August/September 2011, Vol 8, No 5  
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SERA partners boast five top Women in Science achievers

UP recipients - Prof Namrita Lall (far left) and Prof Jolanda Roux (centre right) - with UP Vice-Chancellor Prof Cheryl de la Rey (centre left) and Minister Naledi Pandor (far right).


The recent announcement of the Department of Science and Technology's 2011 'South African Women in Science' Award recipients served as a particular point of pride for the Alliance's partner institutions - with five members of staff having made the cut.

Among the honoured staff members are Profs Jolanda Roux and Namrita Lall of the University of Pretoria who are the proud winners of the Distinguished Young Woman in Science Awards for 'Life, Natural and Engineering Sciences' and 'Indigenous Knowledge Systems', respectively.

Prof Roux - also a recent recipient of the Commonwealth Forestry Organisation's Queen's Award - was recognised for her research on the health of trees, focussing strongly on fungi and bacteria that result in disease and death of trees. The majority of her work in this regard looks at the diseases affecting commercial plantation forestry species; namely Acacia mearnsii, Eucalyptus spp. and Pinus spp.

The Award received by Prof Lall was in honour of her contribution of a scientific validation of the use of South African plants for medicines and cosmetics. She is also internationally recognised for her contributions to bioprospecting from traditional knowledge on medicinal plants and, since 1997, has initiated various research projects applying medicinal plants in areas including tuberculosis, diabetes and cancer. She was a previous recipient of a UNESCO L'Oreal Women in Science Award for her research on tuberculosis in 2002.

In addition to Profs Roux and Lall, the other 'South African Women in Science' Award recipients are Prof Fhumulani Mulaudzi of University of Pretoria - runner in the Distinguished Young Woman in Science Award for 'Indigenous Knowledge Systems' category; the CSIR's Nadine van den Berg - winner of a DST Masters Fellowship; and Tozama Ogunleye, also of CSIR, who has received a DST doctoral scholarship.

The DST 'South African Women in Science' Awards are held annually as part of the Department's Women's Month celebrations and presented by the Minister. The Awards are aimed at promoting women's access and excellence in research and innovation careers; profiling women scientists and researchers as role models, and; encouraging and rewarding younger women who are starting careers in science and research.