unit. He has published 21 papers in the international peer-reviewed literature, and three widely used science software sets. He works in the exploding field of using bioinformatics (computer analysis of the complete genetic sequences of living organisms to deduce how the genes coded therein work, individually or together, to support life and explain disease). He is particularly interested in the effects of genetic recombination (crossing over between different chromosomes during reproduction of organisms) and is trying to determine whether viruses that have recombined during replication will survive best if they cause minimum disruption of critically important interaction networks between gene products. 

David GlasserAs a chemical engineer, David Glasser is closely involved in the design of energy-efficient oil-from-coal plants in China and Australia. With reduced carbon dioxide emissions, the new generation of plants will contribute less to the problem of global warming, which is currently threatening the world's weather patterns. "It is practically unprecedented for a South African university academic to be invited to lead major industrial projects costing billions of US dollars," said Glasser's close colleague Professor Diane Hildebrandt, herself the first woman chemical engineer to be awarded the coveted A rating by South Africa's National Research Foundation. "David has built bridges and created links between academia and industry without compromising his meticulous research." She also noted that his Wits team is working with microbiologists to devise appropriate African solutions for making bio-fuels from waste materials, with positive spinoffs for job creation, poverty alleviation and the environment.

Walter MarasasWalter Marasas is a world authority in his area of interest, which encompasses both the study of fungi and diseases associated with the toxins that some of them produce.  He has focused his interest on the taxonomy and biology of the fungal genus Fusarium, particularly on the human and animal diseases caused by Fusarium toxins in foods and feeds. His achievements as a scientist have been remarkable and he has been recognised with prestigious awards from numerous important organisations.  Over and above his scientific achievements, Wally Marasas has been one of the most outspoken supporters of South African science, and by association, has brought a great deal of credit to our community. 

Diane HildebrandtDiane Hildebrandt is an internationally acclaimed engineer and scientist who is working in an area of great potential benefit to society in general and Africa and South Africa in particular. She is a SARChI Professor of Sustainable Process Engineering and Director of the Centre of Material and Process Synthesis (COMPS) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. She obtained her BSc and PhD in Engineering and Chemical Engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand. Hildebrandt has authored or co-authored over 80 scientific papers and has received 306 citations in the past three years. She is the first female chemical engineer to have been awarded an A rating by South Africa’s National Research Foundation. Hildebrandt’s research over the last 25 years has focused on improving the efficiency of equipment and chemical processes. Her work is of particular importance for Africa and is being used to help solve Africa’s energy and food needs. She has supervised and co-supervised 55 postgraduate students who have received masters and PhDs in Engineering and Science. She currently supervises 40 postgraduate students of whom about half are South African and the other half from the rest of Africa. These students are funded mostly by the COMPS group that is directed by Hildebrandt. The group raises more than R1.5 million annually to supply bursaries to these students.

Eugene CloeteEugene Cloete is Vice–rector, Research and Innovation at Stellenbosch. He has made many notable contributions to the field of Microbiology, both in South Africa and elsewhere. His career has also been distinguished by the fact that he has applied much of his research in a policy context both nationally and internationally. Much of this policy work has concerned reducing the rates and impacts of water poverty, identified as one of the Millennium Development Goals and also as one of the key threats to achievement of these goals. Recognition of his scientific achievements in the field of science and policy generally has been reflected by his substantial research outputs, and invitations to serve on the editorial boards of some of the world’s most prestigious journals.

Dorit Hockman

Sydney Brenner 2015 2Dr Dorit Hockman received her undergraduate and MSc degrees from the University of Cape Town and did her PhD at the University of Cambridge as part of the Wellcome Trust 4 Year PhD Programme in Developmental Biology.

She joined Trinity College at the University of Oxford as a Junior Research Fellow in 2013 to perform research in the field of vertebrate evolution. As a Sydney Brenner Post-Doctorsal Fellow, she will be expanding her research in this field as a collaboration between the University of Cape Town, the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of Oxford and the California Institute of Technology.

Her research uses the power of comparative embryology and genetics to understand vertebrate evolution and diversification. She is using the lamprey, the most basal vertebrate, as a model to determine the genetic programme for one of the defining features of the vertebrates: the neural crest. The neural crest is an embryonic cell population that contributes to many adult features including the skull, teeth and peripheral nervous system. Knowledge of the “recipe” for making neural crest cells will help in determining the causes of neural crest defects in humans, and will also assist in harnessing the potential of this tissue for therapeutic purposes. 

Justin Nono Komguep

JSydney brenner 2015 1ustin Nono Komguep is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. He completed his BSc, BSc (Hons) and MSc in Biochemistry all with distinction at the University of Yaoundé 1 working on the influence of hemoglobinopathies on antimalarial therapy.

As a result of his work he was awarded a PhD Fellowship of the German research foundation to join the University of Wuerzburg and work on the characterization of secreted products of parasitic helminths and their potency in facilitating infection. In 2013, he was awarded the highest distinction (Summa Cum Laude) for his PhD work that enabled the characterization of novel immunomodulatory parasite factors.

In 2014, under a NRF postdoctoral fellowship, he joined the University of Cape Town to work on the identification of host protective mechanisms against helminths, with a focus on Schistosomes. In 2015, he was awarded a Claude Leon Foundation postdoctoral fellowship to further his work on schistosomes by generating and employing a novel murine model of inducible gene deletion. Currently, building on this, he is generating and characterizing more transgenic murine models to identify, wherever applicable, anti-disease host factors.

Esta van HeerdenIn 2009, the award went to Dr Esta van Heerden, a biochemistry researcher and Associate Professor in the Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology at the University of the Free State.


Hoosen CoovadiaHoosen (Jerry) Coovadia was cited for his leading role as a paediatric immunologist and as a world authority in the field of paediatric HIV/AIDS. He has made a substantial contribution in the field of paediatric diseases, including definitive work on nephrosis in South African black children, also on malnutrition and immunity, and on measles, more particularly on the effect of Vitamin A supplementation on children with measles and other infections. He is internationally recognised for his groundbreaking research in HIV/AIDS transmission from mother to child. He also played a prominent role in the struggle for a democratic South Africa.



Brian WarnerBrian Warner, originally from Sussex in the UK, became Distinguished Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Cape Town. He was cited for his distinguished career spanning some 40 years with a prodigious scientific output of over 300 scientific papers and 11 books. His book on Cataclysmic Variable Stars is considered as the “bible” in its field. He has made enormous contributions to society by serving on crucial councils. He is also known as an academic historian and is a world expert on William and John Herschel.

27 October 2010


Lis Lange & Mala Singh
Johann Mouton, Nelius Boshoff, Megan James and Reinhold Treptow






JensProf Jens Gutzmer is the founding director of the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology. He is professor and head of the research group in economic geology and petrology at the Department of Mineralogy, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Germany. He is also a visiting professor at the Paleoproterozoic Mineralization Research Group (PPM) in the Department of Geology, University of Johannesburg, South Africa. Currently, he serves on the editorial boards of the South African Journal of Geology and of Geochemistry. Since 2013 Jens Gutzmer is a member of the Steering Committee within the European Rare Earths Competency Network (ERECON).

Jill20Adler1Jill Adler is the First Rand Foundation-National Research Foundation Chair of Mathematics Education at the University of the Witwatersrand, as well as the Chair of Mathematics Education at Kings College, London. She is recognised as one of the world’s leading experts in mathematics education research. Her book, Teaching Mathematics in Multilingual Classrooms, was instrumental in leading research internationally in the field. Her work is that of the ‘engaged scholar’, doing rigorous and theoretically rich research at the cutting edge of international work in the field which at the same time contributes to critical areas of local and regional need in education. Included in the latter is her enormous contribution to research capacity development - her work with research teams and graduate students has made a substantial contribution, particularly in southern Africa. Adler has provided South Africans and Africans in mathematics education with an exemplary role model in leadership and research excellence. Her message has always been that we do not only have a role to play in participating in the international arena of mathematics education, but also have a role to play in leading research internationally.  

Kobus20Eloff1Kobus Eloff is Head of the Phytomedicine Programme in the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Pretoria. He has made significant contributions in several areas that are important to society.  These include areas such as soil fertility, toxic plant and cyanobacteria metabolism and ecology, as well as the use of compounds from plants as medicines and biopesticides. He was appointed as the Executive Director of the eight National Botanical Gardens with the Head Office at Kirstenbosch.  He changed the research culture of the organisation and established a new focus area of indigenous plant utilisation.  He succeeded in combining the National Botanical Gardens, a statutory body, with the state department Botanical Research Institute to form the National Botanical Institute (NBI) and was appointed Director of Research of the NBI.  After retiring he was appointed at the University of Pretoria where he started working on using compounds in plants to increase the quality of life of people in South Africa in the Phytomedicine Programme. A major contribution to society was the training of previously disadvantaged students. Coming from a very large and relatively poor family and being the first family member ever to attend a university, he has empathy with struggling, especially black, students.  His life motto: “Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est” (Where there is caring and love, God is present) plays an important role in his work with students.




Prof20Keren20Middelkoop1Dr Keren Middelkoop completed her medical training at the University of Cape Town in 1999 and after a brief career in clinical medicine joined the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre. Here she has been involved in clinical trials on antiretroviral treatment options and HIV vaccine candidates, as well as leading community-based studies on TB transmission and the impact of HIV and antiretroviral treatment on community TB. Dr Middelkoop completed her Masters in Public Health and obtained her PhD in medicine. She has co-authored 34 papers and in 2011 was awarded the International Union Against TB and Lung Disease’s Young Investigator of the Year award. Dr Middelkoop’s current research focus is on TB transmission and molecular epidemiology.


Prof20De20Wet20Swanepoel1Prof De Wet Swanepoel is professor in audiology at the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa and a senior research fellow at the Ear Science Institute Australia, with adjunct positions at the University of Texas in Dallas and the University of Western Australia. He has published more than 80 peer-reviewed articles, books and book chapters and has received numerous awards, including a President’s rating from the National Research Foundation and the 2013/14 NSTF-BHP Billiton award in recognition of his work. His main interest is focussed on ear and hearing health and access to care through technology and connectivity.









In 2013, the prize in the category Life and Earth Sciences was awarded to Prof Landon Myer from the University of Cape Town. Prof Cornie Scheffer from Stellenbosch University received the prize in the category Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation.

Photo BL-MyerLandon Myer is an Associate Professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics of the School of Public Health and Family Medicine at the University of Cape Town. He is also Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, New York, USA. His specific research focus is on reducing the impact of HIV/AIDS on women’s, maternal and child health, particularly in the areas of prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission and contraception for HIV-infected women. He has published more than 150 peer-reviewed scientific publications and also serves on a number of national and international scientific committees. He has been an active proponent of open-access scientific publishing as part of a broader commitment to increasing the availability and uptake of research across Africa. Linked to this, he is Editor of the South African Journal of HIV Medicine and helped move the journal to an open-access platform with international indexing. His research has been recognised through a number of prestigious awards, including the British Association Award (Silver Medal) from the Southern African Association for the Advancement of Science (2012) and the International Leadership Award from the Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation (2011-2014).


Photo C SchefferCornie Scheffer is the founder of the Biomedical Engineering Research Group (BERG) at Stellenbosch University. BERG is currently one of the leading groups in South Africa for research in the field of biomedical engineering. He has co-authored more than 100 scientific papers and supervised a vast number of postgraduate students. Some of his previous prizes and awards include, “Upcoming researcher of the year”, Faculty of Engineering, University of Stellenbosch, 2005; Winner in the Department of Trade and Industry Technology Awards 2008 for best SMME development; Joint winner of the Baumgarten-Wagon award (Germany) in 2009 for outstanding contributions to engineering education, and the Rector’s award for excellent research in 2010 and 2012.


MakgobaMalegapuru Makgoba was cited for his contribution to medical science in South Africa. First as Chairperson of the board of the Medical Research Council and then as President, he guided the transformation and expansion of the MRC. He stood for scientific integrity and guarded the fine reputation of South African science and medicine. In his scientific work Professor Makgoba has been instrumental in demonstrating the importance of surface adhesion molecules in the function of cells (T lymphocytes) playing a central part in the body’s immune system; this work has contributed permanently to the understanding of lymphocyte function.

Trefor JenkinsTrefor Jenkins studied medicine at King’s College and Westminster Hospital in London, before moving to South Africa. His genetic research on blood groups and DNA polymorphisms added significant new insights to the study of gene markers in different populations, which contributed to clarifying the origins of indigenous groups in Africa. He also worked on sickle cell anaemia and the molecular basis of albinism. He was a pioneer in establishing an undergraduate teaching programme in Medical Ethics at the University of the Witwatersrand and has made notable personal contributions in this field also in the public domain.

samwaysMichael Samways, internationally renowned biologist and researcher, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology at Stellenbosch University. Samways is known for the multidisciplinary approach he adopted in his research – a trademark that was already evident in his PhD thesis which likened the whole-animal acoustic output to Sherringtonian neuron firing. His unique approach has successfully enabled him to study a diverse variety of subjects covering a broad spectrum, including pest control in citrus farming, insect conservation, landscape ecology, environmental ethics, and tropical island restoration. The creativity inherent in his research approach has led directly to the findings being practically implementable, rather than contributing purely on a theoretical level.

wingfieldMichael Wingfield, Professor and Director of the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) at the University of Pretoria, has undertaken pioneering research in the field of tree pathology, focusing largely on its impact on plantation forestry. He is also Director of Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology and Tree Protection Co-operative Programme. Amongst his most important contributions to forestry has been the role that he has played as an advisor to more than 60 Ph.D. students, many of whom now hold very senior positions globally. He has published widely on the topic of tree health in more than 700 research papers, seven books and in numerous prestigious invited presentations globally. He serves/ has served in many prestigious positions and based on his research, has received numerous awards and honours, in South Africa and elsewhere in the world. He has been elected as a fellow of scientific societies including the Royal Society of South Africa, Academy of Science of South Africa, the Southern African Society for Plant Pathology and the American Phytopathological Society. 

Dr Mohlopheni Jackson MarakalalaDr Mohlopheni Jackson Marakalala obtained BSc and BSc (Hons) degrees in biochemistry at the University of Limpopo in 2003. As a Canon Collins Scholar he commenced an MSc Med in 2004 at the University of Cape Town with Prof Daan Steenkamp in the Division of Chemical Pathology. For his project, which was upgraded to a PhD in 2006, Marakalala worked on drug development for TB and MDR-TB, with a focus on the inhibition of essential enzymes in the biosynthesis of Mycothiol, the major antioxidant in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. His PhD was conferred with the Bronte Steward award for the most meritorious thesis submitted by a doctoral student in 2008. He then joined the Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine, Division of Immunology, in August 2008 as a postdoctoral fellow under the mentorship of Professor Gordon Brown, where he is investigating the role of Dectin-1 in innate immunity to various infectious diseases, including Tuberculosis, Fungal infections, Staphylococcus aureus and recently, the role of this receptor and Beta-glucans in anti-cancer immunity.

IMG 7432-150x150Olive Shisana is Chief Executive Officer of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), Honorary Professor at the University of Cape Town and immediate past-President of the International Social Science Council. Prior to this she served as the HSRC’s Executive Director of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS and Health, and was previously the Executive Director, Family and Community Health, World Health Organisation, Geneva, Switzerland. She is an authority in HIV surveillance, having been a principal investigator for several second-generation surveillance systems for HIV. She was one of the founders of the South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, as well as the Maternal and Child Mortality Surveillance. Her recurrent national household surveys on HIV/AIDS prevalence, practices and attitudes have greatly influenced the HIV/AIDS campaign in our region. She has served on many national and international scientific committees and advisory boards, such the Ministerial Advisory Committee on National Health Insurance, the US Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Methodological Challenges in HIV Prevention Trials, the Emory University Global Health Institute Advisory Board, the South African National AIDS Council and the chair of the Nelson Mandela’s 46664 Board.  She has recently been appointed to head the South Africa’s BRICS Think Tank and is Chair of the Council of BRICS Think Tanks as well as the AIDS 2016 Global Conference South African Co-chair.



Piet SteynPieter Steyn established an international reputation for his world-leading work on the chemistry of fungal metabolites and other natural products and especially for his contributions to the isolation, structure elucidation and biosynthesis of the mycotoxins, a structurally and biosynthetically diverse group of toxic compounds produced as a result of fungal contamination of both growing crops and stored foodstuffs. He has long been recognised as the unchallenged international authority on mycotoxins. His internationally renowned group at the CSIR in Pretoria produced generations of highly trained and original scientists who have gone on to make their own contributions to the South African science base. He is a towering figure in the practice, management and administration of chemistry and food science worldwide. He was elected president of the International Association of Cereal Science and Technology, he has served on many editorial boards, conference organisation committees, and he has lectured extensively throughout the world.

darrell cJohn Darrell Comins is Chair of Materials Physics Research Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand. He is Chair of the Interim Governing Committee of the Schonland Research Centre for Nuclear Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand. He is Director of the Witwatersrand-NRF Raman and Luminescence Lab. He is also Professor of Solid State Physics at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.


Brian von WBrian van Wilgen studied Forestry at Stellenbosch University, graduating with a BSc degree in 1974 and an Honours degree in 1977. He completed a Masters and PhD degrees in Botany at the University of Cape Town in 1980 and 1985 respectively.  

Between 1974 and 1990 he was associated, in various capacities, with the now defunct South African Forestry Research Institute (SAFRI) and was based at Jonkershoek Forestry Research Centre outside Stellenbosch. When SAFRI become incorporated into the CSIR, he moved to the CSIR campus in Stellenbosch where he was based until 2013. Upon retirement from the CSIR in 2013, Brian took up a professorship at Stellenbosch University associated with the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology.  

His career as an applied ecologist in Africa spans 40 years during which he has had a major impact in many ways. He has worked on the ecology and management of invasive alien plants, and in particular on the use of fire in managing invasions, the population dynamics of invasive plants, water use by invasive plants, the biological control of invasive plants, studies on resource economics, and the development of research and management strategies. His other main interest has been the ecology and management of ecosystems using fire. On this front he has worked mainly in fynbos, grassland and savanna ecosystems in Southern Africa, but also in the USA, Argentina, Australia and the Indian Ocean islands. Much of his recent work has been aimed at integrating research results towards the design and implementation of environmental policy, including the measurement and consideration of ecosystem services.  

He is author or co-author of over 250 publications, including three books. In 2008, he was award a DSc degree by Stellenbosch University. He has received numerous awards, including the National Science and Technology Forum annual award for an outstanding individual contribution to science, engineering and technology and the South African National Parks annual award for corporate contributions to conservation by an individual, both in 2010.

QRQuarraisha Abdool Karim is the Associate Director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban and Professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University. Through her ground-breaking AIDS research, advocacy and leadership, Karim has had a profound impact on HIV prevention science, policy and programmes. In addition to providing the first evidence that antiretroviral drugs prevent sexual transmission of HIV in women, she has made seminal contributions in depicting the evolving HIV epidemic over the last 25 years, quantifying its impact on young women and leading the first post-democracy government’s AIDS response in South Africa. Her global leadership in HIV prevention is illustrated by her role as the International Scientific Programme Co-chair of the XIX International AIDS Conference held in Washington in 2012 and invited plenary presentations at the XIIth and XIVth International AIDS Conferences. She is among Africa’s most cited AIDS researchers; her articles in Science, Nature, Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine have impacted both local and global responses to the HIV epidemic. She is a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) and a member of the Institute of Medicine. She is the recipient of the 2013 “TWAS Prize in Medical Sciences”, the 2012 Mann-N’Galy Award, Columbia University’s “Allan Rosenfield Alumni Award for Excellence”, and the 2011 DST Women in Science Award in Life Sciences and Engineering. 

JansenJonathan Jansen is Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of the Free State and President of the South African Institute of Race Relations. He holds a PhD from Stanford University, an MS degree from Cornell University, and honorary doctorates of education from the University of Edinburgh (Scotland), Cleveland State University (USA), and the University of Vermont (USA, 2014). He is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association and a Fellow of TWAS. His book, Knowledge in the Blood: Confronting Race and the Apartheid Past (Stanford 2009) was listed as one of the best books of that year by the American Libraries Association. His new book, Schools that Work, uses video-documentaries to capture what happens inside disadvantaged schools which nevertheless produce the best results in physical science and mathematics in South Africa. He also writes popular books like Great South African Teachers (with two students), We need to talk, and We need to act (2013); and is a columnist for The Times and Die Burger. In 2013, he was awarded the Education Africa Lifetime Achiever Award in New York and the Spendlove Award from the University of California for his contributions to tolerance, democracy and human rights. In May 2014, he received an honorary doctor of letters degree at the University of Vermont and recently Knowledge in the Blood also won the Nayef Al Rodhan Prize, the largest award from the British Academy for the Social Science and Humanities, for its contribution to scholarly excellence and transcultural understanding.




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Robin CreweRobin Michael Crewe was born on 18 February 1946 in Johannesburg and spent the early part of his childhood on a farm near Steelpoort in the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa. He matriculated in 1963 at Kearsney College in Natal and then proceeded to the then Natal University in Pietermaritzburg in South Africa before proceeding to the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, U.S.A. for his Ph.D. 

In 1968 he obtained a B.Sc. (Agric) degree majoring in Chemistry and Biochemistry and in 1969 completed an M.Sc. (Agric) cum laude. After obtaining his Ph.D. (with dinstinction), he returned to South Africa in 1971 as a lecturer in the Department of Entomology at the then University of Natal.

In 1976 Prof Crewe moved to the University of the Witwatersrand as senior lecturer in the Department of Zoology and was promoted ad hominem to Professor of Zoology in 1984 and became the Head of the Department for the first time in 1985. In 1986 he was made Deputy-Dean of the Faculty of Science, served as chairperson of the School of Biology and became Dean of the Faculty in 1994.

For a period of ten years (1986-1996) he was the Director of the Communication Biology Research Group of the University of the Witwatersrand where a major focus of the work of the group was the study of honeybee chemical communication systems.One of the main focuses of the research group was studying pheromonal communication in honeybees. This work is being continued by the Social Insect Research Group of the Department of Zoology and Entomology of the University of Pretoria.

At the end of his period of Deanship at Wits, he accepted the position of Dean of the Faculty of Biological and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Pretoria in 1997.

He joined the University of Pretoria in 1997 as Dean of the Faculty of Biological and Agricultural Sciences and served as Dean from 1997-2003. He has extensive experience in University administration and has had the opportunity to be the Dean of two of the largest, and strongly research orientated Faculties of Natural Sciences and Agriculture in South Africa at the University of Pretoria in 1997 – a position he held until being appointed as Vice-Principal.

He was recently the acting Senior Vice-Principal of the University of Pretoria and from 2003 – 2013 the Vice-Principal at the same university. He retired from the position of Vice-Principal of Research and Postgraduate Studies at the University of Pretoria at the end of June 2013 to return to work on honeybee research and direct the Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship at UP.

Under the role of Vice-Principal, Prof Crewe was responsible for the Faculties of Engineering, Built Environment & Information Technology (EBIT), Natural & Agricultural Sciences, the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), all post-graduate studies and research at the university, the international offices of the university, library services and the university's Research Support Office. Meanwhile, as the Relationship Manager for the Southern Education and Research Alliance (SERA), Prof Crewe represented the University of Pretoria in managing the day-to-day operations of the Alliance and reporting progress to the university's Council.

Prof Robin Crewe is Professor of Entomology and the Director of the Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship and a member of the Social Insects Research Group (SIRG) in the Department of Zoology and Entomology at the University of Pretoria. Prof Crewe has been a director of INSiAVA (Pty) Ltd since its inception in 2006 and was appointed Chairman of the Board in October 2009.

He has been active in beekeeping circles in Gauteng province, having served for a period on the committee of the Southern Transvaal Beekeepers Association and also serving as Chairperson of the Association. He was made a Fellow of the Southerns Beekeepers Association of South Africa in 1999 in recognition for his contribution to honeybee research. He has served on the SABIE Honeybee Research Co-ordinating Committee and on the Capensis Working Group set up by the South African National Dept of Agriculture.

His research interests are in Behavioural ecology, social behaviour, chemical ecology, social organization in honey bees. His research activities have taken him to the Rijksuniversiteit te Utrecht, the Netherlands; Université Paris Sud at Orsay, France; the Technical University of Berlin, Germany; Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenburg and the University of Bremen, Germany where he has been active in research on honeybees.

Prof Crewe has been active in the development of professional registration of natural scientists and the promotion of a number of learned scientific societies, including the presidency of the Entomological Society of Southern Africa. He has brought this strength to his Relationship Manager role in SERA, and throughout his tenure has been dedicated to building and reinforcing the relationship between the CSIR and UP to create world-class, world-scale education, research and technology transfer infrastructure and competence for South Africa.

He is the past President of the Academy of Science of South Africa, was elected the President of the Network of African Science Academies (NASAC) during the 6th General Assembly of NASAC held in Cape Town in 2010. He took over from Professor Mohamed Hassan who laid a solid foundation for African science academies to work together through this network.

Prof Crewe, a NRF-rated scientist, has served on a number of boards, has been actively involved with organizations engaged in research, and has served on an advisory committee for the National Department of Agriculture. He has made significant contributions to professional societies.

He is the chair of the National Research Foundation Board, Fellow of the Academy of Science of the Developing World (TWAS), Fellow of the African Academy of Science, Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society of Londonand Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa. His professional recognition includes receiving the gold medal of the Zoological Society of South Africa and being an honorary member of APIMONDIA, the International Federation of Beekeepers’ Associations. The French Government granted him the Ordre National du Mérite with the rank of Chevalier in 2006. 

Most recently, Prof Crewe was the recipient of the prestigious Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship Award for 2012. He is the thirteenth recipient of the Award since its inception and the first from the University of Pretoria. The Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship Award is granted to scholars of the highest calibre who are engaged in cutting-edge, internationally significant work that has particular application to the advancement of knowledge, teaching, research and development in South Africa. The award will enable Prof Crewe to produce a monograph on the life history of the honeybee Apis mellifera in collaboration with Prof Robin Moritz of the University of Halle-Wittenberg.

Prof Crewe has published more than 100 articles in refereed journals, 15 articles in journals for beekeepers, 3 book chapters and has made numerous contributions at scientific conferences.  His current research is focused on chemical communication and social organization in honeybees and ants, particularly with respect to worker reproductive regulation.

He is married to Mary Crewe and they have one son.


33e717d1Dr Samantha Barichievy recently joined the Synthetic Biology European Research Area as a postdoctoral fellow to undertake research in gene expression and biophysics. The aim of the group is to enhance the study of synthetic biology by developing single molecule imaging technologies that will revolutionise the imaging of gene expression in vivo. The project will focus specifically on developing a visual screening platform to assess interactions between the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and its human host. By combining genome-wide screening with high-speed microscopy, novel fluorescent labelling techniques and highly advanced image analysis, Barichievy hopes to delineate some of the discrete cellular processes required for HIV infection. The project she has proposed aims to uncover answers to fundamental questions that are particularly relevant to Africa such as: what is the genetic basis for the predominance of HIV subtype C, the local African subtype, worldwide? What are the genetic differences that allow certain highly exposed yet uninfected individuals to remain HIV negative? What are the unique host factors that underlie these situations and can they be exploited as diagnostic tools or novel drug targets? The tools and expertise available to her through the Synthetic Biology ERA are unique to South Africa and will provide her with an incredible opportunity to expand the field of gene expression in a highly creative manner.

After publication of the 2006 Academy report on A Strategic Approach to Research Publishing in South Africa, the Scholarly Publishing Unit (SPU) was established within ASSAf to implement the ten recommendations contained in the report. Multi-year funding was received from the DST to undertake this task. The main thrusts were to:

  • promote/enhance the standing and effectiveness of South Africa’s research journals, nationally and internationally;

  • improve the productivity/efficacy of publication through different modalities (e.g. electronic publication);

  • establish the South African Journal of Science (SAJS) as a “national asset” of high quality; and

  • ensure that discoveries and insights gained through research published in South African journals were made known to a wider public than the research community itself

Summary: Strategic Approach to Research Publishing in South Africa:Recommendations at a Glance

10 September 2013 


Prof Eugene Cloete, Dean of the Faculty of Science, Stellenbosch University and Chair of the Panel on Green Technologies
Prof Jim Watson, Research Director: UK Energy Research Centre, Imperial College, London
Mr Kevin Nassiep, Chief Executive Officer: South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI)
Ms Mapula Tshangela, Senior Policy Advisor: National Sustainable Development, National Department of Environmental Affairs
Ms Sharlin Hemraj, Director: Environment and Fuel Taxes, National Treasury
Dr Charity Mbileni, Senior Manager: Green Economy and Climate Innovation Centre
Dr Najma Mohamed, Policy Advisor: Green Fund, Development Bank of South Africa
Dr Francois du Plessis, Chief Executive Officer: Greencape
Mr Speedy Moodliar, Senior Manager, Water and Sanitation Services, eThekwini Municipality

Innovation processes in South Africa: How is technology driving growth

Keynote address: Contextualising the need for low carbon technological innovation? Mr Peter Lukey, Department of Environmental Affairs
A systems perspective to low carbon technologies Dr Jörg Lalk,University of Pretoria (UP)
What is needed to increase R&D in low carbon technology innovation Dr Tsakani Mthombeni, Technological Innovation Agency

Energy-water-food-nexus for resilient societies

Managing the nexus for a low carbon future Prof Mike Muller, University of the Witwatersrand (WITS)
Integrated energy, water and food approach Prof Alan Brent, Stellenbosch University (SUN)
Food security dynamics of the nexus Ms Manisha Gulato, WWF South Africa

Smart city innovations

IBM's Smart City Concept, an Enabler for a Low Carbon Society Mr Wolfgang Zinssmeister, IBM South Africa
Building resilient societies through innovation Prof Chrisna du Plessis, UP
Low-cost, low carbon innovations for poverty alleviation  
Low income, low carbon energy solutions Prof Harold Annegarn, University of Johannesburg
Low cost innovation in water and sanitation at a local level Prof Chris Buckley, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Green star-rated building Menlyn Main Mr Justin Bowen, Development Director at Menlyn Maine

The Potential of Solar Power in South Africa

Renewable Energy Resource and Research Base in South Africa Prof Wikus van Niekerk, Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES) at SUN
PV Technology and its Perspective for SA Prof Jürgen Werner, Institute for Photovoltaics, University of Stuttgart
Concentrating Solar Power: Its Potential Contribution to a sustainable Energy Future Prof Robert Pitz-Paal, German Aerospace Center, Institute of Solar Research, Cologne
Synergies and Differences Between Fossil and Solar Powered Cycles Prof Sigmar Wittig, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Operational Aspects and Environmental Profile of Solar Thermal Technologies Dr Christoph Richter, German Aerospace Center, Institute of Solar Research, Tabernas (Spain)

New and Emerging technologies

The BeauTifuel Project Prof Diane Hildebrandt, WITS
Carbon capture and storage Dr Tony Surridge, South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI)
Clean coal technologies
Section 1Section 2

Section 3

Prof Rosemary Falcon, WITS
Sustainable 2nd and 3rd Generation Biofuels options for South(ern) Africa Prof Emile van Zyl, SUN
Clean electrification for the world Ms Ute Menikheim, Siemens Limited
 8 – 9 October 2012


Innovation processes in South Africa: How is technology driving growth  

Keynote address:  Contextualising the need for low carbon technological innovation?  Mr Peter Lukey, Department of Environmental Affairs
A systems perspective to low carbon technologies Dr Jörg Lalk, University of Pretoria (UP)
What is needed to increase R&D in low carbon technology innovation  Dr Tsakani Mthombeni, Technological Innovation Agency

Energy-water-food-nexus for resilient societies  

Managing the nexus for a low carbon future Prof Mike Muller, University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) 
Integrated energy, water and food approach Prof Alan Brent, Stellenbosch University (SUN)
Food security dynamics of the nexus Ms Manisha Gulato, WWF South Africa

Smart city innovations  

IBM’s Smart City Concept, an Enabler for a Low Carbon Society Mr Wolfgang Zinssmeister, IBM South Africa
Building resilient societies through innovation Prof Chrisna du Plessis, University of Pretoria

Low-cost, low carbon innovations for poverty alleviation 

Low income, low carbon energy solutions Prof Harold Annegarn, University of Johannesburg
Low cost innovation in water and sanitation at a local level Prof Chris Buckley, University of KwaZulu-Natal

The Potential of Solar Power in South Africa  

Renewable Energy Resource and Research Base in South Africa    Prof Wikus van Niekerk, Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES) at SUN
PV Technology and its Perspective for SA  Prof Jürgen Werner, Institute for Photovoltaics, University of Stuttgart
Concentrating Solar Power: Its Potential Contribution to a sustainable Energy Future Prof Robert Pitz-Paal, German Aerospace Center, Institute of Solar Research, Cologne
Synergies and Differences Between Fossil and Solar Powered Cycles Prof Sigmar Wittig, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Operational Aspects and Environmental Profile of Solar Thermal Technologies Dr Christoph Richter, German Aerospace Center, Institute of Solar Research, Tabernas (Spain)

New and Emerging technologies  

The BeauTifuel Project Prof Diane Hildebrandt, University of Witwatersrand 
Carbon capture and storage Dr Tony Surridge, South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI)
Section 1 
Section 2 
Section 3 
Sustainable 2nd and 3rd Generation Biofuels options for South(ern) Africa Prof Emile van Zyl, SUN
Clean electrification for the world Ms Ute Menikheim, Siemens Limited

A proceedings report on the symposium Technological Innovations for a Low Carbon Society was published in May 2013 and launched at an event that marked the signing of a memorandum of understanding between ASSAf and Leopoldina. The challenge of finding sustainable, low carbon solutions to a global problem, such as climate change, is pertinent for both Germany and South Africa, notwithstanding their different develop- mental stages and different socio-economic and political contexts.

ASSAf-Technological-Proceedings-Report-Cover Page 11

Technological Innovations for a Low Carbon Society

Title: Proceedings Report: Technological Innovations for a Low Carbon Society Conference
Published by: Academy of Science of South Africa
Publication date: May 2013
Publication Type: Proceedings Report
Aims/Objectives: Themes addressed included the energy-water-food nexus for resilient societies; low cost, low carbon innovations for poverty alleviation; smart city innovations; new and emerging technologies, such as carbon capture and storage and The Beauti-fuel Project aimed at converting biomass to liquid fuel, and the potential for solar power in South Africa.
Collaborators: Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina

Full report available here: PDF



Thomas BothwellThomas Bothwell, is a Member of ASSAf and Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand. He has devoted much of his academic career, spanning more than 50 years, to the pursuit of scientific research aimed at improving the health and well-being of major sections of the world’s population.  His major research thrust has been human iron metabolism and the consequences of too little or too much of the metal in the body. He has written more than 300 full-length articles in scientific and medical journals, chapters in international textbooks, and invited reviews on many aspects of this subject.


George-EllisGeorge Ellis, is a Member of ASSAf, Emeritus Professor and a Distinguished Professor of Complex Systems at the University of Cape Town. He is one of the most distinguished scholars that this country has produced. His output over a period of forty years includes over 300 articles or chapters in books, and 12 books spanning disciplines as diverse as cosmology, complexity, neural development and the brain, science policy, social development, science and mathematics education, and the relationship between science and religion. He has also contributed in significant ways, through enduring public service, towards improving the quality of life of the most marginalised of our fellow citizens, and through various means towards the success of our new democracy. 

Climate change is one of the most significant global issues of our time. Its importance to the continent of Africa rests on the vulnerability of its population to the impacts of climate change and the potential threat that it poses to sustatianable development. South Africa, in addition to being vulnerable to the effects, is also a major contributor to climate change, through the dependence of the country on fossil feuls, primarily coal. Cities recognised as major contributors to climate change as they are densely populate areas with high levels of energy-use. 

LCCTitle: Towards a Low Carbon City: Focus on Durban
Published by: Academy of Science of South Africa
Publication date: May 2011
Publication Type: Evidence-based study
Aims/Objectives: This report on Towards a Low Carbon City: Focus on Durban aims to address both mitigation and adaptation opportunities for the city of Durban. The critical issue of transitioning to a low carbon city in the face of serious unemployment and the need for economic development is addressed by emphasising the need to shift to a green economy.
Collaborators: Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and the eThekweni Municipality 
Full report available here: PDF




Helen ReesVera Helen Rees is Professor and Executive Director in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of the Witwatersrand. She has served as the Chairperson of the Medicines Control Council. In 2004 she received a South African Distinguished Award for outstanding contribution to the improvement of the Quality of Life of Women, a life time work achievement from Aminatare, a Pan-African organisation working for rights of African women and children. She has conducted training on HIV medicine, sexual and reproductive health. Rees has supervised MSc and PhD students on different health topics and has written extensively in internationally accredited journals. Since 1998, she has led a Hillbrow Health Precinct, served as President of the Planned Parenthood Association of South Africa (PPSA), a member of the executive for Love Life, the National Adolescent Sexual Health Initiative, and, a founding member of Women’s Health Projects.  

Abdool Karim 2Salim S Abdool Karim is a clinical infectious disease Epidemiologist whose main current research interests are in microbiocides and vaccines to prevent HIV infection and implementing antiretroviral therapy in resource- constrained settings. He is Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa. He is also Professor in Clinical Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Colombia University and Adjunct Professor in Medicine at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. He is Director of CAPRISA – Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa. He has published widely on infectious diseases, including AIDS, measles and hepatitis B and co-edited the textbook that is widely used to teach epidemiology in South Africa. Most recently, he co-edited the book, HIV/AIDS in South Africa





Wieland Gevers is Emeritus Professor of Medical Biochemistry at the University of Cape Town (UCT). He was Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor responsible for planning and academic process at the University of Cape Town from 1992 until the end of 2002, and Professor of Medical Biochemistry at Stellenbosch University from 1971 to 1977, and the same at UCT since 1978. He was (founder) President of the South Africa Biochemical Society from 1975-6, and was President of the Academy of Science of South Africa from 1998 until 2004.

He is a Fellow of the Academy of Sciences of the Developing World, TWAS (elected 2002).

Gevers has been Deputy Chair of the National Ministerial Review Committee on the ‘Science, Technology and Innovation Landscape’ of South Africa from July 2010.

Gevers founded what is now called the Cape Higher Education Consortium (CHEC) in 1991, and helped establish the regional library system CALICO in 1995.

He is chairperson of the Committee on Scholarly Publishing of the Academy of Science of South Africa, was convener of the Consensus Panels that  comprehensively reviewed scholarly publishing  in and from South Africa in journals (2006) and books (2009), and convenes the ‘National Scholarly Editors’ Forum’ and the ‘National Scholarly Book Publishers’ Forum’ organised by the Academy.

Yahya Choonara

AU TWAS Prize for Young Scientists 2Prof 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.

Marlien Pieters

AU TWAS Prize for Young Scientists 1Prof 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. 

ZendaWoodman1 Dr Zenda Woodman of the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine at UCT is investigating the role of the envelope (surface) protein of HIV-1 in determining the “fitness” of different strains for transmission and disease progression. The work could result in new HIV inhibitor drugs and different approaches to vaccine development. The head of her laboratory and sponsor is Prof Carolyn Williamson.



mowlaDr Shaheen Mowla of the Department of Human Biology at UCT is investigating the role of a specific gene-regulating factor called the “T-box transcription factor Tbx3” in embryonic development and various cancers, including identifying its target genes and signalling pathways. The protein is already known to play a very important role in the development of the limbs, heart and mammary glands in many species. 

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