Prof Faadiel Essop from the Department of Physiological Sciences at SU has been invited by the International Union for Physiological Sciences (IUPS) to serve on its Board of the General Assembly (BGA) for the 2017-2021 term.
The IUPS was founded in 1929 and is the global umbrella organisation for physiology. One of the new BGA's immediate tasks is to create a report on the status of physiology to be presented to the General Assembly at the quadrennial IUPS Congress in 2021. The BGA will also be responsible to ensure that the recommendations of the 2017 report – Physiology: Current Trends and Future Challenges, are implemented over the next four years.
Prof Essop says while physiology as a discipline is thriving in Southern Africa, he hopes to focus on aspects of the report, such as the establishment of a network platform for physiologists in Africa.
“We are already closely working with the African Association of Physiological Sciences, but a more formal platform will allow for easier exchange of postgraduate students and staff between African universities."
Another priority is to showcase physiology to a broader audience: “I believe it will help scientists to make sense of the current flood of genomic data. We need to understand what all the genome and protein sequence information actually mean within the context of the whole organism. It is precisely in this regard that physiologists can help fill the gap and collaborate with geneticists and bioinformaticians," he adds.
Prof Louise Warnich, Dean of the Faculty of Science, says the nomination is a significant recognition of Prof Essop's international standing and that he will make a valuable contribution to the BGA.
Prof Essop is a full professor in SU's Department of Physiological Sciences. Since 2013 he has twice served as president of the Physiological Society of Southern Africa. In 2015 he was appointed as chair of the Research Advisory Committee of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa, and in 2016 elected as vice-president of the African Association of Physiological Sciences.