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Claude Leon Merit Award



Sahal Yacoob

Dr Sahal Jacoob, Department of Physics, Faculty of Science

The research focus of Dr Sahal Jacoob (Department of Physicsg) is on the Higgs boson, the elusive particle that gives matter mass, and the mysterious “top quark”, the giant among all observed elementary particles.  Yacoob has been studying elementary particles for over 10 years and was part of the team that detected the Higgs boson five years ago.


Katye Altieri

Dr Katye Altieri, Department of Oceanography, Faculty of Science

The research focus of Dr Katye Altieri includes surface ocean-lower atmosphere nitrogen cycling, the impact of air pollution on the ocean, and the chemical composition and climate impact of organic aerosols. (Aerosols are colloidal suspensions of particles dispersed in the air or in gas.) She also serves as Senior Research Officer in the Energy Research Center at UCT.



David Ikumi

Associate Professor Adeniyi Isafiade, Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment

The research focus of Prof Adeniyi Isafiade (Department of Chemical Engineering) is in the area of process synthesis and optimisation of energy and water supply networks. The work involves developing mathematical models that can be used to represent as many possible options of different networks that meet energy and water demand in a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way.


Joseph Raimondo

Dr Joseph Raimondo, Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences

Dr Joseph Raimondo's (Department of Human Biology) research is focused on understanding why brains seize. His lab’s research attempts to answer this question by examining the cellular and circuit level interactions between brain cells, which result in the development of epileptic seizures


Johann Diener

Assistant Professor Sarah Fawcett, Department of Oceanography, Faculty of Science

The research of Dr Sarah Fawcett (Department of Anthropology) aims to identify the sources of nitrogen pollution in False Bay, evaluate how far offshore the pollution can persist and, through a dedicated monitoring programme, understand what happens to it once it enters the water. Fawcett hopes the study will support a long-term monitoring plan for the bay area as little is known about the chemical make-up of its water, how this varies seasonally and how its vigorous circulation prevents stagnation.



Amir Patel

Dr Amir Patel, Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment

The research focus of Dr Amir Patel (Department of Electrical Engineering) is on understanding how animals and robots move. He is currently working on building a four-legged robot based on his PhD research investigating the mechanisms of cheetah maneuvrability.


Sudesh Sivarasu

Dr Sudesh Sivarasu, Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences

The expertise of Dr Sudesh Sivarasu (Department of Human Biology) includes design of medical devices and orthopaedic biomechanical devices with a special focus on health technologies for low resourced settings. He also conceptualised the Frugal Biodesign Process and adopted it for medical devices innovation in India and South Africa.


David Ikumi

Dr David Ikumi, Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment

The research focus of Dr David Ikumi (Department of Civil Engineering) is on the mathematical modelling of wastewater treatment systems. His work, carried through from postgraduate research, seeks to contribute solutions to averting the current water crisis in the water scarce countries of Africa.


Fleur Howelss

Dr Fleur Howells, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, Faculty of Health Sciences

Dr Fleur Howells (Department of Psychiatry) is a neuroscientist who conducts studies in translational  animal models of psychiatric disorders and uses multi-modal brain imaging techniques to better understand human psychiatric disorders.  Her research focuses particularly on psychosis, including schizophrenia and methamphetamine-induced psychosis.


Johann Diener

Dr Johann Diener, Department of Geological Sciences, Faculty of Science

The research of Dr Johann Diener (Department of Geological Sciences) focuses on metamorphic rocks, which form at high pressures and temperatures deep in the Earth's crust.  He is particularly interested in what happens once these rocks become hot enough to melt, because those processes play an important role in determining the composition and strength of the continents. 


Malvin Varughese

Dr Melvin Varughese, Department of Statistical Sciences, Faculty of Science

Dr Melvin Varughese (Department of Statistical Sciences) is a statistician whose work focuses on diffusion processes, a statistical model useful for capturing the dynamics of phenomena that change randomly over time. Melvin has also used machine learning techniques to analyse astronomical datasets - in particular, developing automated procedures to classify transient astronomical objects.