The yellow presba. Photo: John P Simaika

John Simaika’s fascination with dragonflies

Stellenbosch University water ecologist Dr John Simaika has spent lots of time around dragonflies since one serendipitously landed on his dinner plate while he was discussing his honours degree project. Along with his former postgraduate supervisor, the renowned insect conservationist Prof Michael Samways of the SU Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology, he has recently…

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Cats, pregnancy and the threat of toxoplasmosis

Kenneth Hammond-Aryee takes stock of the risks that toxoplasmosis holds for unborn babies, immune-compromised people such as those living with HIV/Aids, and people receiving organ transplants. This disease is linked to cats, and is caused by parasites,  “Say cheeeese.” Click, click, click goes the camera, as Kabaso* snaps picture after picture of the heavily pregnant…

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Oh rats! What can we learn about our health from cooldrink studies?

 A group of Stellenbosch University physiologists and a researcher from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology tested what happens when rats drank a sugar-sweetened beverage for three months. This was done in an effort to understand more clearly what happens in the body when you drink too much sweetened cooldrink. Researchers are increasingly realising that…

HIV/AIDS Awareness Red Ribbon. Credit: www.wdgpublichealth.ca

Money the big issue when it comes to surviving HIV/AIDS # Scibraai Monday Menu

There is a cold reality contained in South Africa’s HIV/AIDS statistics: if you are poor, your chances of dying from the disease are more than 50% higher than if you have money in the bank. Your household will also be affected more severely, according to a systematic review in the journal Tropical Medicine & International…

Prof Gideon Wolfaardt

From Stellenbosch to Saskatchewan: microbes across the globe

by Marcelle van Niekerk   A whiteboard dominates the wall of Professor Gideon Wolfaardt’s office. Permanent markers leave trails of colourful writing, bleeding into hastily drawn sketches. In the corner there’s a drawing of what looks like a bullet. Wolfaardt himself finishes typing on his computer and pushes it away. “Sorry, I was busy with…

A great white shark. Photo: Wikimedia

What is in the water that great white sharks swim in? #Scibraai Monday Menu

Skin samples of great white sharks contain worrying levels of environmental and biological contaminants. This is among the findings of a recent study in the journal Expert Opinion on Environmental Biology. Skin biopsies were taken from 15 great white sharks near Dyer Island off the Overberg coastline. The Italian and South African researchers involved ascribe…

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Putting mealie pap under the spotlight

Anina Guelpa talks about the properties of maize in this article from the 2015 New Voices in Science publication.  For the next few weeks, Scibraai will be featuring a few articles from this publication, written by postgraduate students of Stellenbosch University. These tell the stories of what the students found out during the course of…