ASSAf recognises six NWU scientists for excellence

Christi Cloete -- Thu, 10/22/2015 - 12:04

ASSAf recognises six NWU scientists for excellence

Several leading scientsists of the North-West University (NWU) were recognised for their excellence by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) this week.

Prof.Deon De Beer

Prof.Jeanetta du Plessis

Prof.Stefan Ferreira

Prof.Brian Harvey

Prof.Stuart Piketh

Prof.Marlien Pieters


Five of them were inaugurated as new members of ASSAf at a prestigious event in Stellenbosch. The Academy has as core function to honour the country’s most outstanding scholars by electing them to membership of the Academy.

They are Profs Deon de Beer, Jeanetta du Plessis (Director of the Centre of Excellence for Pharmaceutical Sciences), Stefan Ferreira (Director of the Centre for Space Research), Brian Harvey (Centre of Excellence for Pharmaceutical Sciences) and Stuart Piketh (Director: School of Geo and Spatial Sciences).

Another leading young scientist, Prof Marlien Pieters of the Centre of Excellence for Nutrition at the NWU, was recognised for her outstanding achievement. She received the AU-TWAS Young Scientist’s National Award for Earth and Life Sciences. This award scheme aims to recognise and award talented young scientists in Africa.

Prof Deon de Beer is the Chief Director: Technology Transfer and Innovation Support. He was formerly Executive Director: Technology Transfer and Innovation, Vaal University of Technology. He serves on several scientific editorial boards, including the SA Journal for Industrial Engineering and the Journal for New Generation Sciences. He was a finalist in the category: Research leading to Innovation for the 2014-2015 NSTF BHP Billiton Awards.

Prof Jeanetta du Plessis is the Director of Research: Centre of Excellence for Pharmaceutical Sciences and Professor of Pharmaceutics in the Unit for Drug Research and Development. She is a pharmacist who is specialising in drug delivery and her research focuses on topical and transdermal drug delivery. She has supervised more than 60 postgraduate students. She is the author/co-author of several patents, well over 60 papers in peer-reviewed journals and two chapters in a book. She serves on several scientific editorial boards including the Journal of Drug Delivery and the Journal of Global Pharma Technology. She is a founding member of the honorary editorial board of the open access journal, Research and Reports in Transdermal Drug Delivery.

Prof Stefan Ferreira is the Director of the Centre for Space Research at the NWU. The Centre is recognised by the university as one of only two centres of excellence. He is a member of the South African Institute of Physics. He has been the recipient of the NRF President’s Award, the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics Young Scientist Award and the TWAS Young Scientist Award. From July 2015, the Centre for Space Research under his leadership and the Subject Group of Physics have jointly been awarded a node of the postgraduate National Astronomy and Space Science Programme.

Prof Brian Harvey is Professor at the Centre of Excellence for Pharmaceutical Sciences. He has received the FARMOVS Prize for Pharmacology and Drug Development from the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns and has been awarded the Best Publication Award from the South African Society for Basic and Clinical Pharmacology and from the South African Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences on several occasions. He is a member of several professional societies, including the International Society for Serotonin Research and the South African Neuroscience Society. He is a Fellow of the International College for Neuro-psychopharmacology.

Prof Stuart Piketh is the Director: School of Geo and Spatial Science in Potchefstroom. Over the past decade, he has led the leading research in atmospheric science understanding of air pollution emissions, transport, and impacts. He has been instrumental in training postgraduate students in the field of atmospheric research and air pollution. He serves on the steering committee of the International Commission on Atmospheric Chemistry and Global Pollution. He was a recipient of the Friedel Sellschop Award for young scientists at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Prof Marlien Pieters is the head of the sub-programme: Nutrition and Haemostasis in the Centre of Excellence for Nutrition (CEN). Her role in this sub-programme is not only to establish a sustainable research programme for postgraduate students, but also to acquire infrastructure, equipment, international and national networks and sustainable research funding for this sub-programme. She has supervised and co-supervised eight PhD and ten MSc students and has 38 publications in international peer reviewed journals, one book chapter and 48 conference presentations of which eight were invited presentations.

Pieters has twice received a two year grant from the Sugar Association of South Africa as well as two, three year grants from the Medical Research Council. She has also obtained international funding from the Newton Fund under the Advanced Fellowship programme. She is a Co-chair of the Factor XIII and Fibrinogen Scientific and Standardisation Subcommittee of the International Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis and is also a board member of the International Fibrinogen Research Society. She is a C2-rated scientist of the National Research Foundation a member of the South African Young Academy of Sciences (SAYAS). She has lead an international task group involved in the international standardisation of methodology related to fibrin network characterisation which lead to a recent publication in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis as an official communication of the Scientific and Standardisation Committee of the International Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis.