Science Couple at University of Pretoria Wins Major Awards

Posted on October 01, 2009

The AU’s Women Scientists’ Awards Programme stems from the Commission of African Union’s attempts to promote science in Africa and is being implemented by Regional Economic Communities within Africa’s five regions.

“This recognition is deeply appreciated and shared by the many students and colleagues that contributed to the award. I hope that it will encourage women to consider careers in Science, especially in domains that are considered nationally as scarce skills,” says Prof. Brenda Wingfield.

Prof. Mike Wingfield, the Director of FABI (Forestry & Agricultural Biotechnology Institute) at UP was awarded a “Biotech Fundi Capacity Builder Award 2009" by the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD) for his significant contribution to and impact on the biotech sector in the province.

This award is reserved for a person who has gone the extra mile in empowering students and colleagues by imparting insight and skills to ensure their market readiness in the biotech sector.

Prof Wingfield has been the advisor of a remarkable number of M.Sc. and Ph.D. students during his academic career. Many of his past students hold significant positions and have won other important awards in many parts of the world.

When asked to elaborate on their relationship as scientists, Mike Wingfield said: “Our collaboration has brought incredible strength to our careers. Brenda is a biochemist by training and she entered molecular genetics at the time that the impact of recombinant DNA research was just beginning to touch the biological sciences. She was able to help me to bring DNA–based techniques into my research field which was very much ecological. Amazing synergy has emerged from our collaboration and there is no question that our students and colleagues have benefited from this too.“

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