Dr Pradeep Kumar
Ms Shirona Patel
Prof Christiaan de Jager
Dr Pradeep Kumar
Dr Pradeep Kumar, PhD, is an internationally trained pharmacist, a Senior Lecturer of Pharmaceutics at the Wits’ Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, and a Senior Researcher at the Wits Advanced Drug Delivery Platform (WADDP). Pradeep’s doctoral thesis was focused on engineering neural devices for spinal cord injury interventions and was awarded the Most Prestigious PhD Degree Award for his research. In addition, he has established a first-in-the-world computational analysis and programming algorithm for the design of drug delivery devices and polymeric architectures. For the advancement of his discipline, Pradeep was awarded the prestigious Claude Leon Foundation Merit Award (2018), ASRT Young African Researcher Award (2018), an AGNES’ Junior Researcher Grant funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (2018) and was inducted as a member of the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS). Earlier this year, Dr Kumar received the SPER Young Scientist Award at PST2018, Bangkok. Pradeep has proudly presented his research at reputed international conferences across the globe (USA, France, Spain, Australia, Denmark, Canada, Thailand, and India) and is the recipient of Elsevier’s NanoToday (2011) and International Society of Developmental Neuroscience (2012) Awards. Pradeep, an inventor on 10 granted and 11 filed patents, received Wits Innovators Forum’s First-time (2013), Prolific (2014) and International (2016) Inventor Awards for his contributions to innovation in pharmaceuticals (such as a paediatric wafer). Dr Kumar has contributed to over 200 high-impact publications, 4 editorials, 2 edited books, 30 book chapters and 110 scientific presentations (H-index: 26). Dr Kumar has graduated 7 PhD students and currently supervising 6 doctoral projects. In 2018, he featured among the 2018 Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans (Category: Science and Technology).
Ms Shirona Patel
Shirona Patel is curious about the world and is passionate about working with smart academics and students to make research and science accessible and understandable to multiple publics. From telling the stories of dung beetles and pre-historic fossils to sharing new knowledge about the stars or HIV/AIDS, she enjoys piquing the interest of ordinary people through new creative technologies like video, animation and virtual reality.
As the Head of Communications at the University of the Witwatersrand, she works with researchers in all areas of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. The commissioning editor of a magazine and digizine called Curios.ty, she encourages everyone to always ask questions.
She serves as the Communications Manager in the Office of the Vice-Principal at Wits and is a full member of Senate and the Senior Management Group.
Shirona has also worked for several global clients in the education, healthcare and finance sectors, across Africa. She edited many publications, including a magazine called Lesea at the age of 22 and worked in community radio for five years (part-time). She was elected as an ambassador for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s Africa online community in 2016.
Prof Christiaan de Jager
Prof Christiaan de Jager is the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, professor in Environmental Health, Extraordinary Lecturer in Andrology, and Director of the University of Pretoria Institute for Sustainable Malaria Control (UP ISMC) at the University of Pretoria (UP), South Africa. He has a PhD in Reproductive Biology. Prof de Jager’s research interests include endocrine disrupting chemicals, public health, reproductive toxicology, and environmental health with a special interest in malaria. As an internationally recognised researcher, he is often approached to give his opinion on the health effects of DDT. His recommendations have informed international and national policies on water management and sustainable malaria control. Prof de Jager serves on the South African Malaria Elimination Committee (SAMEC), is involved in malaria outreach programmes and regularly engages with communities. Under his directorship, the UP ISMC was awarded a South African Medical Research Council (MRC) Collaborating Centre for Malaria Research and a SARChI Chair in Sustainable Malaria Control. The Institute also won a NSTF-South 32 award for Communication for outreach and creating awareness of SET and innovation. Prof de Jager reviews for several international journals, funding bodies and scientific committees. He has been invited as guest or plenary speaker and also session chair to several international scientific conferences. Prof de Jager is dedicated to building research capacity and promoting science in Africa. He supervises several MSc, MPH, MMed and PhD students in his research programme and has successfully graduated several post-graduate students. Prof de Jager has published more than 50 scientific papers in international Journals.
Sthabile Mazubane is a media and communications professional, with experience on working in radio she is passionate about young people positively transforming their lives through the creative and responsible application of mass media.
She holds a degree in Management and Communications from the University of KwaZulu Natal. She had trained many young scientists in public speaking and working with the media, specifically in developing strong creative and communication skills.
She was recently in the Top 15 of Mzansi Magic’s Our Perfect Wedding Presenter search where the experience offered her a practical understanding of working with Television both on and off screen.
FameLab is one of the foremost science communication competitions in the world, now running in over 30 countries and originally initiated by the Cheltenham Science Festival in the UK. In South Africa, FameLab is made possible by a partnership between the British Council, the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement and Jive Media Africa. Its core focus is to develop communication skills, but it also provides a platform to share stories about world-class South African research. FameLab has created a vibrant network of young scientists engaging diverse audiences, and also engaging with each other, broadening their views of what it means to be working in science. FameLab is proud to partner with SFSA to showcase inspiring young scientists making a difference to South African society. Participants have 3 minutes to present their research in a clear and charismatic way.