Outstanding Researchers Acknowledged in the College of Health Sciences

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Professor Rob Slotow, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of
the College of Health Sciences; Professor Moses Chimbari,
College Dean of Research; Professor Leana Uys; Professor
Marie-Louise Newell; Professor Sabiha Essack, Dean and
Head of UKZN’s School of Health Sciences; Professor Busi
Ncama, Dean and Head of UKZN’s School of Nursing and
Public Health; Dr Thavi Govender, and Professor William

The College of Health Sciences (CHS) is serious about recognising research excellence. This was indicated at a recent research symposium which was held in honour of two leading researchers who will receive university Fellowships at the 2013 graduation ceremonies, and two top UKZN researchers who were announced in 2012.

The incoming Fellows for 2013 are Professor Leana Uys, former Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the CHS from 2001 to 2010, and Professor Marie-Louise Newell, Director of the Wellcome Trust-funded Africa Centre for Health & Population Studies which continues to produce ground-breaking HIV research in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

Both researchers delivered insightful presentations on their journey to becoming prolific researchers, together with Professor William Bishai, Director of the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH) who was named an A-Rated Scientist by the National Research Foundation in 2012, and Professor Thavi Govender who was acknowledged last year for publishing his 100th Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) Recognised Publication.

Govender was lauded for reaching his 120th ISI Recognised Publication and said his Unit has established an international network of researchers to focus on HIV and TB research over a five-year period.

Efforts towards drug discovery in HIV and TB research were presented by Govender, currently a Principal Investigator in the Catalysis and Peptide Research Unit at UKZN, and Bishai who said there were only two ways of dealing with infectious diseases; either to prevent them, or diagnose and treat them. 

Professor Moses Chimbari, the recently appointed College Dean of Research, delivered the symposium’s first presentation, reflecting on various studies he conducted with researchers in Botswana and Zimbabwe using an ‘ecohealth approach’ to investigate and solve the challenges of agriculture, healthcare, water scarcity and conflict in the respective countries.

Chimbari said, ‘Africa is a continent with serious challenges and meagre researches’, and the ecohealth approach seeks to find the problem and solve it through its six pillars: transdisciplinarity, community participation, gender equity, systems thinking, sustainability and moving from knowledge to action.