In a groundbreaking study published in Nature Genetics on 10 December 2018, a team of scientists from the University of Cape Town (UCT) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), led by Prof. Musa Mhlanga, has detailed – for the first time – the mechanism of how the immune system remembers prior exposures to, for example, pathogens (micro-organisms like bacteria, causing infection), to then trigger the right response to reinfection.
First author and CSIR senior researcher, Dr Stephanie Fanucchi, contextualises the research: “The immune system sits at the apex of our protection against all diseases, ranging from infectious diseases to chronic diseases, such as cancer and diabetes.”
The annual CHPC conference, which took place in Cape Town recently, provided a platform for South African students to showcase their skills in building supercomputers and their innovative ideas on how to prevent cybercrimes through the Student Cluster Competition, and the Student Cyber-Security challenge.
This year, following the theme of the conference on how High Performance Computing (HPC) transforms for the future, growing of women participation in HPC was prominent. This was supported by the introduction of a sponsorship for an outstanding woman in the Student Cluster Challenge.
Keolebogile (Lebo) Sebogodi is one of the CSIR's researchers who are making inroads into the challenge of creating value from industrial waste, specifically Kraft pulp mills. She is a resilient final-year PhD student who is dead set on making a difference, despite the challenges she has had to overcome.
When Sebogodi (31), who hails from Lobatla Village in the North-West, commenced her studies in BSc in biology and chemistry at the North-West University in 2005, she had to overcome hurdles similar to those that many young first-year students face every year.
Three concept designs for a new rock drill that is set to disrupt the mining industry were revealed at the Mandela Mining Precinct (MMP) on 25 October 2018.
The CSIR and the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) will continue to work together in fostering research and supporting industrial development in space sciences and technologies.
On the 16th of October 2018, the two organisations renewed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which will see greater support in strengthening the implementation of the space strategies of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the African Union (AU). The first MoU between the CSIR and SANSA was signed in November of 2013.
Mining is a critical industry for South Africa as the country works towards the achievement of the National Development Plan (NDP), which aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030. According to the NDP, the country can realise these goals by drawing on the energies of its people, growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities, enhancing the capacity of the state, and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society.
To give effect to this vision, and to ensure that mining does not become a “sunset sector”, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Department of Mineral Resources have partnered to launch the Mandela Mining Precinct (MMP).
The CSIR has commissioned five more Performance-Based Standards (PBS) trucks (Smart Trucks) to AB InBev, as part of the national Smart Trucks pilot programme, bringing the total number of operational smart trucks in South Africa to more than 270.
The CSIR has developed a diabetes-detecting chip to monitor blood sugar levels by analysing breath. The breath analyser technology aims to supplement, and eventually replace, the current invasive “finger prick” glucometer for monitoring diabetes in both young and old patients with a completely pain-free solution through a breath analyser based on nanowire sensors.
The breath analyser technology was among some of the technologies displayed at the media briefing held in Pretoria.
The Department of Science and Technology rolled out the red carpet for women achievers in science, technology and innovation at a gala dinner in Limpopo on Thursday evening, 23 August.
The South African Women in Science Awards (SAWISA) was held under the theme, "100 years of Mama Albertina Sisulu: Women united in moving South Africa forward", emphasising Sisulu's great courage as a unifying leader during the apartheid era. In 1956, Sisulu was instrumental in leading about 20 000 women from across South Africa to march on the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest the law requiring black women to carry passes.