21st Jun 2006
The Director of the CGIAR Generation Challenge Program (GCP), Jean-Marcel Ribaut, visited the ACGT on 30 and 31 June 2006, together with Carmen de Vicente who is responsible for capacity building activities in the GCP.
The visit provided an opportunity for discussion about the future role of the ACGT partner institutions in the GCP, both from the perspective of capacity building and involvement in research activities. The visitors also had an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the interests and activities in the ACGT institutions, during the course of a number of meetings with senior management and researchers from the University of Pretoria, the CSIR and Wits University.
19th Jun 2006
General food safety management issues; mycotoxins as emerging risks; approaches to food safety communication and environmental issues regarding genetically modified organisms (GMOs) – these were some of the issues discussed during a SAFE FOODS workshop, held near Pretoria recently. This CSIR-organised workshop preceded the project’s bi-annual meeting, held at the same venue. (more…)
17th Jun 2006
Under the auspices of the Novel Drug Discovery Platform project, the MRC organized a visit to South Africa by scientists from Newcastle in England. The aim of the visit was to allow the UK researchers to meet with researchers in SA in order to explore opportunities for collaborative research in novel drug development from medicinal plants.
The delegation visited various centres in South Africa, including visits to the CSIR and the University of Pretoria on 8 June 2006. Researchers from both sides were keen to learn about the latest research technologies and methodologies.
Discussions at the University of Pretoria focused on the opportunities to assess the effects of potential anti-malarial drug leads. An additional common interest was identified as health promoting compounds in foodstuffs.
The visit allowed researchers to identify possible opportunities for collaboration under the EU FP7 programme.
22nd Dec 2005
African scientists and postgraduates working in biotechnology are set to benefit from a partnership between the African Centre for Gene Technology (ACGT), a South African network of excellence in modern biotechnology, and the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), announced in Pretoria this week.
22nd Oct 2005
Malaria is the world’s most important parasitic disease. Clearly a disease of poverty, commonly referred to as a “neglected disease”, it rates amongst one of the major health and development challenges facing many of the poorest countries in the world.
At the end of 2004, 107 countries and territories had areas at risk of malaria transmission, with about 40% of the world’s population living in these areas. Up to 500 million clinical cases and 2 million deaths are reported annually, of which 57% occur in Africa, 30% in Asia and around 5% in the Americas.
Although millions of patients are affected by parasitic diseases every year, their inability to pay for market-financed products has resulted in a lack of innovative products and only 10% of global R&D resources directed at such diseases, including malaria, that account for 90% of the global disease burden.
The South African Malaria Initiative (SAMI) contracted Dr Lorraine Thiel to gather information about the scale of the malaria problem, the international funding streams and the local role players in malaria research. Two reports, funded by the Department of Science and Technology, were submitted to DST in October this year.
These reports, from which the above extracts have been taken, are made available here as downloadable pdf files. They remain the property of the Department of Science and Technology.
Report Section 1 – PDF file size 612 KB
Gathering of Data on the Global Epidemiology of the Malaria Threat, Applied Interventions and Socio-economic Impact
Report Section 2 – PDF file size 913 KB
Gathering of Data on the Funding Mechanisms for Malaria Research and the Status of Malaria Research in South Africa
21st Oct 2005
The Biotechnology Partnership and Development (BioPAD) is supporting a microarray platform project at the ACGT Microarray Facility at the University of Pretoria. Established under the auspices of the Department of Science and Technology and its National Biotechnology Strategy, BioPAD activities are aimed at establishing a sustainable biotechnology industry in South Africa and helping to meet the regions biotechnology challenges. (more…)
14th Oct 2005
The Malaria Initiative for Africa (MIA) recently underwent a name change to SAMI – the South African Malaria Initiative. The initiative resulted from the deliberations of a core group of researchers from around the country who met at the University of Pretoria in January this year to discuss a collaborative initiative to promote the use of advanced biotechnologies in malaria drug discovery, diagnostics and epidemiology. (more…)
13th Oct 2005
A researcher from the Agricultural Research and Technology Cooperation (ARTC) in Sudan, Dr Adam Mohamed Ali Hamid, was recently awarded a General Challenge Programme (GCP) travel grant to work at the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) housed at the University of Pretoria. (more…)
22nd Jun 2005
The ACGT Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Unit at the University of Pretoria received a visit on 19 April from a French CNRS delegation who were exploring potential linkages between France and South Africa in the bionformatics field. The visit was organized in the context of NEPAD collaborative activities.
Bioinformatics activities in Pretoria were highlighted and potential collaborations were discussed, particularly in the area of malaria bioinformatics.
22nd Nov 2004
The needs and opportunities to address Africa’s problems of poverty and health are unprecedented. Science and technology based organisations worldwide, as well as the civil society and international agencies, are intensifying their efforts to achieve meaningful community development in the region.
Prof Jane Morris of the ACGT and Prof Andre Oelofse, Director of the Centre for Nutrition at the University of Pretoria, met with Prof Andrew Collins, Professor of Nutrition Biology at the University of Oslo in Norway in October this year, to discuss the submission of a proposal to the European Union 6th Framework Programme for training and capacity building. The focus of the proposal will be on nutritional genetics, genomics and bioinformatics.
The opportunities to link cutting edge genomics techniques to solve problems related to malnutrition in Africa were also discussed and it was agreed that there were significant opportunities for collaboration.
An international nutrition congress is to be held in South Africa in September next year and will include a focus on nutrigenomics. See www.puk.ac.za/fakulteite/voeding/iuns for details.