Pathology Research Development (PathReD) Innovation Summit Steering Committee
Dr Babatyi Innocentia Malope-Kgokong obtained her PhD in Community Health at the University of the Witwatersrand which focused on the epidemiology and transmission patterns of Kaposi’s Sarcoma Herpes Virus. She has worked in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute, Fredericks; USA and the National Cancer Registry, New South Wales, Sydney in Australia. She has also obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Economic Policies from the University of London (CeFIMS) and an MSc (Cum Laude) and BSc in Medical Laboratory Sciences majoring in Haematology from the University of Limpopo. She has worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator at the University of Johannesburg and an Epidemiologist and Data Manager at the Clinical HIV Research Unit, Right to Care and the Centre for Respiratory Disease and Meningitis at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases. She is currently the National Manager for Academic Affairs and Research at the National Health Laboratory Services as the driver of the institutional research agenda, and the founding Chairperson of Pathology Research and Development (PathRed) Congress. She has also served as a member of the Clinical Trials Group Review Task Team, the National Conditional Grants Task Team and is currently a member of the National Health Research Committee. Her research interests are in the epidemiology of HIV/AIDS, related infectious diseases and malignancies.
Mr Ben Durham is Chief Director: Bio-innovation at the National Department of Science and Technology in South Africa. His responsibilities included the implementation of the South African Bio-economy Strategy, launched in January 2014, and he now is overseeing implementation of the three themes of Agricultural, Health, and Industrial sectors, as well as the Indigenous Knowledge based technology innovation. Ultimately the purpose is to develop and improve the efficiencies of the National System of Innovation, ensuring socio-economic benefits to the broader society.
Dr Sophia Kisting-Cairncross is the Executive Director of the National Institute for Occupational Health (NIOH), South Africa since 2014. She is an Occupational Medicine Specialist with extensive workplace experience in Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety (OEHS) as well as preventive, promotive and compensation health services. She returned to South Africa in 2012 after nearly 7 years at the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva. She was the head of the ILO’s global Programme on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work for several years and was instrumental in the development of a human rights protective international labour standard on HIV/AIDS and the world of work. She worked for 12 years at the University of Cape Town, mainly in the School of Public Health in OEHS research and extensive clinical service delivery in occupational health. She has worked for over 20 years in rural and urban public health centres including 5 years in the Soweto Community Health Centres and Chris Hani Baragwaneth Hospital in Soweto, 8 years in Zimbabwe and 3 years in Namibia. She was awarded the 2017 President of the Convocation Medal by UCT in recognition of having made a significant contribution to the common good.
Dr Richard Gordon is the Executive Director of the Grants, Innovation and Product Development groups at the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) which includes the revolutionary Strategic Health Innovation Partnerships (SHIP) unit focusing on product development. The unit manages more than 200 grants ranging from small independent research awards to major international programs seeking to develop new drugs vaccines and medical devices. The majority of the SAMRC programs focus on HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria – including drug resistance. Richard has held a number of international positions and specializes in establishing international research partnerships. These range from drug discovery (target discovery, high throughput screening, medicinal chemistry, ADMET and pharmacology for a wide range of therapeutic areas), medical devices and vaccines. Richard completed his PhD at the University of Cape Town and his post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Cambridge. Prior to his time at the MRC, Richard spend two years at the Technology Innovation Agency as a Senior Investment Case Specialist and 10 years at BioFocus, a UK based pharmaceutical drug discovery Contract Research Organisation where he moved from the bench to the Global Head of Business Development and marketing. He is also a chartered marketer.
Dr Aijaz Ahmad is currently a Medical Scientist in the Infection Control Unit of National Health Laboratory Service at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital and a Lecturer in the Department of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases of the School of Pathology, He has obtained his Ph.D. in Medical Mycology and Masters in Biochemistry. He has also done 2 postdocs from the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences; Tshwane University of Technology and Department of Oral Biological Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand. He also worked as Scientist B in Department of Microbiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences and International Clinical Epidemiology Network (InClEN) on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-USA funded projects. From his research experience, he published a complete book, 2 book chapters and 45 peer reviewed research papers. With his research expertise he is currently reviewing for 10 journals of international repute including Nature Scientific Reports and Plos 1.
Professor Lynn Morris is the Interim Executive Director of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases and head of the HIV Virology Section. She holds a joint appointment as Research Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, where she completed her undergraduate studies, and a DPhil from the University of Oxford. Lynn is an NRF A-rated researcher who has made significant contributions to our understanding of how the antibody response to HIV develops. She has supervised 30 PhD and MSc students and has published over 220 papers holding a current author H-Index of 54. Her contributions have been recognised through several awards including the University of the Witwatersrand’s Vice Chancellor Research Award, the South African Medical Research Council’s Gold Merit Award, a Harry Oppenheimer Memorial Trust Fellowship Award and most recently, the 2018 World Academy of Sciences Prize in Medical Sciences. She is also listed on the Thompsons Reuters ISI list of the 3000 highest cited researchers in the world for the past three consecutive years.
Dr Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela is the Executive Director at CSIR Biosciences. She has a Ph.D. (Biochemistry) and also holds MSc in Management Finance and Investment from Wits Business School. Within the technology innovation space, she managed a biotechnology incubator at The Innovation Hub Management Company. She was with McKinsey & Company for 2 years as a McKinsey Leadership Fellow. Prior to that, between November 2006 and June 2011, she was at the CSIR’s Polymers and Composites Division as a Senior Researcher. Her research team focused on developing Nanotechnology drug delivery systems for TB, HIV and Malaria. Her research was funded by the South African government as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other global funders. She completed her postdoctoral research at the University of Nottingham and EPFL, Switzerland. She has published as a first author and co-author in scientific publications, review articles and book chapters. She sits on a number of committees including the BioPark Steering Committee, South African Medical Research Council steering committee and the Board of Directors for AfricaBio. She is also involved a number of thought leadership projects such as the African Union Strategy for Health Research and the South African Department of Science and Technology Bioeconomy Strategy implementation plans.
Professor Wendy Stevens, MD, MMed, FCPath, is a specialist pathologist, Head of the Department of Molecular Medicine and Haematology, University of the Witwatersrand and Head of the National Priority Program Unit at the National Health Laboratory Service. She has over 230 peer-reviewed publications with research priorities largely in haematological malignancies, HIV and TB for over 15 years. She has been responsible for the roll out of affordable CD4, viral load, EID and HIV drug resistance programs in South Africa and at least 60 centers in sub-Saharan Africa. More recently this portfolio has expanded to include national molecular TB testing to 207 sites. These programs have been extended to vulnerable populations such as the Correctional Services and peri-mining communities. Her success is largely due to the development of a strong research and development group, the ability to solicit donor funding, and the support of a multi-disciplinary implementation team. The Innovation network fits perfectly into the mandate of her team striving towards sustainable laboratory capacity in Africa.