Two UP professors get NRF A-rating awards

Posted on October 18, 2018

Prof Josua Meyer, Head of the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology, and Prof Robert (Bob) Millar, Director of the Centre for Neuroendocrinology at the University of Pretoria, walked away with A-rating awards at the National Research Foundation (NRF) Annual Award Ceremony, held in Port Elizabeth recently. An NRF A-rating demonstrates unequivocal recognition from peers as leading international scholars in their respective fields, for the high quality and impact of their recent research outputs.

Prof Meyer established the Clean Energy Research Group at UP, which has developed, designed and constructed more than ten state-of-the-art experimental set-ups, which are used for leading-edge heat transfer research. “My research focus is on clean energy and, more narrowly, on heat exchangers,” he says. “My heat exchanger work is at a fundamental level, investigating the transitional flow regime, nanofluids and condensation, as well as at an applications level, such as renewable, wind and nuclear energy.”

He was inspired to pursue his research interest when he took a module in heat transfer as a fourth-year mechanical engineering student. In addition to being an NRF A-rated researcher, Prof Meyer is also something of a YouTube star – the lectures of his videos that he’s posted to his YouTube channel have been viewed more than 1.2 million times, and his channel has 13 000 subscribers. “The statistics provided by YouTube are interesting, as there is good cross-section, with 38% of my videos watched by people in the age group 18 to 24 – most probably under- and postgraduate students, and 51% by people in the age group 25 to 34 – most probably academics and engineers practising in industry.” He’s also impressed by the breakdown of the countries in which his videos are being watched – India (19.7%), USA (14.2%), SA (5.1%), South Korea (4.2%), UK (3.4%), Canada (3.1%), and Egypt (2.2%).

Prof Millar is Director of the Centre for Neuroendocrinology. His research spans the continuum of understanding hormone‒receptor interactions at an atomic level, through molecular and cell biology systems, and reproductive neuroendocrine physiology to the development and patenting of novel molecules and their introduction into clinical studies in humans. It focuses predominantly on small peptide molecules in the brain and their receptors, which regulate reproduction. He isolated a novel form of one of these, namely the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). It was only the third to be structurally characterised after three others for which the Nobel Prize was awarded. Together with colleagues, he was the first to clone the GnRH receptor, setting the scene for the development of GnRH analogues, which now constitute a billion-dollar market in the treatment of, inter alia, infertility and prostate cancer.

- Author Myan Subrayan

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences