This week, ICGEB Director General Dr Lawrence Banks is in South Africa on the occasion of Africa Day to celebrate the work of ICGEB’s Component in South Africa and the Continent.
The ICGEB counts 22 African nations as part of its Member States, having recently welcomed Angola to the ICGEB family. In addition, 7 African nations are signatory states or pending full membership.
The ICGEB Cape Town Component was established in 2007 with the aim to specifically strengthen the ICGEB activities on the African Continent. The focus of the research undertaken at ICGEB Cape Town is geared to address key needs of the African population. World leading research focuses on Infectious Diseases: Parasitic diseases and Virology, Non-Communicable Diseases: Cancer Genomics, Plant Biology and Biotechnology: Biopesticides and Plant Systems Biology, as well as Bioinformatics.
The Component prides itself on its international composition, with the majority of researchers, including PhD and Postdoctoral Fellows, being from Africa, including Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Eswatini, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan and Zimbabwe. In December 2020, the Component celebrated a record number of 8 PhD graduations, graduates from Cameroon, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Strong research collaborations exist on the Continent and continue to grow. Key projects on Biopesticides, Biofertilizers – the Microbiome Project, Cancer in men of African descent, and Neglected diseases in Africa, see collaborations with various research institutes in Cameroon, Egypt, Gabon, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
ICGEB Cape Town has seen great success in the annual hosting of ICGEB meetings, courses and workshops in Cape Town on varied fields of research. These meetings focus on the inclusion and involvement of up-and-coming researchers from the Continent. The Component continues to champion its Outreach and Communication activities including the involvement in a range of science engagement activities and the popular School Outreach Programme.
In celebration of Africa Day 2021, ICGEB Cape Town is delighted to host Dr Steven Runo from Kenyatta University, Kenya, who will be sharing insights into his research on “Genetic basis of Striga (witchweed) resistance in sorghum”. Dr Runo is an ICGEB collaborator and a 2017 ICGEB Collaborative Research Project grant holder.