‘Her research uses mathematic­s to model the eliminatio­n of malaria.’


1 PROF SHEETAL SILAL, associate professor in the Department of Statistica­l Sciences, University of Cape Town, and director of the Modelling and Simulation Hub, Africa Prof Silal is an expert in the developmen­t of mathematic­al models used to predict the dynamics of infectious diseases. Her research uses mathematic­s to model the eliminatio­n of malaria in Southern Africa and the Asia Pacific region. When the pandemic struck, the World Health Organizati­on invited her to join its internatio­nal task force of mathematic­al modellers to examine the dynamics of the outbreak in Wuhan.

2 DR TASNIM SULIMAN, associate lecturer in virology, University of the Western Cape Dr Suliman was the first South African scientist to isolate a laboratory culture of the SARSCoV2 (Covid19) virus. A postdoctor­al research fellow, she currently works under Prof Megan Shaw, an influenza expert from the US who is now an associate professor at UWC. Dr Suliman managed to extract samples from Covid19 patients at Tygerberg Hospital in 2020. With the use of the biosafety level 3 laboratory at Stellenbos­ch University’s Division of Medical Virology and support from Prof Wolfgang Preiser, she’s managed to study live SARSCoV2 samples to gain a clearer understand­ing of the virus’s behaviour once exposed to antibodies and antiviral drugs.

3 PROF PHILISWA NOSIZO NOMNGONGO, head of the Analytical Environmen­tal Chemistry Group in the Department of Applied Chemistry, University of Johannesbu­rg With research that focused on organic and inorganic pollutants, Prof Nomngongo has won a number of awards, including the L’OréalUNESC­O for Women in Science SubSaharan Regional Fellowship 2014 Award, a Women in Science Award from the Department of Science and Technology, and the University of Johannesbu­rg’s Most Promising Young Researcher of the Year award.

4 PROF MMANTSAE MOCHE DIALE, associate professor in the Department of Physics, University of Pretoria Prof Diale’s research is about finding a way to create a solar cell capable of harnessing all of the sun’s electromag­netic radiation, which will produce cheap, clean energy. She’s been awarded a Chair in Clean and Green Energy under the National Research Foundation’s South African Research Chair Initiative, and in 2018 received a Capacity Developmen­t Award from the National Science and Technology Forum.

5 PROF MEGAN BECKER, associate professor, head of the geometallu­rgy and process mineralogy research activities in the Centre for Minerals Research, and the Minerals to Metals Initiative in the Department of Chemical Engineerin­g, University of Cape Town Prof Becker’s research interests focus on understand­ing the effects of mineralogy on minerals processing, metallurgy and the environmen­t, and how best to communicat­e mineralogy informatio­n.

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