Meet the SAAB President

Dr Paul Hills ( President)


BSc (summa cum laude), BScHonours (cum laude) and PhD from University of Natal (Pietermaritzburg) in Botany (Plant Molecular Biology).  His PhD was awarded the SAAB Bronze medal for best botanical PhD in South Africa in 2005.

Dr Hills was appointed as a Lecturer in the Institute for Plant Biotechnology at Stellenbosch University in 2008, and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2016. He believes very strongly in the power of education and is heavily involved in teaching Plant Biotechnology and Genetics undergraduate modules at Stellenbosch University.

His area of research is Plant Molecular Physiology, with a particular interest in plant growth promoting substances, especially those which are not categorised as plant hormones.  These chemicals are often produced by symbiotic rhizosphere microbes or by abiotic events such as fires.  The primary aim of his research program is to understand the mechanisms via which these compounds affect the plant’s ability to grow and survive adverse conditions.  A more detailed understanding of how plant growth is regulated will provide opportunities for enhancing agricultural productivity and yield.

He is currently supervising two PhD and two MSc students, and has supervised 11 MSc students and one PhD student to completion to date.

He acted as Honorary Treasurer for SAAB from 2011 until 2016, when he was elected as Vice President, and became President of the Society in January 2017. Dr Hills is also on the Editorial Board for the South African Journal of Botany and performs reviews for numerous other journals.