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Women in science awards

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) holds the annual Women in Science Awards (WISA) to recognise and reward women scientists and researchers and uphold them as role models for younger women.

2017

 

Loretta Magagula

Ms Loretta Magagula, Faculty of Engineering & Built Environment

DST Tata Doctoral Scholarship Award

Loretta Magagula obtained a BSc in biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, and physiology at the University of the Witwatersrand, a BSc(Hons) in biotechnology at the University of Pretoria, and an MSc in clinical science and immunology at the University of Cape Town. She is currently pursuing a PhD in chemical biology at UCT as part of the Biomedical Translational Research Initiative. Her project focuses on identifying and visualising specific breast and colorectal cancer-causing mutations in the South African population in a field that is almost entirely dominated by Eurocentric data.

 

 

Muthoni Masine

Ms Keneilwe Hlahane, Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Engineering & Built Environment

DST Masters Fellowship

Keneilwe Hlahane obtained a BSc in geology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, followed by a BSc(Hons) in geographic information systems (GIS) at UCT, where she is currently enrolled for an MSc in GIS and remote sensing. Hlahane's master's project focuses on monitoring eutrophication using GIS and satellite remote-sensing in the Vaal River. Eutrophication is a leading cause of water pollution in freshwater and coastal marine ecosystems

2016

 

Professor Alison Lewis, Dean of Faculty of Engineering & Built Environment

Distinguished Woman Scientist – Research and Innovation Award

Alison Lewis, dean of UCT’s Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment, received the award for her overall contribution to research and innovation in the physical and engineering sciences. Her longstanding interest in water and water treatment in an increasingly water-scarce South Africa led to her research into the treatment of acid mine drainage. This resulted in a process called eutectic freeze crystallisation (EFC), which converts contaminated mine water into clean potable water. 

 

 

Muthoni Masine

Ms Belinda Speed, Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences

DST Doctoral Scholarship

Belinda Speed is currently completing her doctorate in forensic medicine in the Department of Pathology. Using pig carcasses as a substitute for human bodies, her research focuses on the baseline decomposition rates of bodies in the marine environment in the Western Cape climate; and aims to provide comparative data that can be used by local forensic anthropologists to help identify bodies and provide sound evidence in court cases. Speed hopes that this will provide closure to families who have lost loved ones. 

 

2015

 

Associate Professor Gina Ziervoge, Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, Faculty of Science

Distinguished young woman researcher (winner)

Gina Ziervogel is senior lecturer in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science and research fellow in the African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI). She was honoured for her research in climate and development. Her work focuses on those most exposed and vulnerable to climate change and variability.

2014

 

Professor Genevieve Langdon, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering & Built Environment

Distinguished young women in physical and engineering science (first runner-up)

Genevieve Langdon, professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, was recognised for her work in the development and evaluation of blast-resistant materials and structures. Her work aims to better understand how important structures such as public buildings or transport systems respond to explosion. Langdon performs actual explosive detonations under carefully controlled conditions, making her work unique in the world.

2013

 

Lillian Artz

Associate Professor Lillian Artz,  Gender, Health and Justice Research Unit (GHJRU), Faculty of Health Science

Distinguished researcher in "The role of science and research against violence towards women" (second runner-up)

Lillian Artz is the director of the Gender, Health and Justice Research Unit (GHJRU). She has published extensively on domestic violence, sexual offences, incarcerated women and women’s rights to freedom and security in Africa. She has worked on criminal justice and public health care reform in southern and East Africa for over 20 years. She received the 2nd runner-up award in the 2013 Women in Science Award for her groundbreaking work on gender violence.

 

 

Associate Professor Michelle Kuttel, Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Science

Distinguished young women in physical and engineering science (second runner-up)

Michelle Kuttel is associate professor in the Department of Computer Science. She does cross-disciplinary research in computational science, employing computational models, analytical methods and innovative algorithms to probe scientific problems. Her research in this field is in the areas of computational chemistry, computational astronomy (which includes the development of software and computational approaches to support the new Square Kilometre Array (SKA) in South Africa), parallel and high performance computing, and scientific visualisation.

2012

 

Dr Sindiso Mnisi-Weeks, Department of Public Law, Faculty of Law

Emerging researcher (winner)

Sindiso Mnisi Weeks completed her doctorate in law in 2009 at the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes scholar. At the time of this award, Mnisi Weeks was a senior researcher in the Law, Race and Gender Research Unit at UCT, working on the rural women's action-research project. Her main concerns have been with rural women's exclusion from law-making and decision-making practices in traditional communities, as well as their participation in national legislative processes. Using methods that include rural women's participation, she has publicly challenged these forms of exclusion and the implications they have for rural women's ability to attain social and economic security.

 

 

Professor Alison Lewis, Dean of Faculty of Engineering & Built Environment

Distinguished women scientists physical & engineering sciences (winner)

Alison Lewis is a registered professional engineer and professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at UCT. She started a new group specialising in crystallisation and precipitation research which has since become one of the accredited research units at UCT. Her research highlights crystallisation as a tool to purify metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium, as well as its potential to treat contaminated water, such as acid mine drainage.

 

 

Professor Hanri Mostert, Department of Private Law, Faculty of Law

Distinguished young women scientist in social sciences & humanities (runner-up)

Hanri Mostert is visiting professor in the Department of Private Law and Notary Law, Groningen Centre for Law and Governance, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. Her research focus is on land and mineral law. In these fields, she has contributed to the most authoritative sources on South African law, addressing issues of constitutional property protection, landlessness, tenure security, restitution, nationalisation, land governance and mineral resource regulation.

2010

 

Professor Jill Farrant, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Faculty of Science

Distinguished women scientist, life sciences (winner)

Jill Farrant is a professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and a leader in the field of plant responses to water-deficit stress. In 2015 she was the recipient of the prestigious Erna Hamburger prize which is awarded to the world’s top researchers in science, engineering and architecture. She is also the African/Arab States recipient of the 2012 L'Oreal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science and a recipient of the Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship Award in 2009. Farrant is a fellow of the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), serves on the scientific board of the Agropolis Foundation in Montpellier and was the first female researcher at UCT to be awarded an A rating by the National Research Foundation in 2009.

 

 

Professor Karen Sliwa-Hahnle, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences

Distinguished women scientist, life sciences (second runner-up)

Karen Sliwa is a professor in cardiovascular research and director of the Hatter Institute for Cardiovascular Research in Africa, within the Department of Medicine. She is a fellow of the European Society of cardiology and American College of cardiology. She has published widely in both local and international journals and books of various topics related to cardiovascular medicine. The National Research Foundation (NRF) has awarded her a B2 rating in recognition of her leading role in her field. Sliwa is the chairperson of the South African Heart Failure Society and convenor of the Pan African Society of Cardiology (PASCAR) study group on heart failure in Africa.

 

 

Associate Professor Floretta Avril Boonzaier, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Humanities

Distinguished young women researcher, social sciences and humanities (first runner-up)

At the time of the award, Floretta Avril Boonzaier was a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology. She completed her doctorate at UCT in 2005 with a research topic which focused on the construction of subjectivities in relation to violence in intimate heterosexual relationships, a topic which informed some of her later projects. Her research has included focus on men, masculinity and violence, and intimate heterosexual partnerships in low-income environments.

2009

 

Dr Amanda Weltman, Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, Faculty of Science

Best emerging young scientist

Amanda Weltman is a theoretical physicist with a research focus on the fundamental physics that underlies the nature of the universe. The goals of her research are to study the universe as a whole, while gaining insight into its origin, composition, structure, evolution and ultimately its fate. She is a member of the Cape Town Science Centre Scientific Advisory Board, the South African Royal Society and on the executive of the South African Young Academy of Sciences.

 

 

Professor Jill Farrant, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Faculty of Science

Distinguished women scientist award (first runner-up)

Jill Farrant is a professor in UCT's Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and a leader in the field of plant responses to water deficit stress. In 2015, she was the recipient of the prestigious Erna Hamburger prize which is awarded to the world's top researchers in science, engineering and architecture. She is also the African/Arab States recipient of the 2012 L'Oreal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science an a recipient of the Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship Award in 2009. Farrant is a fellow of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), serves on the scientific board of the Agropolis Foundation in Montpellier and was the first female researcher at UCT to be awarded an A rating by the National Research Foundation in 2009.

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