Who are the founding members?

Aldo Stroebel

Aldo Stroebel is Director International Academic Projects, Office of the Vice-Chancellor and Associate Professor at the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, University of the Free State (UFS).

He is an accomplished leader in agricultural and rural development, focusing on farming systems in Africa. He qualified with BSc and Honours degrees from the University of Pretoria, and a Masters from the University of Ghent, Belgium before researching for his PhD at UFS and Cornell University, USA. He completed postdoctoral work at Wageningen University, the Netherlands. He has published more than 80 journal articles, book chapters and research reports, and recently co-edited a book published in the Netherlands. He supervised 10 PhD and Masters students to completion. He has consulted for the World Bank and the United Nations and received grants from the Kellogg and Mellon Foundations. He serves as President-elect of Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA), member of Higher Education South Africa (HESA) Research and Innovation Strategy Group, and on the National Member Organisation of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria.

Alta Schutte

Alta Schutte is Professor of Physiology and the Director of the Hypertension in Africa Research Team (HART), at the Potchefstroom campus of the University of North-West. 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. Since obtaining her PhD in 2002, Schutte has been a Principle Investigator of two large multidisciplinary research projects, and a Co-investigator of another. She was an invited speaker at numerous occasions at international meetings (Australia, Denmark, Germany and Italy). She has also shared her research at the national science festival, SciFest Africa in Grahamstown. Her research outputs include 75 peer-reviewed papers mostly in international journals, 15 BSc Honours, 11 Masters and 4 PhD students. In 2010 she was the winner of the Distinguished Young Women Scientist in the Life Sciences award presented by the Department of Science and Technology; and in 2011 she was awarded the British Association Medal from the Southern Africa Association for the Advancement of Science (S2A3).

Andrea Fuller

Andrea Fuller is an Associate Professor in the School of Physiology and Director of the Brain Function Research Group at the University of the Witwatersrand. The main focus of her current research is the physiological capacity of large terrestrial mammals to cope with predicted effects of climate change. She received two prestigious awards for outstanding research by young researchers: the Meiring Naudé Medal from the Royal Society of South Africa, and the Friedel Sellschop Award from the University of the Witwatersrand. She has published more than 50 papers in leading journals of integrative physiology and has supervised 3 postdoctoral fellows and 23 postgraduate students. She serves currently as Vice-chairperson of the committee of the Northern Branch of the Royal Society of South Africa.

Andrew McKechnie

Andrew McKechnie is an Associate Professor in the Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, and is a core team member of the DST/NRF Centre of Excellence at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute. He obtained his PhD in 2002 from the University of Natal, before completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of New Mexico. His research examines the ecological and evolutionary physiology of birds and mammals, and seeks to better understand the ways in which physiology determines ecological and evolutionary processes. A current focus area of his research group is the use of physiological data and modeling to predict the consequences of climate change for species inhabiting hot, arid environments. His research output includes 40 peer-reviewed publications, 61 conference presentations and 45 articles in semi-popular magazines. He holds a P-rating from the National Research Foundation.

Bernard Slippers

Bernard Slippers is an Associate Professor in Genetics at the University of Pretoria. He is a research leader of the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme and DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology at the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI). His research focus is on applied ecological and evolutionary genetics of insects and micro-organisms that affect tree health, including biological control systems. He has published widely on these topics and has been recognised through a number of national and international awards. Bernard is a Young Affiliate of the Academy of Science of the Developing World (TWAS) and Co-chair of the Global Young Academy.

Bronwyn Myers

Bronwyn Myers is an Associate Professor and a Specialist Scientist in the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Unit of the South African Medical Research Council, where she heads up the Substance Abuse Treatment and Interventions Research sub-stream. This unit is a leading research unit for addictions in Africa. She is a clinical psychologist by training with a PhD in Psychology from the University of Cape Town. She has 10 years of clinical and community research experience and has been a Co-principal Investigator on several NIH and CDC-funded pilot and large-scale randomised controlled trials of behavioural HIV and substance abuse interventions for vulnerable people who use alcohol and other drugs. She has considerable experience as an addictions clinician and has an honorary appointment with the University of Cape Town’s Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, where she maintains a clinical caseload, teaching, and supervision duties. Her expertise in substance abuse treatment and HIV has been acknowledged via invitations to serve on international reference groups on HIV and drug use and as a technical advisor to the World Health Organisation on several occasions. She has written and published prolifically on the subject, including several book chapters, technical reports and numerous peer-reviewed journal articles.

Caradee Wright

Caradee Wright is a Senior Researcher in the Climate Studies, Modeling and Environmental Health Research Group at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa. She specialises in public health with a particular emphasis on environmental health research. Sheobtained a PhD at the University of Otago in New Zealand, where she measured school children’s personal solar UV radiation exposure for skin cancer prevention. Her experience includes personal dosimetry of solar ultraviolet radiation exposure and health promotion. Recent research focuses on personal exposure to air pollution and public health indicators for air-related health in air quality management planning in South Africa.

Christine Lochner

Christine Lochner is Co-director of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Unit on Anxiety and Stress Disorders at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Stellenbosch. She is a qualified and practicing clinical psychologist, with clinical, genetics and brain imaging research on anxiety disorders, particularly obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders a priority. She has received a number of awards, including the prestigious Rafaelson Fellowship Award, for outstanding young investigators in neuropsychopharmacology research by the Collegium Internationale Neuropsychopharmicologicum (CINP), and the Lundbeck International Neuroscience Foundation (LINF) Sponsorship Award for young scientists in 2004. She was also recently selected as a Young Affiliate for the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) from the sub-Saharan Africa region by the TWAS Regional Office for sub-Saharan Africa. She acts as a reviewer for a number of peer-reviewed scientific journals, including Depression and Anxiety, Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology and the International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice.

De Wet Swanepoel

De Wet Swanepoel is an Associate Professor and Clinical Research Audiologist at the Department of Communication Pathology, University of Pretoria, and adjunct Professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, Callier Centre for Communication Disorders. His research and clinical interests span the field of early identification and diagnosis of hearing loss, objective measures of auditory functioning, HIV-related auditory dysfunction and telehealth. He has published numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and recently co-authored a book on objective assessment of hearing with Prof James W Hall III and co-edited a book on HIV/AIDS associated communication disorders. He has received several awards, including a Presidents’ rating from the National Research Foundation, and research grants in recognition of his work in these areas. He is a regular presenter at international conferences and serves on a number of international committees including the International Society of Audiology Board and the World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) Core Set for Hearing Loss Committee. He is an Associate Editor for the International Journal of Audiology and reviews for a number of other journals.

Fulufhelo Nelwamondo

Fulufhelo Nelwamondo is currently a Principal Researcher and Manager for Information Security Area of Competence, which resides within the Modeling and Digital Science Unit of the CSIR. He holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand. He is a Visiting Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Johannesburg, where he supervises a number of Masters and PhD Engineering students. He was a postdoctoral Fellow at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, of Harvard University and remains the youngest South African ever to receive the Harvard-South Africa fellowship. Nelwamondo has been awarded national and international research accolades and in 2009/10, and was awarded the National Science and Technology Forum award for outstanding research completed in the last 2 to5 years. He has interests in emerging areas of software and technology applications, including biometrics, data mining, modeling of complex systems, machine learning and mechanism design, and he has published over 60 papers in peer-reviewed international journals and book chapters.

Genevieve Langdon

Genevieve Langdon is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Cape Town and is a member of the Blast Impact and Survivability Research Unit. She obtained her PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Liverpool in 2003. Her thesis was titled “Failure of corrugated panels and supports under blast loading: experimental, analytical and numerical studies”. Her research interests are the response of materials and structures to dynamic loading. One of her current foci is the development of lightweight materials and structures for blast protection. She has co-authored more than 40 international, peer-reviewed journal articles, is a reviewer for several international journals and is a Chartered Engineer (the UK equivalent of PrEng). In 2010, she was a recipient of the UCT College of Fellows Young Researcher Award for her contribution to research.

Jeff Murugan

Jeff Murugan is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics and Deputy Director of the Astrophysics, Cosmology and Gravity Centre. He studied at UCT where he obtained his BSc, BSc (Hons) and MSc degrees before commencing his doctoral studies as a Lindbury Fellow jointly at Oxford University and UCT. After completing his PhD in mathematical physics, he spent two years as a postdoctoral Fellow in the High EnergyTtheory Group at Brown University in the USA. He returned to South Africa in 2006 to take up a position at UCT where his research interests are primarily in the area of string theory and quantum gravity where he is trying to understand how space and time might be emergent properties of collective quantum interactions. He occasionally experiments with neurophysics and mathematics education.

Jerome Amir Singh

Jerome Amir Singh is Head of Ethics and Law at the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). He is also adjunct Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health Sciences and Joint Centre for Bioethics at the University of Toronto, Canada and Course Director for Bioethics and the Law at Howard College School of Law, UKZN. He co-directs the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Ethical, Social, and Cultural Issues Advisory Service. He serves on the Critical Path for TB Drug Regimens (CPTR) Initiative’s eight-member Coordinating Group, and on several research bodies, including the International Research Ethics Board of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the Research Ethics Committee of the South African Human Sciences Research Council, the Scientific Advisory Board of the Aurum Institute of Health Research, and the Bioethics Advisory Committee for the US Foundation for the National Institutes for Health’s MAL-ED study. He has served as a member of the US NIH’s Data and Safety Monitoring Board for Africa, the World Health Organisation’s Ethics Task Force on TB Management, and on the health law advisory committee to the South African Law Reform Commission.

Mathieu Rouget

Mathieu Rouget is an Associate Professor in the Department of Plant Science at the University of Pretoria. He obtained his PhD at the University of Cape Town in 2002. His research focuses on the interface between biodiversity conservation and human activities on issues such as alien plant invasions, climate change, effective conservation planning and implementation, and ecosystem services. He is an internationally recognised expert in conservation planning and has worked in several academic and government institutions. His numerous collaborations have resulted in 50 peer-reviewed publications in journals such as Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Trends in Evolution and Ecology, and Conservation Biology.

Mpfariseni Budeli

Mpfariseni Budeli completed her undegraduate studies at the University of the North, currently University of Limpopo, with a Bachelor Degree (LLB) in 2000. She then proceeded with her postgraduate studies at the same University. In 2003, she was awarded the degree Masters of Laws (LLM in Labour Law) cum laude. She served as a Students’ Assistant, Tutor and as Lecturer in the School of Law of the University of Limpopo. In 2007she completed a PhD in Commercial Law at the University of Cape Town. She was the first black South African woman to obtain a PhD in Commercial Law at the University of Cape Town. In 2008, she was awarded a certificate as an expert on workers’ rights to freedom of association by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Office, Geneva, Switzerland. She is a member of the ILO Network of Experts on Freedom of Association. She joined the University of South Africa (UNISA) in 2008. She was awarded a certificate of being the youngest PhD holder at UNISA in 2008. Budeli is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Mercantile Law at UNISA. She is also a Visiting Professor for Labour Law at the University of Lusaka, Zambia and the University of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. She is an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa. She has published papers on labour law and human rights law in accredited, as well as non-accredited journals.

Penny Moore

Penny Moore is a Senior Scientist at the AIDS Research Unit, National Institute for Communicable Diseases of the National Health Laboratory Services. She holds a joint appointment as Researcher in the School of Pathology, University of the Witwatersrand. She obtained her PhD in 2003 from the University of London working on the hepatitis B virus. Since returning to South Africa, her research has focused largely on the HIV envelope protein, and the humoral immune response to HIV-1 subtype C infection and she has published more than 30 papers. She holds a Y1-rating from the National Research Foundation. In 2009, she received a Sydney Brenner Fellowship from ASSAF and was awarded a Friedel Sellschop Award by the University of the Witwatersrand. She currently holds a 5-year Wellcome Trust Fellowship in Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She serves on the Young and Early Career Investigator Committee of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise in New York.

Rangan Gupta

Rangan Gupta is a Professor at the Department of Economics, University of Pretoria. After completing a PhD in May 2005 from the Department of Economics, University of Connecticut, USA, he joined the Department of Economics, University of Pretoria as a Senior Lecturer in August 2005 and was promoted to Associate Professor in July 2007. He secured his BSc (Honours) degree from RKMR College, Narendrapur, and MSc degree from the University of Calcutta. His academic interests are mainly monetary theory and policy, business cycles, and time-series econometrics. He has published widely (85 articles to date) in internationally accredited journals. He is ranked 46th on the list of young economists in the world, as of August, 2011 in a ranking system maintained by Research Papers in Economics (RePEc).

Shadreck Chirikure

Shadreck Chirikure obtained a PhD from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. Currently, he is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cape Town. He has authored and co-authored several papers in leading international journals. He won the prize for best paper published in the journal Antiquity in 2008. His books include Indigenous mining and metallurgy in Africa (Cambridge University Press). His research interests include indigenous mining and metallurgy in Africa, heritage management including palaeoanthropological sites, and heritage and development.

Voster Muchenje

Voster Muchenje was awarded a PhD in Animal Science in 2008. He is an National Research Foundation (NRF) Y2 (Young Promising)-rated scientist. He supervises 21 postgraduate students He is Head of the Department of Livestock and Pasture Science, University of Fort Hare where he has set up a state-of-the-art meat science laboratory. He has written 42 articles in internationally recognised journals and is an Assistant Editor for the South African Journal of Animal Science. He regularly reviews manuscripts for several international journals and the NRF. He is an external examiner for several universities. He chairs the South African Society for Animal Science (SASAS) 2012 Scientific Committee. Voster has presented more than 20 papers at conferences, including in Belo Horizonte, Brazil (2006), Beijing, China (2007), Copenhagen, Denmark (2009), Ghent, Belgium (2011). He has more than 20 articles in farmer journals including The Farmer’s Weekly. Some of his research activities have been broadcast as documentaries by the SABC2. He is a member of the SA Society for Animal Science (SASAS) and the American Meat Science Association (AMSA).

Yahya Choonara

Yahya Choonara completed a PhD at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in 2009. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Research Manager of the Wits Advanced Drug Delivery Platform and Director for Drug Delivery Research of the Wits/MRC Hub of the National Medical Devices Innovation Platform. In the past 5 years he has published over 60 research articles in peer-reviewed top-ranking ISI-accredited international journals, contributed to 182 peer-reviewed conference papers and is a co-inventor on 30 patents. His research focuses on the concept of merging Computational Modeling Theories to blueprint drug delivery technologies with capabilities beyond what has been achieved thus far. Choonara has been a recipient of the prestigious University of the Witwatersrand Friedel Sellschop Award in 2011.

This article originally appeared in the Mail & Guardian newspaper as an advertorial supplement

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