UP adds strength to Biochem training

Posted on September 10, 2008

With almost 50 proposals submitted from 29 African countries, SABINA was among the three networks selected by an international panel of eminent scientists. The SABINA network includes the three South African institutions that are partnered through the African Centre for Gene Technologies (ACGT), namely the University of Pretoria, CSIR, and University of the Witwatersrand), as well as the University of Malawi, University of Namibia and University of Dar es Salaam.

The Academic Director of SABINA is Prof John D Saka from University of Malawi, and the network administratration will also be based at University of Malawi. The involvement of the South African institutions will be coordinated through the office of the ACGT. The SABINA network will prepare and coach PhD and MSc scientists through research in the biochemistry and chemistry of natural products, including bioinformatics as a vital instrument for data management and the elucidation of structure and function.

“What is of note is that the research will be centered around increasing the understanding of useful plants (such as tea crops and indigenous plants) or fungi, through the development of screening assays, study of biosynthetic pathways, gene expression, modes of action, synthetic production, and genetic diversity,” says Prof Jane Morris, Director of the African Centre for Gene Technologies.

According to Prof Morris, the Carnegie-IAS Regional Initiative in Science and Education (RISE) seeks to empower human capacity through science and technology training and research in a regional context in sub-Saharan Africa. “This in turn will enable individuals to use Science and Technology to add enormous value to regional economic development,” concludes Prof Morris.

RISE is administered by the Science Initiative Group in partnership with the African Academy of Sciences.

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