New inductees to the College of Fellows

25 October 2022 | Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng

Dear colleagues and students

Every year the University of Cape Town (UCT) recognises permanent academic staff members for original and distinguished academic work that is deserving of special acknowledgement.

Induction into the UCT College of Fellows is one of the highest accolades an academic staff member can receive. The fellowship is a reward to academic staff members for their years of commitment and dedication to their work.

This year, four academics will be inducted into the prestigious UCT College of Fellows. The new recognised fellows are:

Professor Nicholas Biekpe (UCT Graduate School of Business)

Professor Biekpe established the Development Finance Centre (DEFIC) at UCT. DEFIC is well regarded throughout Africa and beyond. He also launched the Master of Commerce in Development Finance and the Postgraduate Diploma in Development Finance. He has published extensively in the area of development finance, and his most notable contribution was the development of the highly used and cited Bilinear Generalised Autoregressive Conditional Heteroskedasticity (BGARCH) model. This model has been extensively used globally to measure financial and other risks.

Professor Anthony Figaji (Neurosurgery, Faculty of Health Sciences)

Professor Figaji leads a rapidly growing, diverse, translational and multidisciplinary research team whose goal is to elucidate the mechanisms of acute brain injury in a range of conditions that cause disability and death in children, with a strong emphasis on the implications for clinical care and improved treatment paradigms. His work exemplifies this translational bench-to-bedside approach to research and has focused on two common and devastating conditions that affect children in South Africa: traumatic brain injury and meningitis (in particular, tuberculous meningitis). These two conditions contribute significantly to the global burden of disease.

Professor Ernesta Meintjes (Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences)

Professor Meintjes is the South African Research Chair in brain imaging and professor of biomedical engineering in the Department of Human Biology. With her training in nuclear magnetic resonance and pulse sequence programming, Professor Meintjes performed the first functional magnetic resonance imaging studies in South Africa. She has investigated the effects of early life insults – such as maternal drinking during pregnancy, and the human immunodeficiency virus – on brain development. This has been with a view to improving management strategies and evaluating target interventions.

Professor Sharon Prince (Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences)

A professor of cell biology, Prince is the head of the Department of Human Biology. She is an internationally renowned researcher in the field of cancer biology, where she has made significant contributions to the understanding of the role and regulation of the developmentally crucial T-box transcription factors, TBX2 and TBX3, in cancer. She is well recognised nationally and internationally as a leader in the field of T-box transcription factors and their role in cancer aetiology.

I am also pleased to announce the five colleagues who are the College of Fellows Young Researcher Awardees for 2022:

Dr Faisal Garba Muhammed (Sociology, Faculty of Humanities)

Dr Garba Muhammed leads the Migration and Mobility Hub at UCT and serves as the South Africa principal investigator of the world’s biggest migration project – the South–South Migration, Development, and Inequality (MIDEQ) project. His research is broadly around the sociology of Africa, with a focus on migration and mobility, Afro-Asian social formations, inequality, labour studies and working-class movements. His work is guided by a set of perspectives informed by his location while thinking about global questions.

Dr Katye Altieri (Oceanography, Faculty of Science)

Dr Altieri is the co-director of the UCT Marine Biogeochemistry Laboratory. Her current research interests include air pollution in coastal cities, the impact of human activities on surface ocean biogeochemistry, and studying the remote marine atmosphere of the Southern Ocean as a proxy to understand more about atmospheric chemistry and climate during the preindustrial.

Dr Liza Cirolia (School of Architecture, Planning & Geomatics, Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment)

Dr Cirolia is a senior researcher at UCT’s African Centre for Cities (ACC). For her first four years, she led ACC’s portfolio on land and housing, working closely with the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements and the City of Cape Town. Her research sought to interoperate between the technical and the political, translating political claims into technical discourse and showing the implicit politics embedded in highly technical instruments and programmes.

Dr Jeffrey Murray (School of Languages & Literature, Faculty of Humanities)

Dr Murray is a senior lecturer in classics in the School of Languages and Literatures. His current research focuses on the intellectual history of South Africa from the 18th century onwards, particularly in relation to the history of classical scholarship and education. Apart from several articles already published, he is working on a second monograph, tentatively titled Classics in Natal, 1843–2000.

Dr Tshepo Mosaka (Public Law, Faculty of Law)

Dr Mosaka specialises in the Law of Evidence, Legal Coloniality and Criminal Jurisprudence. Since joining UCT in July 2020, he has published 11 peer-reviewed articles – all within 18 months – earning him a Research Incentive award as an active researcher in the Faculty of Law. His first book (co-authored with Pamela-Jane Schwikkard), Principles of Evidence (5th edition), will be out in January 2023.

  • View the full citations for the new College of Fellows members and Young Researcher Award recipients on the feature page.

Please join me in congratulating the new fellows and young researcher awardees for their significant achievements.


Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

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