Professor Thirumala Govender (left) and Professor
Bilkish Cassim.

Professor Thirumala Govender and Professor Bilkish Cassim of the College of Health Sciences have been awarded College of Health Sciences Large Competitive Grants (CHS-LCG) worth R1,5 million each for their research projects. 

At the recent College’s Annual Research Symposium, the College Dean of Research and Chair for the Symposium Committee, Professor Moses Chimbari, said the grants aimed to encourage staff to compete for large grants, interdisciplinary research collaboration and innovation. 

The grants committee received 10 proposals which were reviewed by representatives from America, Australia and Zimbabwe. 

Based on the reviews, two projects were awarded the grants to the value of up to R1 500 000 a project over three years subject to satisfactory performance.

The selection process included an advert that was circulated to all academics in the College. ‘We received abstracts that we internally reviewed and selected four that were workshopped to develop full proposals which were reviewed externally and the two projects emerged as winners,’ said Chimbari. 

The projects are: “Nanotechnology-Based Solutions for Infectious Diseases (NSID)” led by Govender, and “Osteoporosis in South Africa (OsSA)” led by Cassim. 

Govender and her team of project leaders – Dr Raj Karpoormath, Dr Raveen Parboosing, Dr Roshila Moodley, Dr Hafiza Chenia and Dr Roshini Gounden – are focusing on the development of innovative materials, nanosensors and nano drug delivery systems as solutions to overcome challenges with drug therapy and resistance in infectious diseases. 

She thanked Chimbari for the award saying: ‘The College funding contributes to capacity development in nanotechnology for South Africa and Africa and innovative products to improve diagnosis and treatment of HIV and AIDS and diseases associated with bacterial infections.’   

Cassim’s project focuses on osteoporosis, a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue, typically as a result of hormonal changes or deficiency of calcium or vitamin D. 

Cassim thanked Chimbari and the Committee for the grant, and encouraged academics to apply for such grants.

Nombuso Dlamini