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Dr Matlou Gauta Gold awarded NRF-Y2 Rating

Dr Matlou Gauta Gold awarded NRF-Y2 Rating

Dr completed his Bachelor of science and honors studies with the University of Limpopo (Medunsa campus). He holds a Master of Science degree in nanoscience from University of Johannesburg and a doctoral degree in chemistry from Rhodes University. He does research in advanced drug delivery systems using metallic nanoparticles as drug carriers and photoactive dyes such as phthalocyanines as target drugs for photodynamic therapy of cancer. He has published in internationally scientific indexed peer reviewed journals amounting to 13 articles to date, with over 120 citations with H-Index of 7 on Google scholar, Scopus and Research Gate.

Dr Matlou has given oral talks at various international conferences and was a visiting student researcher at the Shinshu University, Ueda, Japan in 2016. His many accolades include being listed as one of the 2021 Top 200 Young South Africans, Mail and Guardian, under the Science and Technology category and attending the 2022 71st Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting, Lindau, Germany. Dr Matlou aspires to be a leading scientist/researcher within his specific subject in a near future. His skill set, determination, laser-focus and innovativeness are what sets him apart from the rest.

He recently joined the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University within the school of pharmacy (pharmaceutical sciences department) as a postdoctoral research fellow focusing on development of target drugs conjugated to nanoparticles for effective delivery and efficacy on diseased site. NRF-Y rating is awarded to early career scientists/researchers who held the doctorate for less than five years at the time of application, and who are recognized as having the potential to establish themselves as researchers within a five-year period after evaluation, based on their performance and productivity as researchers.

Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University and Anhui Medical University, China, sign a letter of intent

Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University and Anhui Medical University, China, sign a letter of intent

The SMU Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Peter Mbati, on the 25 May 2023, hosted representatives from the Anhui Medical University, China, at SMU, where a Letter of Intent was signed between the two institutions. This was meant to explore the possibilities for collaboration and cooperative projects between the two institutions.

Anhui Medical University (AHMU) is one of the earliest institutions of higher education and the first medical university in the Anhui province, China. The University was founded in Shanghai in 1926 as the Southeast Medical University. In 1952, it moved to Hefei and changed its name to Anhui Medical College. It is considered to be a pioneer, incubator and pacesetter of higher medical education and health care in the Anhui province.

AHMU has established extensive cooperation and exchanges with universities in 16 countries and regions across the world. These involve exchange of experts, scholars, students, knowledge and scientific research. Anhui’s engagement with SMU is part of their collaborative efforts which perfectly aligns with the SMUs strategic intent on internationalisation.

In his address, the Education Counselor, Mr. Xudong LI, from the People’s Republic of China South African Embassy indicated that 2023 marks the 25th anniversary of the South Africa-China bilateral relations, cemented by the fact that both countries are partners within BRICS. In this context, this engagement is seen as another way through which the relationship between the two countries could be cemented.

Prof. Gu Jiashan, Chair of the University Council and current University President, further indicated that AHMU has produced world renown health practitioners, has expertise which could of immense benefit to the collaboration, indicating that the opportunities which have become available must be fully explored.

In acknowledging the number of international students at AHMU, Prof Huang Huaxing, AHMU’s Chair of the Council of School of International Education, indicated that the University organizes festivals and cultural events for international students, which exposes Chinese students to other international cultures and vice versa.

In his address, the SMU Vice Chancellor, Prof. Peter Mbati indicated that SMU is the only dedicated health sciences education institution in Southern Africa and has ramped up its research efforts which are driven through the following research units and centres: the Diarrhoeal Pathogens Research Unit, South African Vaccination and Immunisation Centre (SAVIC), MeCRU Clinical Research Unit (MeCRU), HPV and STIs Training Centre for Africa, SMU Minimal Invasive Surgery Unit, HIV-1 Resistance and Molecular Lab, Electron Microscope Unit, and the Centre for Entrepreneurship Rapid Incuba_on (CfERI).

In charting the way forward, both institutions expressed appreciation of the fact that they are both unique health sciences institutions with the potential to increase their influence in the health education space internationally.

Prof Hyla Kluyts awarded NRF C1 Rating and is passionate about Anaesthesiology

Prof Hyla Kluyts awarded NRF C1 Rating and is passionate about Anaesthesiology

Prof Hyla Kluyts is the Head of Department of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University and directs anaesthesia services at the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital. She is an anaesthesiologist with a passion for understanding and addressing the barriers to accessing safe quality affordable perioperative care in the South African and African context.

Her research interest therefore aligns with the broader agenda of Global Surgery research and its implementation in education, clinical perioperative care, and surgical systems strengthening. Having spent 7 years in a private anaesthesia partnership practice, then returning to the academic sector, she has a fair grasp of the challenges faced in both the private and public healthcare sectors.

International collaboration and engagement have broadened her view of the local situation in the context of global health-care. She completed her doctoral degree in Anaesthesiology at the University of Pretoria on the topic of clinical risk prediction in surgical patients. She is the founder and executive director of a non-profit company and PBO, Safe Surgery SA (SSSA), that promotes the clinical use of perioperative healthcare data and offers research support to the African Perioperative Research Group (APORG). She is a member of the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists Safety & Quality of Practice committee and an honorary life member of the SA Society of Anaesthesiologists.

She is a consultant to the Clinical Services Unit of CareCon-nectHIE, the first non-profit Health Information Exchange in South Africa.

She is married with two daughters.

Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University to collaborate with Wenzhou Medical University, China

Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University to collaborate with Wenzhou Medical University, China

Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University’s renewed strategic intent to be a leader in health education, health services, research and innovation that contributes to the advancement of human health, is contingent on leveraging on partnerships, linkages and internationalization.

In support of this objective, coupled with a focus on expanding the University’s global footprint, the Office of the Vice-Chancellor invited the People’s Republic of China’s South African Embassy representatives to visit the University in July 2022. The Chinese delegation to SMU was led by Mr. Long SHEN and the second Secretary for Science and Technology, Mr. Wei XIE. It was during these initial discussions that the highly ranked Wenzhou Medical University (WMU) was identified as the partner of choice for collaboration with SMU.

The initial engagements with WMU, which commenced in July 2022, led to the introduction of an Ophthalmology and Optometry Advanced training programme for staff and students. As part of this programme, that took place in October 2022, 15 experienced academics from both institutions had an opportunity to share their insights during the lectures, with over 30 South African clinicians having attended the programme.

The successful hosting of this specialist training programme highlighted the compatibility of the two institutions as dedicated health sciences universities, and the mutually beneficial skills and knowledge that could be shared between them. Against the backdrop of these initial engagements, on 10 May 2023 the President of WMU, Prof. Lyu Yijun and the SMU Vice Chancellor, Prof. Peter Mbati signed an MoU to formalize collaboration between the two sister universities.

Whilst recognizing that this MoU sets out a broad frame-work on matters that both institutions intend to pursue and collaborate their efforts, the following are the main objectives of the MoU:

  • To provide a broad framework within which the two institutions can develop and undertake collaborative projects in areas of common interests in, amongst others, research, teaching and learning or other mutually agreed initiatives.
  • To promote cooperation in teaching, learning and research through an international exchange of students and staff.

In his address at the signing of the MoU, the WMU Chancellor, Prof. Lyu Yijun reflected on the initial engagements between the two institutions pointing to the fact that the success of the Ophthalmology and Optometry Advanced training programme was a good start to the collaboration, which led to the signing of the MoU. He further highlighted the following key aspects:

  • The Wenzhou Medical University, jointly established by the Ministry of Education, the National Health Commission and Zhejiang Provincial Government, is one of the Priority Development Universities in the Zhejiang Province. In the past three years, the University has steadily developed and improved on the quality of its educational provision. Their nine disciplines have entered the top 1% of ESI global rankings. The University has also established national key laboratories, National Engineering Research Center and several high-tech innovation platforms; recruiting high-level talents such as academicians, “outstanding youth”, and Yangtze River scholars. WMU is among the top 100 universities in China in the Wushulian domestic University ranking, and ranks among the top 8 medical universities in the 2022 Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. With 5 affiliated hospitals, WMU enjoys abundant clinical resources, with the annual outpatient number exceeding 10 million.
  • The signing of the MoU marks a new page of cooperation between WMU and SMU. Wenzhou Medical University will fully leverage our strength in medical education, research and healthcare to work closely with SMU and carry out multi-level collaboration in student and faculty exchange, joint research and publication, academic exchange and etc., setting an excellent example of China-South Africa collaboration in medicine and education as well as promoting the development of medicine in the two countries.

In his response, the SMU Vice Chancellor, Prof. Peter Mbati expressed appreciation for the Wenzhou Medical University’s willingness to enter into a partnership with SMU and further highlighted the following:

  • The two countries are friendly allies who cooperate, economically, as part of BRICS. This cooperation also lends itself to opportunities for collaboration in other sectors, such as higher education.
  • As the only purely health sciences university in Southern Africa, fit-for-purpose and mutually beneficial partnerships are important to SMU academically, but also for expanding our University’s global footprint. In this context, this partnership between SMU and WMU will allow for knowledge and skills exchange, student and staff mobility, training of academics as well as executive management, collaborative research opportunities and virtual student and staff exchange.
  • Being a niche university, research and innovation is extremely important for SMU which conducts research housed in various units: the Diarrhoeal Pathogens Research Unit, a designated World Health Organisation Regional Rotavirus Reference Laboratory and Collaborating Centre; the South African Vaccination and Immunisation Centre; MeCRU Clinical Research Unit; the HPV and STIs Training Centre for Africa; the SMU Minimal Invasive Surgery Unit; the HIV-1 Resistance and Molecular Lab; the Electron Microscope Unit; the HIV and Hepatitis Research Unit, who recently added a new niche area in the field of genetic diversity of coronaviruses; and the Centre for Entrepreneurship Rapid Incubation. Prof. Mbati concluded his remarks by stating that SMU views this partnership with WMU as a mutually beneficial collaboration which enables the sharing of knowledge between the two institutions, leveraging on each institution’s strength.

In support of the signing of the MoU, Dr Prudence Makhura, Director: International Grants and Collaborative Initiatives at the National Research Foundation (NRF) stated that…

“The National Research Foundation (NRF) is in support of the MoU between Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University and the Wenzhou Medical University in China, especially, given the importance of China to South Africa, not only on a bilateral level but also as a member of BRICS. Health research is one of our strategic thematic research areas with our Chinese partners. We therefore, look forward to receiving research proposals between the two institutions when the SA-China Research Call (and the BRICS multilateral call) opens later in the year”.

Prof Kebogile Mokwena – awarded C2 NRF Rating

Prof Kebogile Mokwena – awarded C2 NRF Rating

Prof Mokwena is the first and only NRF Research Chair at SMU, and her research portfolio hasshone brighter in the past few years. She obtained the MSc (Physiotherapy) from MEDUNSA and later received a scholarship for doctoral studies in the USA, where she obtained the Doctor of Education (Health Education Administration) degree from the University of South Carolina in Columbia. She came back home and was appointed the founding HOD of the Department of Social and Behavioural Health Sciences within the then National School of Public Health.

Her interest in mental health was triggered by an MPH student she supervised, who was screening for postnatal depression in Tshwane. She later developed a proposal in that area and was later awarded a grant by the South African Medical Research Council which she used to expand her research in postnatal depression in various provinces. Towards the end of 2009, nyaope (a concoction of various substances) use was getting the interest of media publications, which caught her attention as well as her interest as a social and behavioural scientist. She was given a small seed grant by the University, which she used to conduct the initial qualitative studies among nyaope users in Ga-Rankuwa, Soshanguve, Nkangala and Mabopane.

As her work was established and her publications in this area increased, she was awarded a 3 year grant for adolescent mental health and substance abuse, which was extended to 6 years, by the South African Medical Research Council. At this time, the two research areas of substance abuse and mental health were coming together as a niche area, which prompted her to put together an NRF Research Chair proposal on substance abuse and population mental health, which was awarded in 2018, thus becoming the first NRF Research Chair at SMU. In 2022 the 5-year prestigious grant was renewed for a further 5 years (2023 to 2027). Prof Mokwena continues to provide research leadership at SMU, as evidenced by collaboration with other researchers and supervision of students within and outside of Public Health. Her collaborations include researchers at UJ, UCT, WSU, UFS and the SAMRC.

In 2022 she co-ordinated a special edition of a journal, and provided leadership in encouraging academics to write and submit publications. “My advice to postgrad students is that they should have a publication in mind even as they develop a proposal. My current doctoral students conduct studies in various focus areas of mental health, including bullying in schools, parental stress of people who are raising children with disabilities, childhood trauma and burden of care of family caregivers of mental health care users”, said Prof Mokwena. Her current major research projects include several clinical studies on the health impact of nyaope, undiagnosed depression and anxiety among groups of people, and a national study to screen for postnatal depression among clinic attendees. She has built a strong research team which she credits with being integral to her research success.

She received 3 research excellence awards from SMU at the end of the 2022 academic year and has now added a C2 rating by the NRF to her recent achievements.

Prof Larry Obi is a C1 NRF rated researcher and a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) – (Re-rating)

Prof Larry Obi is a C1 NRF rated researcher and a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) – (Re-rating)

Prof Larry Obi holds a terminal PhD degree in Medical Microbiology, obtained at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Nigeria. He has taught in different Universities in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, South Africa and served as visiting Professor to the Medical School, Makerere University, Uganda; Medical School, University of Malawi, Malawi and Medical School, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan.

Throughout his career, he served at all levels of academia: Head of Department of Microbiology in two Nigerian Universities; founding Head of Department of Microbiology, University of Venda; Deputy Dean, School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and later Acting Executive Dean, Faculty of Natural, Environmental and Integrated Studies, University of Venda; Director, School of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of South Africa. He also served as Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs and Research in two South African Universities, Walter Sisulu University and the University of Fort Hare. He, at various times, acted as Vice Chancellor in both Universities.

Prof Obi has supervised several postgraduate students, presented scientific papers at local and international conferences and published extensively in numerous journals with more than 100 publications to his name. He served on the board of the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP) and the Board of the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS). He is a member of the Specialist Committee of the National Research Foundation Rating Panel for Health Sciences, Specialist Committee for the FLAIR International Post-doctoral Fellowship Programme under the aegis of the African Academy of Sciences, Kenya and the Royal Society, United Kingdom. He is also a member of the Membership Advisory Committee (MAC), Health Sciences, Life Sciences and Agricultural Sciences of the Academy of Science of South Africa.

His academic pedigree is further exemplified by being the Principal and Country Investigator of a project on Family Planning in the context of HIV/AIDS, Principal Investigator of the Socio-economic impact of HIV/AIDS in South Africa, funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AuSAID), World Health Organization (WHO) Expert Committee Member on Campylobacters and Campylobacteriosis, among others. Principal Researcher. Pathogenic and Molecular profiles of Aeromonas, Funded by the National Research Foundation, 2008 -2011.

He also worked on numerous projects such as the following:

  • Principal Researcher: Key Medico-epidemiological issues in tackling the scourge of HIV/AIDS. Collaborative Project with Tohoku University, Japan, Funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF), South Africa and the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science. 2009.
  • Principal Researcher: Microbiology of Cosmetic and Medicinal Clays. Funded by Walter Sisulu University, 2009.
  • Principal Researcher: Antibacterial activities of medicinal plants against selected pathogenic bacteria. Funded by Walter Sisulu University, 2009.
  • Co-Principal Researcher: The possible role of Osteopontin and South African Medicinal plants in the management of HIV/AIDS ARV naïve patients and those on HAART. Collaborative Project with Tohoku University, Japan. Funded by the National Research Foundation, South Africa. 2010.
  • Principal Researcher: Bactericidal Activities of Honey and propolis against enter pathogenic bacteria isolated from food and water samples in Limpopo and Eastern Cape Provinces. Funded by Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, South Africa, 2010.
  • Principal Researcher: Molecular landscape, antibiograms and antibacterial activities of selected medicinal plants against some enteric pathogens. Funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) of South Africa, 2010.
  • Principal Researcher: National Lotteries Research Grant Award, 2011.
  • Principal Researcher: National Research Foundation Research Grant Award on Community Engagement, 2011.
  • Principal Researcher: National Research Foundation (NRF) Grant on a Collaborative Project between South Africa and Namibia, 2012-2014.
  • Principal Researcher: National Research Foundation (NRF) Grant on Incentives for Rated Researchers 2012-2016.
  • Principal Researcher: Competitive Programme for Rated Researchers research Grant, 2015-2017.
  • Principal Researcher: Indigenous Knowledge Research Grant, National Research Foundation, 2016-2018.