The Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM) hosted the award ceremony for the annual Postgraduate Student Publication Competition this week. The applications were judged by representatives of the International Scientific Advisory Committee (ISAC).
The review happened over the 18th and 19th of November. The full programme featured brief presentations from member groups showcasing the work conducted at the Institute. There was also an opportunity for postgraduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and the members of the IDM to meet with the ISAC.
The second day of the review featured the Postgraduate Student Publication Competition Award Ceremony. The entrees of which were reviewed by Emeritus Professor Wieland Gevers, together with Professor Lynn Morris and Dr Charles Rotimi (ISAC members). Eighteen eligible submissions were received.
Greg Hussey (previous IDM Director), Siamon Gordon (ISAC Chair), Val Mizrahi (current
IDM Director), Wieland Gevers (first interim Director at the IDM).
Gevers, the first Interim Director at the IDM, spoke to the quality of researcher that has walked the passages of the Institute since it became a University Research Committee (URC) accredited entity in 2004. He had this to say of the publications: “Reading the article publications is one of the greatest pleasures I’ve had in a while. The quality, the appropriateness, the relevance – it was all international-level work. I also learnt some new things. It was a bolster dose of knowledge.”
Reminiscing about the IDM’s history Emeritus Professor Siamon Gordon (ISAC Chair) admits that some people thought that creating the Institute was a crazy idea. And they weren’t wrong – getting it off the ground wasn’t a big task. He says, “I’ve been on the board of ISAC for a long time. I’ve seen the change under the different leadership of Greg (Hussey) and Val (Mizrahi). I have a paternal feeling when it comes to this place because of the many researchers who I worked with, and those who came from my lab. They’ve all done so well. It’s very impressive to see.”
The two competition categories were separated into Review Articles and Original Research. The former was won by Timothy de Wet who attributed his success to his research group: “I couldn’t have done this without the support of Val. MMRU (SAMRC/NHLS/UCT Molecular Mycobacteriology Research Unit) has been a really supportive environment.” The latter accolade was awarded to Charlotte Schutz: “I’m completely humbled. We were competing against really great papers.”
Of Schutz’ win, competition judge Morris scored her paper highly as well “because of the scope of the study, and because it has direct implications.” She adds, “We received very high quality and relevant work.”
The IDM is reviewed, every couple of years by a panel comprised of leading scientists from around the world who make up the ISAC. The members who were in attendance this year included Professors Siamon Gordon, David Russel, Lynn Morris, Dr Ken Duncan, and Sir Thomas Blundell.
The ISAC will be submitting a report to the URC and Governing Board of the IDM. And the key findings and recommendations be shared with the IDM community.
And the winners are
Some winners from the Postgraduate Student Publication Award Ceremony; Tim de Wet,
Ramadhani Chambuso, Alisha Chetty, Neelakshi Mungra, Melissa Blumenthal
For the Review Article
Third Prize – Seanantha Baros for Mass Spectrometry-based Phosphoproteomics Approaches Disclose Novel Substrates of Mycobacterial Ser/Thr Kinases
Second Prize – Neelakshi Mungra for Targeted human cytolytic fusion proteins at the cutting edge: harnessing the apoptosis-inducing properties of human enzymes for the selective elimination of tumor cells
First Prize – Timothy de Wet for Harnessing Biological Insight to Accelerate Tuberculosis Drug Discovery
For Original Research
Fifth Prize – Ramadhani Chambuso for Cervical Tumour Biopsy DNA Shows More Frequency Of Chromosomal Loss Of Heterozygosity (LOH) And Microsatellite Instability (MSI) At The HLA II Locus In HIV/HPV Co-Infected Women Than In HIV Seronegative Women in South Africa
Fourth Prize – Miguel Rodo for A comparison of antigen-specific T cell responses induced by six novel tuberculosis vaccine candidates
Third Prize – Melissa Blumenthal for The Contribution of Kaposi’s Sarcoma–Associated Herpesvirus to Mortality in Hospitalized Human Immunodeficiency Virus–Infected Patients Being Investigated for Tuberculosis in South Africa
Second Prize – Alisha Chetty for Pre-conception maternal helminth infection transfers via nursing long-lasting cellular immunity against helminths to offspring
First Prize – Charlotte Schutz for Clinical, microbiologic, and immunologic determinants of mortality in hospitalized patients with HIV-associated tuberculosis: A prospective cohort study