Over the past decade or so, there has been a massive shift in cancer research toward discovering more targeted therapeutic alternatives to chemotherapy and radiation. Subscribing to this approach, Professor Virna Leaner, head of the Division of Medical Biochemistry at UCT, and her group of researchers have dedicated their academic work to looking for novel cancer biomarkers that could serve as therapeutic targets.
The rising incidence of cancer in Africa coupled with the spiralling prices of leading therapies indicates that there is a great need for locally developed immune-oncology diagnostics and therapeutics. Following 20 years of work in the fields of medical biotechnology and immunotherapy in Germany, Professor Stefan Barth was recruited by the Department of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation’s South African Research Chair (SARChI) in 2015 to lead the Tier 1 Chair in Cancer Biotechnology at UCT.
RC&I hosted two events for Student Entrepreneurship Week (SEW) 2018 on 29 August. The highlight of these events was the launch of the UCT Innovation Ecosystem Map which clearly represents the spatial arrangement of incubators, accelerators and UCT Spin-Off companies relative to each other.
University of Cape Town (UCT) professors Kelly Chibale, Virna Leaner and Kevin Naidoo have been honoured among 20 of South Africa’s leading scholars and scientists inaugurated as Members of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf).
Prof Tania Douglas, SARChI Chair in Biomedical Engineering & Innovation, has been named as one of 30 Quartz Africa Innovators 2018. Prof Douglas is recognised for driving innovation that revolutionizes healthcare - from mobile diagnostic applications to non-tech strategies aimed at tackling the stigma of conditions such as hearing loss.
RC&I has recently developed a useful map which gives an insight into the entrepreneurial ecosystem around UCT. Our various UCT spin-off companies are plotted on the map as well as the various business accelerators and incubators.
The 2018 series of Café Scientifique will be held in the last quarters of 2018 and early in 2019 at the Chemical Engineering Building (Upper Campus, UCT). Selected themes will explore impact of measurements and metrology, neurosurgery, molecular biology and infectious diseases, and ICT4D. The events kick off with a presentation by Prof Andy Buffler on 18 September 2018 entitled “Impact of Measurement”.
The prevailing need in South Africa is for sustainable economic development through the creation and growth of jobs and the support of new businesses to provide goods and services. The University of Cape Town has responded to the call from the Department of Higher Education and Training to host a series of events and activities that would contribute to this discussion.
A standard Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) was published in the Government Gazette on 20 July 2018, along with a statement signed by the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, indicating that the MTA needs to be used by all providers and recipients of materials for use in research or clinical trials that are conducted under the auspices of registered Health Research Ethics Committees.
Gokul Nair and Giancarlo Beukes were one of two teams put forward by South Africa to compete against other BRICS countries in the BRICS Young Innovator Competition that was held recently. They placed second which included prize money of R210 000 and a Huawei Honor 9 Lite Smart Phone.
A new set of “Outbound” and “Inbound” materials disclosure forms have been created and are available from the RC&I website as downloads. These forms ask key questions that ensure that the Contracts Manager can draft the appropriate Materials Transfer Agreement, or ensure that an agreement that the provider of the materials sends to us matches with the anticipated use of the material by the UCT Researchers.
Universities are conducive to innovation, as researchers and students dedicate themselves to the act of problem-solving through research. Over the past few years, UCT has been central to an array of practical innovations that have been implemented to better the lives of ordinary people. In many cases, women have been taking the lead.
On 26 April, we celebrate World Intellectual Property Day and – importantly – this year, we’re focusing on the women who are driving change through ingenuity, curiosity and courage.