SAMRC to honour distinguished scientists at a 50th Gala Event

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SAMRC to honour distinguished scientists at a 50th Gala Event

SAMRC 50th GALA Event – 07 November 2019 – CSIR Convention Centre, Pretoria

Cape Town | The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) will tonight honour outstanding medical scientists whose work has made an indelible impact in South African science and health research. The event coinciding with the 50th Anniversary, includes Anniversary Seminars covering topics from gender based violence, research in the next 50 years to Universal Health Coverage. The event is held on Thursday, 7 November at the CSIR Convention Centre in Pretoria, Gauteng.

Now in their sixth consecutive year, the awards are an established set of medals with categories including: Silver; Gold and Platinum and a special President’s Award. Platinum Medals are awarded to scientists who have achieved a lifetime of exemplary and outstanding endeavours in the field of health – past recipients include the late Professor Bongani Mayosi, Professors Valerie Mizrahi, Salim Abdool Karim, Dan Stein, Gregory Hussey, Robin Wood, Shabir Madhi, Eric Bateman, Maureen Coetzee and Professor Charles Feldman.

Gold Medals are awarded to researchers who have made substantial and influential contributions that have impacted on health especially in the developing world. Previous recipients include internationally renowned scientists such as Profs Rachel Jewkes, Quarraisha Abdool Karim, Soraya Seedat and Charles Parry. Our Silver medalists are for emerging and upcoming scientists and those committed to capacity development and have included prominent scientists such as Profs Penny Moore, Sithembiso Velaphi, Eunice Seekoe and Alan Christoffels.

The SAMRC also confers awards to scientists who have made exceptional lifelong contributions to medical research and public health. Presidential awards have been awarded to illustrious science leaders who have made global impact such as Professors Zena Stein, Jimmy Volmink, Carl Lombard, Linda Richter, Anthony Fauci, Hoosen Jerry Coovadia, Paul Van Helden, Lucille Blumberg and former SAMRC President Professor Malegapuru William Makgoba.

This year, Prof Ephraim Thibedi Mokgokong, former Vice Chancellor and Principal of the then Medical University of South Africa (MEDUNSA) and a distinguished Gynaecologist and Obstetrician is one of the recipients. Prof Mokgokong’s name resonates with many health professionals in South Africa due to his years of making an indelible footprint in public health – both in academia, research and the public sector.

Another award the SAMRC is also proud to bestow, is to one of the SAMRC’s most imminent scientists, Prof Debbie Bradshaw who has led the articulation of the Burden of Disease in South Africa and together with Professor Makgoba, demonstrated the evidence that people were dying of HIV/AIDS at the height of government AIDS denialism.

SAMRC President and CEO, Prof Glenda Gray says: “The SAMRC is honoured to celebrate these exceptional South Africans who have done our country proud.”


Awardees in all categories of the SAMRC Scientific Merit Awards were identified through an open public nomination process.

To view the 2019 Awards (current winners), click here

Media Queries:
Dumile Mlambo
Public Relations Manager

Tel: +27 78 313 5798
E-mail: [email protected] Release date: Thursday, November 7, 2019 – 11:04

Platinum Awards: Prof Keertan Dheda
Professor Keertan Dheda is Head of both the Centre for Lung Infection and Immunity – UCT Lung Institute and the Division of Pulmonology at the University of Cape Town. Dheda has a long-standing relationship with the South African medical Research Council having received the SAMRC career development award in 2007 and he has also been the principal investigator on several multi-million-rand grants awarded by the SAMRC. He is no stranger to the SAMRC Scientific Merit Awards – in 2013 he was the winner of the Gold Scientific Achievement award. To add the cherry on top, he recently got appointed as Director of SAMRC/UCT Centre for the Study of Antimicrobial Resistance Research Unit – one of the SAMRC’s new seven Extramural Research Units launched early this year. An NRF A – Rated scientist, Dheda’s his contribution to science is described within the context of two of his major research focus areas: Diagnosis of TB and Molecular epidemiology and management of drug-resistant TB. He has published over 280 manuscripts in PubMed-listed international peer reviewed journals, with over 40 of them being citation classics (more than 100 citations) including 4 first or senior author original publications in The Lancet. Over the years, his work has never gone unrecognized – he has been the recipient of several prestigious awards including the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease Scientific Award; the 2018 European Union-funded EDCTP Scientific Leadership Award and South African Clinician Society Scientific Health Excellence Award, to mention a few. He serves on several national and international academic and advisory bodies and editorial board of journals such as the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Medicine and Lancet Respiratory Diseases amongst others. He holds 5 patents related to new TB control technologies. Some of his many international recognition includes being Professor of Mycobacteriology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the UK; a Visiting Professor at University College London, and he is the immediate past president of the South African Thoracic Society.