SA researchers honoured

2015-08-30 23:02
UKZN’s Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim, from the Centre for the Aids Programme of Research in South Africa (Caprisa).

UKZN’s Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim, from the Centre for the Aids Programme of Research in South Africa (Caprisa). (Supplied)

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GROUND-BREAKING research, excellence and innovation were rewarded when three University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) professors received awards for their work in various fields this week.

The National Research Foundation (NRF) recognised the research contributions of three UKZN academics at the 2015 NRF Awards held in Durban on Thursday.

The awards ceremony saw UKZN’s Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim, from the Centre for the Aids Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), and Professor Jacques Grosset, from the Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH), receive their first NRF A-rating awards.

Professor Steven Johnson of the university’s School of Life Sciences received his second NRF A-rating award.

Abdool Karim has made contributions in understanding the evolution of the HIV epidemic in South Africa, its impact on society and in advancing its prevention in women, while simultaneously fighting for the rights of people affected by HIV and Aids.

Grosset was rewarded for research that sought to find ways to improve treatment and prevent the development of drug-resistant strains of TB.

Johnson’s research focuses on pollination biology, evolution, plant speciation, insect-plant relationships and floral deception and mimicry, opening up new areas of understanding, particularly of pollination systems and floral specialisation in South African flora.

Nearly 40 awards were handed to South Africa’s top researchers by the NRF. The awards recognised the significance and impact of their recent research as judged by their peers through the NRF rating system.

A-ratings are awarded to researchers who are unequivocally acknowledged by their peers as leading international scholars.

PIETERMARITZBURG students Nokuthula Mtshali (21) and Shannon Bennetts (20) received the Talent Excellence and Equity Scholarship and the Malegapuru W. Makgoba Scholarship at the 2015 UKZN Scholarship Awards this week.

Mtshali, from Sweetwaters, is completing her third year in Health and Sports Science. She said the scholarship, which had been made available to a black African female for the first time, would allow her to complete her honours degree in biokinetics next year.

“I was very excited to receive this scholarship. It means a lot to me because I am not from a rich family. This showed me that hard work and dedication pays off,” she said.

Hayfields resident Bennetts, who is completing her second year towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Arts, said: “I am lost for words because I thought it was only awarded for being the top student.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  research

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