SAAB Awards for 2015

Gold Medal Award: Prof Ben-Erik van WykIMG_6510

Prof Ben-Erik van Wyk is probably best known for the contributions he has made to ethnobotany through his work on the subjects of medicinal, poisonous and food plants particularly in African ethnobotany. Such titles as Medicinal Plants of South Africa, Peoples’ Plants and Mind-altering & Poisonous Plants of the World to name but a few have become popular titles found on many bookshelves. His original work with indigenous plants such as Artemisia afra, Harpagophytum procumbens, Sceletium tortuosum , Sutherlandia frutescens and others has contributed to society through the development of policy, capacity and the commercialization of southern African medicinal plants.

He has been recognised in South Africa through the awarding of the Havenga Prize for Biology from the South African Academy of Science and Arts (2009); The University of Johannesburg Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Research Excellence (2009); a medal from the South African Academy of Science and Arts for contributions to ethnobotany (2011); Elected Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences (2013) and awarded the National NRF Research Chair in Indigenous Plant Use in 2013. His chairmanship of the Indigenous Plant Use Forum (IPUF) since 1996 is testimony to the confidence and high regard the SA enthnobotany community has in him.

He has also made significant contributions to teaching and mentoring new generations of botanists, through the successful supervision of 14 PhD and 19 Masters students. In addition, he has acted as editor and referee for countless journals, thereby facilitating the publications of fellow botanists and ecologists.

Bronze Medal Award: Dr Mathew Adamu

Dr Adamu won this award for his PhD thesis titled:

“The potential role of antiparasitic and antimicrobial activity of Leucosidea sericea Eckl & Zeyh. (Rosaceae) extracts in ethnoveterinary medicine.”

The Award for the best oral presentation by a young scientist under 30 years of age

This year’s award was shared between:

(1) Andria Rautenbach for her talk based on her paper titled: Andria Rautenbach, T. Goldswain, T. Davis, A. Krygsman, A-M. Engelbrecht and N.P. Makunga: Investigating the potential of a traditional medicinal plant as an adjuvent remedy in the treatment of breast cancer; and

(2) Dunja Basic for her talk based on her paper titled: D. Basic, A.M. Muasya and S.B.M. Chimphango. Linking root traits to superior phosphorus uptake efficiency in Cape Fabales.

The Award for the Best Oral Presentation by a PhD

Won by Margaret Hulley for her talk emanating from her paper titled:

Isabel Margaret Hulley, B.-E. Van Wyk, A.L. Schutte-Vlok: Medicinal ethnobotany of the Little Karoo, South Africa.

The Award for the Best Oral Presentation by an MSc

This year’s award was shared between:

(1) Andria Rautenbach for her talk based on her paper titled: Andria Rautenbach, T. Goldswain, T. Davis, A. Krygsman, A-M. Engelbrecht and N.P. Makunga: Investigating the potential of a traditional medicinal plant as an adjuvent remedy in the treatment of breast cancer and;

(2) Dunja Basic for her talk based on her paper titled: D. Basic, A.M. Muasya and S.B.M. Chimphango. Linking root traits to superior phosphorus uptake efficiency in Cape Fabales.

Award for the Best Poster Over All Categories

Won by Emma Moster for her poster titled:

E. Mostert and C.I. Peter: Does “Multiple-bang” flowering enhance outcrossing in the deceptive Dietes grandiflora?