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FMHS scientists shine at SAMRC 10th Scientific Merit Awards
Author: FMHS Marketing & Communications / FGGW Bemarking & Kommunikasie
Published: 13/03/2024

​​​​Five scientists with Stellenbosch University's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) were recently honoured at the South African Medical Research Council's (SAMRC) Scientific Merit Awards, which recognises some of the best scientific research in South Africa, particularly in health sciences.

The FMHS' Professors Mark Tomlinson, Bob Mash, Shahida Moosa, Nelita du Plessis and Dr Yoshan Moodley received gold, silver and bronze medal awards respectively.

“Celebrating medical research excellence not only honours the achievements of researchers but also inspires progress, fosters collaboration, and enhances the overall impact of scientific advancements on global health and wellbeing," SAMRC President and CEO, Prof Glenda Gray said.

In a statement the SAMRC said that these awards aim to acknowledge outstanding contributions to health research, recognise individuals who have demonstrated exceptional scientific acumen or made innovative strides in addressing public health challenges, potentially influencing policy and enhancing the well-being of the South African population.

Prof Mark Tomlinson, was the recipient of a Gold medal, which are reserved for accomplished senior scientists who have made seminal contributions that have had a profound impact on the health of people, particularly those residing in developing nations. Tomlinson is co-director of the Institute for Life Course Health Research in the Department of Global Health. His research focuses on child and adolescent development, early community-based health interventions, longitudinal intervention trials, and child, adolescent, research priority setting and maternal mental health. He has led key cohort research studies tracking the longitudinal impact of early interventions in South Africa, aimed at improving maternal and child health and child development. Watch a video of Tomlinson here:

Prof Bob Mash received a Silver medal, which are presented to scientists who have made important scientific contributions within 10 years of having been awarded their PhD or Master of Medicine (MMed). Mash is the Executive Head of the Department of Family and Emergency Medicine, and his fields of research and areas of expertise are in clinical research on diabetes, educational research, and health services research in the field of family medicine and primary health care.

Associate Professor Shahida Moosa, Dr Yoshan Moodley and Associate Professor Nelita Du Plessis were each awarded Bronze medals, which are presented to scientists who have recently entered the health research field, with no less than five years post PhD experience.  

Moosa heads the Division of Medical Genetics and runs the undiagnosed disease programme in sub-Saharan Africa, where she brings the latest technology to the genetics clinics to benefit patients and families living with rare diseases.

Moodley is a senior lecturer, epidemiologist, and public health researcher. His work focuses on epidemiology, gastrointestinal cancer, and surgical oncology. Over the past five years, Moodley has consolidated his achievements in Europe, producing an outstanding series of highly impactful research in his field of evolutionary genetics.

Du Plessis is an associate professor in immunology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences. Her work is focused on innate immunity and understanding the role of regulatory myeloid cells in host susceptibility to TB disease.

Commenting on the awards, the SAMRC Board Chairperson, Prof Johnny Mahlangu, conveyed pride and admiration for the winners.

“I am filled with profound gratitude and admiration for the remarkable achievements we have witnessed at these awards. Allow me to extend my heartfelt thanks to each of you for your unwavering commitment to advancing the frontiers of science and medicine," said Mahlangu.