New award to encourage young medical scientists

28 July 2010 | Story by Newsroom

AttendeesAttending the Best Publications Awards ceremony for young researchers were (from left) Prof Dave Beatty, Prof Greg Hussey, Dr Susan Cleary, Nazma Mansoor, Dr Graeme Meintjies, Dr Thomas Scriba, Emer Prof Wieland Gevers and Prof Marian Jacobs.

Young medical researchers were honoured for their outstanding output at the first Best Publication Awards held by UCT's School of Medicine on 26 July.

Opening the ceremony, deputy dean Professor Greg Hussey said that he hoped the awards would become a regular event, and will encourage and retain young researchers at the faculty.

"We have many researchers out there, but we don't always know what they're doing," said Hussey. "We need to develop strategies to recognise their work, and keep them with us."

Guest speaker at the event was former UCT deputy vice-chancellor, Professor Wieland Gevers, spoke on the need for consilience, meaning the unity of knowledge, in approaching medical research.

"There are almost no new ideas under the sun, so researchers can't be too focused in their readings. They should be more open minded and read around their topic to generate new ideas."

Gevers also advised young researchers to avoid predicting their futures.

"You have no idea what the next ten years will bring, so you should never dwell on the idea that you won't be able to make an enormous contribution to science.

"But," he added, "it's vitally important to remember that great effort is essential in creating new opportunities."

The 21 entries were divided into three categories, namely basic, public health and clinical sciences.

Winner of the public health science category was Rory Leisegang for his paper, Early and Late Direct Costs in a Southern African Antiretroviral Treatment Programme: A retrospective cohort analysis.

Taking the clinical science award was Dr Graeme Meintjies for his work, titled Novel Relationship Between Tuberculosis Immune Reconstruction Inflammatory Syndrome and Antitubercular Drug Resistence.

The basic science award was jointly won by Nazma Mansoor and Dr Thomas Scriba for their paper, HIV-1 Infection in Infants Severely Impairs the Immune Response Induced by Bacille Calmette- Guérin Vaccine.

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