SAAB Awards for 2017

Gold Medal Award: Prof Marion Meyer

Prof Meyer played an important role in expanding the impact of Plant Sciences at the University of Pretoria and consolidating the department under one roof culminating in a magnificent new building for Plant Sciences in 2008.

He has published more than 100 papers in ISI-rated journals with his students and co-workers. His papers have been cited about 2560 times and according to Scopus he has an “H-score” of 30. He is listed on the Thomson Reuters Essential Science Indicators (ESI) in the top 1% of research output globally in the field of Pharmacology and Toxicology. He has17.5 citations per paper in Pharmacology and Toxicology, and 11.9 citations per paper in ‘all fields’.  His group has also registered five patents based on their research.

His research team has made a good contribution to medicinal plant science, not only in South Africa, but also internationally. They have identified many important novel compounds and developed bioassays not previously used in South Africa. The SAAB Council recognized this by awarding  him the Silver Medal in 2010.

Many of his postgraduate students came from disadvantaged backgrounds, but they did extremely well after receiving the necessary guidance. Seventeen MSc and fifteen PhD students have graduated under his supervision.

Under his leadership the hugely successful SAAB congress held in Pretoria jointly with the International Society for Ethnopharmacology proved to be a landmark in bringing the work done on medicinal plants in southern Africa under the attention of the international community.

During his term as President of the South African Association of Botanists his main achievement was to negotiate a very advantageous contract for the publishing of the South African Journal of Botany by Elsevier. As a result SAAB now receives annual royalties from Elsevier and the authors do not have to pay page charges.

Silver Medal Award:  Lesley Henderson

For her founding and running of the southern African Plant Invaders Atlas (SAPIA),  since 1979. South Africa’s place as an international leader in the study of plant invasions is due in no small part to her work. She has also produced several field guides in particular the “Alien weeds and invasive plants” guide of 2001 which is still THE indispensable guide to invasive plants in South Africa.

Bronze Medal award: Dr Christopher Johnson for his PhD thesis titled:

Flowers with style: The role of pollinators in the origin and maintenance of Proteaceae diversity with a focus on the genus Leucospermum

Best PhD:  Jan Hendrik Keet & Robyn Powell

Best MSc: Dorcas Lekganyane

Best Honours Student:  Ryan Orton

Best Young Botanist:  Dorcas Lekganyane

Best Poster Prize in Plant Systematics/Plant Structure and Development: Courtney Long

Best Poster in Phytochemistry/Ethnobotany: Mustafa Esmaio

Best Poster in Ecology/Invasive Biology: Goina Arena

Best Poster in Plant Physiology/Biotechnology: Nina Esterhuysen