Eugene Cloete: the solution seeker

Few academics can claim being natural entrepreneurs, but Professor Eugene Cloete is one of them. His curriculum vitae features not just his publications in academic journals, but also almost a dozen patents. He considers his “best idea ever” was using an empty teabag, replacing the tea with activated carbon and using antimicrobial nanofibres for microfiltration…

Paul Cilliers understood the nature of complexities

Paul Cilliers passed away in 2011 leaving behind his family, friends and colleagues, and an impressive body of work on the topic of complexity. It is hard to grasp his essence without the help of an interview, but the assistance of documents authored by Cilliers (and authored by others about Cilliers) allowed for a picture…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…