Here are the 18 scientists making waves around the world who will be honoured today

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) will honour 18 researchers who have made an impact through their work both nationally and abroad. Image: Pexels

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) will honour 18 researchers who have made an impact through their work both nationally and abroad. Image: Pexels

Published Mar 6, 2023


Durban - The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) will honour 18 researchers who have made an impact through their work both nationally and abroad.

The event will take place at the CSIR International Conventional Centre in Tshwane on Monday.

Fifteen researchers have been promoted to principal researcher level, while three have been promoted to chief researcher level.

These researchers are in the health, manufacturing, biotechnology, nanotechnology and defence and security fields of study.

The 18 leading researchers are:

Dr Daniel Glaser - After obtaining his BSc in mechanical engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand in 2011, he joined the CSIR in 2015 and earned his PhD in mechanical engineering from Wits in 2017.

Glaser has led the charge on Laser Shock Processing (LSP) technology from inception in South Africa and developed three world-leading LSP facilities at the CSIR.

Dr Ntombi Mathe - After joining CSIR in 2007 on a Master’s studentship, she graduated with a Master’s degree in physics in 2010 from UCT and a Doctoral degree in chemistry in 2015 from Wits, specialising in nanotechnology and renewable energy resources.

Her current focus is additive manufacturing of aluminium, high entropy and titanium alloys for applications in rail, energy and aerospace industries.

Dr Santosh Ramchuran - with over over 25 years of experience in the biotechnology sector under his belt, Ramchuran has held numerous positions in the field.

Ramchuran has a PhD (Chemical Engineering) from Lund University, Sweden.

He joined CSIR in 2018.

Sandy Thomalla -  as a principal scientist and Research Group Leader of the Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observatory (SOCCO) at the CSIR, Thomalla focuses on the climate.

A key part of her focus is the Biological Carbon Pump and its sensitivity to climate.

Dr Jabu Mtsweni - has been the head of Information and Cybersecurity Research Centre in the Defence and Security cluster since October 2019.

He has a PhD in computer science obtained from the University of South Africa in 2013. He is a Technical Leader of the National Policy Data Observatory.

He joined CSIR in 2014.

Dr Dithoto Modungwa - She holds a PhD in electrical and electronics engineering from the University of Johannesburg and was a post-doctoral fellow at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

She is the research group leader at Landward Science Competency Area of the Defence and Security cluster, with a focus on unmanned vehicle applications for the SANDF.

Jonny Botha - a PhD student at the University of Western Cape, focusing on open source intelligence and cryptocurrency crime investigations. She has published nine international academic papers.

Dr Thanyani Pandelani - He holds a PhD in bio-engineering from Imperial College London, United Kingdom. He was formally a member of the Nato Research and Technology Organisation Research Task Groups.

His research interest is on the bio-mechanics of traumatic injury, particularly to the lower extremities and pelvis.

Dr Janine Scholefield - She was the first person to make induced pluripotent stem cells on the African continent.

She is currently working on focusing on the prediction of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) with the intention of minimising hospital admissions in South Africa.

Dr Jenny-Lee Panayides - She holds a PhD in synthetic chemistry and microbiology from Wits.

Her current focus is on the self-sufficiency of African pharmaceutical manufacturing through the localisation of modern manufacturing technologies.

Dr Maretha O’Kennedy - Dr O’Kennedy established a technology platform to genetically enhance African cereal crops.

She is also part of a highly decorated team of scientists, developing new generation safe, highly efficacious vaccines based on the latest circulating strains.

Dr Jayita Bandyopadhyay - Her focus is on nanotechnology for high-end industrial applications. She was born in India and obtained a PhD in chemical engineering at the Université Laval, Canada, in 2011.

She joined CSIR in 2018.

Dr Maya John - Dr Maya’s research has focused on the development of bio-based and compostable materials from renewable and sustainable resources.

Dr Maya’s research has received over 11,000 citations.

Dr Sudhakar Muniyasamy - He holds a PhD in chemical science from the University of Pisa in Italy.

He is a National Research Foundation-rated researcher.

Dr Vincent Ojijo - He holds a Doctorate in polymer technology, a Master’s degree in chemical engineering from the Tshwane University of Technology and an MSc in project management from the University of Pretoria.

Dr Nicholas Musyoka - He holds a PhD in chemistry and is currently finalising a Master’s degree in technology and innovation management.

He has extensive experience in hydrogen technology.

Jonas Johakimu - An expert in the field of bio-refinery, industrial pulp and paper, waste economy, and water and energy efficiency.

He joined the CSIR in 2008.

Bhavya Vallabh - An engineer in the defence, peace, safety and security research field.