News wrap-up

17 December 2008

UCT's Brain and Behaviour Initiative hosted the annual Cross-University Brain & Behaviour Initiative (CUBBI) symposium at Valkenberg Hospital on 28 November. CUBBI, which currently focuses on the study of the brain and its response to trauma, aims to establish a collaboration between researchers and departments across universities. The topic of this year's symposium was Novel Approaches to Neuroimagining of Behaviour: an update. Founding CUBBI researcher Professor Jack van Honk, of the Helmholtz Research Institute at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, delivered a keynote talk at the event.

Speaking at the opening of a mini symposium of Wellcome Trust-supported research in the faculty, Professor Marian Jacobs, dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, praised the organisation for taking steps to ensure equitable funding, support and capacity building for the developing South. The symposium, held under the umbrella of the UCT Clinical Infectious Disease Research Initiative, led by principal investigator Prof Robert Wilkinson, was hosted by UCT's Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IIDMM). Earlier, a group of Wellcome Trust and UCT guests attended the opening of an extension to the Ubuntu Clinic in Khayelitsha.

Oceanographers from UCT and the Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissenschaften (IFM) in Kiel, Germany, have discovered that processes in the Agulhas Current System east and south of Africa influence changes in the Gulf Stream, the Northern Hemisphere's main current. This has important implications for climate in the Northern Hemisphere. The researchers were able to study these currents in greater detail thanks to a new computer programme. The results were published in Nature and Geophysical Research Letters. Their "unexpected and surprising" discovery showed that small fluctuations in the Agulhas Current south of the country have an influence all the way into the North Atlantic Ocean. Like the Gulf Stream, the Agulhas Current is one of the strongest currents in the world ocean. The finding has important consequences for observational programmes in the North Atlantic that attempt to determine "much feared" long-term climatic changes in the Gulf Stream system. "South Africa is located at a critical crossroad of world ocean currents that impact on climate and climate change," said UCT's Prof Johann Lutjeharms.

Rob Watermeyer, who received an award for the best body of undergraduate work at the Michaelis School of Fine Art's recent graduate exhibition, has won a prestigious Tierney Fellowship. The fellowship included a spot at the Tierney workshop in Johannesburg, which he attended with his mentors and senior lecturers in photography, Svea Josephy and Jean Brundrit. The workshop gave fellows and mentors an opportunity to discuss their work. Tierney fellowships, created in 2003 by the US-based Tierney Family Foundation to support emerging artists in the field of photography, have been awarded to selected students from prominent art schools and universities in South Africa, Mexico and the US.

Grant Willis has been appointed as the director of Student Housing & Residence Life in the Department: Student Affairs (DSA), effective December 2008. Willis has served in Student Housing as deputy director, and more recently as projects /operations manager. "Grant is widely admired for his dedication and integrity in addressing the student interest regarding student housing challenges," said Moonira Khan, DSA executive director.

UCT's School of Economics ruled this year's Economic Society of South Africa meeting, scooping gold, silver and bronze accolades. The medals are awarded to top postgraduate students in the country. Dr Shakill Hassan won a gold medal for the best doctoral thesis with his dissertation, Applications of continuous-time methods to dynamic rivalry in oligopoly; and an essay on the monetary policy response to currency crisis. The silver medal, for the best master's dissertation in partial fulfilment of the degree, went to Neryvia Pillay for her work, Theory-Consistent Formal Risk Measures: using financial market data from a middle income context. Arden Finn's thesis on The Role of Education in Labour Market Inequality in South Africa: ten-year analysis of employment and earnings changes completed the winning streak with the ABSA prize for the best honours dissertation.

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Monday Monthly

Volume 27 Edition 22

15 Dec 2008

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