In yet another “feather to her cap", Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Executive Head of the Department of Psychiatry in the FMHS, Professor Soraya Seedat, has been appointed as a 2020 Women Global Chair by the University of Bath in the United Kingdom.
Seedat was appointed along with another world-leading academic and renowned scholar on gender-based violence, Professor Jacqui True from Australia's Monash University.
Seedat, who is recognized as an expert on global mental health, has more than 20 years of clinical, epidemiological and basic neuroscience research experience as a psychiatrist under her belt. Her research interests range from gender-based violence to post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, HIV/neuroAIDS, as well as early life adversity and foetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
Her work has taken her to into the heart of some of South Africa's most vulnerable communities and she has collaborated to build research capacity among early-career researchers in countries on the African continent, in South-East Asia and Latin America.
Seedat, who qualified as a medical doctor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal before completing her specialist training in psychiatry at Stellenbosch University, was, in 2017, awarded the prestigious Chancellor's Award for Research at Stellenbosch University for her two decades of eminent research.
The winner of the 2013 Mail & Guardian Women in Science award has received many accolades and awards and has written more than 350 journal articles and book chapters, and has had her work cited in scientific literature around the globe.
In their announcement, on the Global Chairs of Seedat and True, the University of Bath said the appointments of the two visiting professors will “lend further support to Bath's core partnerships in Australia and South Africa and will strengthen our university's global research networks in the fields of mental health and gender".
“The Women Global Chair Scheme highlights women in academia through the funding of international visiting professorships. The two visiting professors will be able to use the Global Chair platform to enrich the celebration of women academics across all disciplines at the University of Bath."
Commenting on Seedat's appointment, Professor Sarah Halligan said: “I'm absolutely thrilled we will be welcoming Professor Soraya Seedat as a Global Chair. Soraya is an international leader in child and adolescent mental health, with expertise ranging from psychiatric genomics to intervention-based research. Her appointment will be a major opportunity to consolidate our existing links and to develop a wider range of collaborations in the global mental health field. I'm very much looking forward to hosting her in Bath."
Seedat said: “I am really honoured to be chosen as a Women Global Chair. The visiting appointment at the University of Bath will be for the period 1 September 2019 - 31 August 2020 and I will undertake two visits over this time.
“This appointment as Global Chair will allow me to further develop my relationship with Prof Sarah Halligan and her team. We have overlapping research interests in the longitudinal trajectories of youth from high adversity environments and in identifying early psychobiological signatures of persistent PTSD that may be targets for early intervention. I am very excited about engaging with other staff and students and generating new research projects and collaborations at a university level and across the G4 alliance (the GW4 Alliance is a network of four of the most research-intensive and innovative universities in the UK: Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter)".
Photo credit: Stefan Els