Extreme climates

We live at a time where our resources – social, economic and environmental – are more at risk than ever before. Global warming is causing climate patterns to change – think higher temperatures and decreased rainfall.

  • Professor Thulani Makhalanyane

Professor Thulani Makhalanyane graduated from the University of the Western Cape with an MSc (cum laude) (2009) and a PhD (2013).

After completing his doctoral studies, he moved to the University of Pretoria (UP) where his research has focused almost entirely on understanding the ecology of microbial communities in extreme environments. These habitats include soil microbial communities in the Antarctic Dry Valleys, the Namib Desert and increasingly in South African regions such as the Southern Ocean.

In 2014, after a period as a postdoctoral fellow, Prof Makhalanyane was appointed as a lecturer before being promoted to associate professor in 2019. He holds the DSI/NRF SARChI Chair in Marine Microbiomics and continues to undertake research at UP. He supervises 14 postgraduate students at master’s and doctorate levels.

Prof Makhalanyane has generated over 60 publications since 2012 (H index 25), and his work has been presented at several international meetings, including the International Symposium on Microbial Ecology. He serves on national and international panels, representing South Africa in bilateral discussions. He also serves on several editorial boards and is senior editor at three journals: the ISME Journal, mSystems and Communications Biology.

Prof Makhalanyane was elected to the board of the ISME Society in October 2018 and is a member of the Executive Advisory Board. He is a Fulbright Scholar and has received several awards, including the TW-Kambule-NSTF Award (Emerging Researcher), and was given a prestigious NRF P rating.

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