Three UP scientists among NSTF-BHP Billiton Awards 2013 winners

Posted on June 28, 2013

Prof Millar has made numerous discoveries which have been translated into effective treatments for reproductive diseases and cancers. One of his more significant contributions was the development of Triptorelin – a locally developed hormone agonist used in the treatment of prostate cancer or breast cancer. His research has been published in nearly 400 internationally peer-reviewed journals.

Prof Marietjie Venter, Director of the Zoonosis Research Unit at UP and the Centre for Respiratory Diseases and Meningitis, National Institute for Communicable Diseases in Johannesburg and Prof Saurabh Sinha, Director of the Carl and Emily Fuchs Institute for Microelectronics at UP both received the TW Kambule Award for individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to SETI through research and its outputs over the last five to ten years. The award is sponsored by the National Research Foundation (NRF).

Prof Venter is known for defining the role of several viruses as causes of pneumonia and neurological disease in humans and animals. She also investigates the role of viruses in severe acute respiratory infections as well as vector-borne zoonotic viruses in neurological infections in humans and animals. She has contributed to research in molecular epidemiology involving emerging respiratory viruses in South Africa.

Prof Sinha is recognised for pioneering the millimetre-wave integrated circuit research in Africa. His work has attracted over R10 million of funding to support 20 postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows, as well as the newly founded, state-of-the-art millimetre-wave laboratory.

A total of eight UP scientists were finalists in the NSTF-BHP Billiton awards this year. Prof Cheryl de la Rey, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, congratulated them earlier, reiterating that it is a great honour to be a finalist or winner of the awards. “All of these scientists have made an outstanding contribution to science, engineering, technology and innovation in South Africa.

“The University of Pretoria’s standing as one of South Africa’s leading research-intensive universities can largely be attributed to the achievements of our academic staff,” said Prof De la Rey. “The outstanding academic talent and expertise that have been demonstrated will enable the University to make an even greater impact in developing people, creating knowledge and making a difference locally and globally.”

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