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Chancellor’s Awards to three Faculty of Science academics
Author: Media & Communication, Faculty of Science
Published: 16/01/2019

Three academics from the Faculty of Science were honoured with the Stellenbosch University Chancellor's Award for excellence in research and in teaching and learning at the December 2018 graduation ceremony.

Profs Jannie Hofmeyr and Emile van Zyl were recognised for sustained excellence in their research careers, while Prof Ingrid Rewitzky received the award for excellence in teaching and learning. The aim of the award is to give recognition to staff whose careers attest to sustained excellence and is limited to the top 15 achievers in the fields of learning and teaching, research and community interaction.

Prof Hofmeyr is regarded as a world leader in the field of systems biology and biocomplexity and has received international recognition for his contributions to these fields. He studies the regulatory design of metabolism and made many fundamental contributions to computational systems biology. More recently his research interests have ventured into the field of complex systems, focussing on biocomplexity. He is the recipient of the Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship, the Beckman-Coulter Gold Medal from the South African Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and was a fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. He is member of the Academy of Science of South Africa and a Fellow and President of the Royal Society of South Africa. He is currently director of the Centre for the Study of Complex Systems in Transition.

Prof Emile Van Zyl from the Department of Microbiology in the Faculty of Science is an expert in yeast biotechnology. His research on environmentally friendly alternatives to fossil fuels using recombinant technology has led to international recognition. He studies the microbial degradation of plant material, with the purpose of using the degradation products as raw material in biofuel production. In 2007 he was awarded the SARChI chair in biofuels and other clean alternative fuels, a position which has been renewed three times. His research group has registered 22 patents, and he has published more than 140 research articles. He is a recipient of the Silver Medal from the South African Society for Microbiology and the Havenga Award for Life Sciences.

As Vice-Dean for Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Science, Prof Ingrid Rewitzky was instrumental in facilitating and supporting a scholarly approach to teaching and learning in the Faculty. This includes the establishment of an active Teaching and Learning Hub and a differentiated tutorial support programme for undergraduate students, amongst others. The impact of these initiatives can be seen in the higher success rate of undergraduate students, and the increased engagement of academic staff in all aspects of teaching and learning. In her own discipline of Mathematics, she inspired the development of online interactive content for bridging the articulation gap between school and university, as well as ongoing programme and module renewal. She is executive head of the Departmet of Mathematical Sciences.

On the photo, from left to right, Prof Emile van Zyl, Prof Ingrid Rewitzky and Prof Jannie Hofmeyr (far right) with Prof Louise Warnich, Dean of the Faculty of Science.