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Wits wins widely

- Wits University

Wits academics – both established and emerging – have won widely over the past month, in fields as diverse as philosophy, entomology, pharmacy, and engineering.

These Witsies have won accolades recently in 2019.L_R Lucy Allais.Maureen Coetzee.Viness Pillay.Yahya Choonara.Loren Landau.Tamlyn Naidu.Teurai Rwafa.Roy Shires.Somefun Oluwasey

Philosophy professor and Kant scholar, Lucy Allais and entomologist and malaria expert, Professor Maureen Coetzee received A-ratings from the National Research Foundation (NRF). This rating denotes a scholar recognised as leader in their field by international peers. Pharmacy Professor Viness Pillay won the NRF award for Champion of Research Capacity Development and Transformation at SA Higher Education Institutions.

Professor Yahya Choonara and Professor Loren Landau were inaugurated as members of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) at the annual Awards Ceremony on 9 October 2019. Choonara is Chair and Head of Department: Pharmacy and Pharmacology and Principal Scientist and Syndicate Co-Director: Wits Advanced Drug Delivery Platform. Landau is a professor in the African Centre for Migration and Society. ASSAf honours outstanding scholars from a range of disciplines by electing them as members in recognition of scholarly achievement.

Tamlyn Naidu, a PhD candidate in the School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering at Wits was named the international winner of the 2019 Young Persons’ World Lecture Competition held in London on 10 October. Naidu won for her entry, Acid Mine Drainage remediation system using waste products from the steel manufacturing and sugar industries. As the winner of the South African finals, Naidu had to deliver a 15-minute presentation on a technical topic of her choice and answer questions from three judges.

Teurai Rwafa, a SARCHi PhD Research Fellow in the Centre for Health Policy, Wits School of Public Health, won the Best Oral Presentation at the 2019 Public Health Association of South Africa (PHASA) Conference in Cape Town in September. Rwafa won the same award in 2018.

Professor Roy Shires has won the International Excellence in Endocrinology Award. This award is presented to an endocrinologist who has made exceptional contributions to the field in geographic areas with underdeveloped resources. Shires is Professor of Medicine at Wits and the first head of the Division of Endocrinology at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto whose patients sometimes come from impoverished and underprivileged communities. He most recently initiated the first programme to manage transgender patients in the Soweto population.

Dr Somefun Oluwaseyi published 21 papers and four book chapters over five years during her fulltime doctoral studies at Wits. A scholar in Demography and Population Studies, Somefun’s research focuses on youth development in sub-Saharan Africa. She aims to examine how positive behaviours and environments of young people mediate, mitigate, and help them to overcome the risks they face. She held fellowships with the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA) and several others during her doctoral studies.