UCT researchers shine at NSTF awards

29 May 2008 | Story by Helen Théron

Mosibudi Mangena, UCT's Prof Johann Lutjeharms and Dr Phil Mjwara
(From left) Minister of Science and Technology Mosibudi Mangena, UCT's Prof Johann Lutjeharms, and Dr Phil Mjwara of the Department of Science and Technology

UCT's Professor Johann Lutjeharms of UCT's Department of Oceanography walked off with the Individual Over a Lifetime award at the 10th National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) ceremony on Tuesday night.

He is UCT's fifth consecutive award winner in this category.

Dr Virna Leaner of the Division of Clinical Laboratory Sciences collected the Distinguished Young Black Researcher award. Professor Dan Stein was UCT's third finalist.

Lutjeharms' award recognised his dedicated and innovative research on oceans and how they affect our weather and climate.

"The effect of changes in the physical environment, including climate change and environmental degradation on the well-being of the South African people is being increasingly recognised and he has provided decision makers with knowledge to inform their activities. He was one of the pioneers of the use of satellite remote sensing techniques in combination with in situ observations."

Leaner's citation pays tribute to her widely published research, which addresses the molecular biology underlying the development of cancer, particularly cervical cancer, one of the major diseases affecting South African women.

"The main objective of her work is to characterise markers of cervical cancer and the role of transcriptional regulation in the development of the disease."

The awards were presented by the Minister of Science and Technology, Mosibudi Mangena.

Mosibudi Mangena, Dr Virna Leaner, and Dr Romila Maharaj
(From left) Minister of Science and Technology Mosibudi Mangena, UCT winner Dr Virna Leaner, and Dr Romila Maharaj of the National Research Foundation

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