News

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SA is breaking more high-temperature records than expected

A study by a PhD student at the University of Pretoria’s (UP) Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology reveals that South Africa is experiencing more maximum temperature records than expected and that this trend seems to be accelerating.

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Disaster triggers solidarity rather than disruption among South Africans – UP resilience expert’s findings

South Africans have been found to tend towards flocking instead of taking flight as a resilience response. This is according to Professor Liesel Ebersöhn, a professor in UP's Department of Educational Psychology.

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UP research: The history and genetics of our famous Nguni cattle can help conserve them

Research being conducted by UP’s Prof Este van Marle-Koster can help farmers selectively breed more productive animals, improving food security, while conserving the features that make breeds such as the Nguni cow special.

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Researcher Profile: Shilpa Ranchod

Shilpa Ranchod graduated from the University of Pretoria with an MSc which focused on detecting distant neutral hydrogen (HI) using MeerKAT, through gravitational lensing and HI spectral stacking, as well as HI in galaxy groups in the nearby Universe. MeerKAT is a world-class radio telescope located in the Northern Cape and South Africa’s precursor to the Square Kilometre Array.

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UP researcher uses MeerKAT to discover large gas-rich galaxy group hiding in plain sight

A study led by a University of Pretoria (UP) master’s student using South Africa’s MeerKAT telescope has led to the discovery of a group of 20 galaxies. This large galaxy group is likely the most neutral hydrogen gas-rich group ever discovered, and it is the first time this group has been identified, despite residing in a very well-studied area of the sky.

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UP scientist co-authors study on biodiversity loss index

A study co-authored by Dr Bernard Coetzee, a senior lecturer in the Department of Zoology and Entomology at the University of Pretoria (UP), has detailed how chance events could alter the Living Planet Index (LPI), a measure of the world’s biological diversity based on population trends.

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More drought, dust storms and heavy rains expected to spread disease

Climate change in South Africa has major health risks associated with it, such as new vector-borne diseases emerging from heavy rainfall, malnutrition from poor food security caused by drought, and respiratory diseases caused by dust storms and air pollution.

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UP’s Engineering 4.0’s ‘smart avos’ key to determining impact of transportation conditions on agricultural products

Scientists at the University of Pretoria’s (UP) Engineering 4.0 research facility are tracking the journey of 3-D-printed avocados on a ship from South Africa to the Netherlands. These avocados have microsensors and are part of a research project to determine damage to fresh produce that is being transported from producers to supermarkets.

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Researcher Profile: Prof Sue Nicolson

Professor Sue Nicolson was born in New Zealand and studied at the University of Auckland before doing her PhD at Cambridge University in the UK. She worked in the Zoology Department at the University of Cape Town for 20 years before moving to the University of Pretoria (UP) in 2001. She was Head of the Department of Zoology and Entomology from 2003 to 2011.

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Bees find it easier to drink warmer nectar

Warmer weather makes feeding time much easier, and more effective, for honeybees, according to Professor Sue Nicolson of the University of Pretoria (UP) and colleagues from various Chinese universities, who made this discovery after analysing several high-speed videos. The results were published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

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Africa has highest global death rate among critically ill COVID-19 patients – UP experts part of landmark study

Mortality in critically ill patients with COVID-19 is higher in African countries than reported from studies done in Asia, Europe, North America and South America. This is according to the findings of a study that was conducted by a team of African researchers, including experts from the University of Pretoria (UP), and recently published in peer-reviewed journal The Lancet.

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UP using nanostructures to reduce the global warming impact of refrigeration equipment

Recent research as part of a collaboration between the University of Pretoria, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Imperial College London hopes to improve refrigeration equipment and reduce their impact on global warming through the use of nanostructures.

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Researcher Profile: Professor Robin Crewe

Robin Crewe was born in Johannesburg and studied at the University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg and at the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA for his PhD.

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The dark side of the hive

Prof Robin Crewe is the co-author of Dark Side of the Hive, a book that forces us to re-examine everything we thought we knew about honey bees.

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COVID-19: Are men the weaker sex?

Along with Italian colleagues, Prof Robert Millar published a paper in the journal Neuroendocrinology about the differences between men and women in terms of COVID-19 outcomes, focusing on the role that sex hormones play on the severity and outcome of the infection and the complex interplay of sex with the ACE2 and TMPRSS2 enzymes, and inflammatory and immune systems.

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UP produces first-of-its-kind solution to encourage safe listening to prevent hearing loss

In the first study of its kind, researchers at the University of Pretoria (UP) have made headway in understanding the accuracy and reliability of sound-level monitoring earphones and the effect of smartphone feedback, as an intervention to encourage safe listening use among young people.

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Researcher Profile: Professor Robert Millar

Professor Robert (Bob) Millar is the Director of the Centre for Neuroendocrinology at the University of Pretoria (UP). He is also a senior research fellow at the Universities of Cape Town (UCT) and Edinburgh, and Emeritus Professor at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. He was born in South Africa and grew up in Zimbabwe.

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Research by UP-led team reveals eating habits of black holes

Research by an international team of scientists led by the University of Pretoria’s (UP) Dr Jack Radcliffe has clarified the eating habits of massive black holes.

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South African case study sheds light on how vaccine manufacturing can be developed

The uneven availability of COVID-19 vaccines has become an increasingly urgent and vexatious issue. But managing the problem of what’s been labelled “vaccine nationalism” is proving a hard nut to crack.

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Christof Heyns: South African scholar who left his mark on the world’s human rights systems

The South African academic Professor Christof Heyns, who has died at the age of 62, was a world-renowned human rights advocate and academic. He was a thoughtful scholar of both the African and UN human rights systems, and an incredibly popular teacher and activist.

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