Programme 08: 00 Opening: Prof Amanda Lourens E6 main hall



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Programme

08:00 Opening: Prof Amanda Lourens E6 main hall

08:20-10.00 PD Session 1

Dr Nicola Barnard (Pre-Clinical Drug Development Platform - PCDDP)

Title: From the chemistry lab to pharmacy.
Dr Jeannine Baumgartner (Centre of Excellence for Nutrition - CEN)

Title: Interactions between iron and n-3 fatty acids: Effects of deficiency and repletion on brain development and cognition.

Dr Anne Becker (Faculty of Education Science)

Title: The (re)conciliation of teacher: child - Ubuntu and post-modern responsibility.

Dr Clara Bocchino (Faculty of Law)

Title: When the government owns our land: ethnographic and legal study on the Madimbo corridor (RSA).

Dr Shingairai Chigeza (Africa Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research - AUTHeR)

Title: Migration impact on family members left behind in Zimbabwe: implications on older persons.

Dr Idan Chiynazul (Faculty of Engineering, Energy Systems Group)

Title: A rapid one-step microwave-assisted hydrolysis of sweet sorghum bagasse in dilute acid or base.

10.00-10.20 Coffee break

10.20-11.25 PD Session 2 E6 main hall

Dr Courtney Cook (The School of Environmental Sciences and Development)

Title: Taxonomic and phylogenetic characterisation of South African tortoise and amphibian apicomplexan blood parasites.


Dr Leon De Beer (Workwell Research Unit)

Title: From dusk till dawn: Job burnout and self-reported sleep difficulties in the presence of confounding variables.

Dr Anna-Magriet de Wet & Dr Glynis Parker (Faculty of Education Science)

Title: Communities in Conversation: Opportunities for women and girls’ self-empowerment

Dr Oleksandr Dobzhanskyi (Faculty of Engineering, Energy Systems Group)

Title: Transverse Flux wind Power Generator for Residential Use

11.25-11.45 Professor Herman Van Shalkwyk’s address to the Postdoctoral fellows

12.00-13.30 SENATE HALL, F1 Building

Brain Bag Lunch: Sharing Postdoctoral Experiences

Prof. Alta Schutte

Title: Navigating from PhD to Survival in Academia: a 4x4 attitude is essential!

Postdoc presenter 1 – Jeannine Baumgartner

Postdoc presenter 2 – Idan Chiyanzu

Open discussion


13.45-14.30 E6 main hall

Dr Shernice Soobramoney (International Office)

Title: From the lab to life

Elsa Esterhuizen (Director of Library Services)

Title: Personalised services for postdocs

Marietjie Halgryn (Research Support)

Title: The NWU Postdoc and the Research Support Office - what now?

14.30-15.30 PD Session 3 E6 main hall

Dr Odile Lim Tung (Faculty of Law)

Title: The adequacy of the regulatory framework for Genetically Modified Organisms in South Africa

Dr Serena Lucreze (Tourism Research in Economic Environs & Society – TREES)

Title: Coastal recreation in South Africa: From ecological impacts to environmental awareness

Dr Kerry Ann Malherbe (Faculty of Environmental Sciences)

Title: Parasitic cymothoid isopods from southern Africa

Dr Wynand Malherbe (Faculty of Environmental Sciences)

Title: An Investigation of the Association between Genetic Diversity and Contaminants in the Klip RIver System


15.30-15.50 Coffee/Tea break

15.50-17.35 PD Session 4 E6 main hall

Dr Edgard Ngounda (Faculty of Economic & Management Sciences)

Title: Mathematical applications to option pricing


Dr Anja Otto (Drug Research & Development)

Title: Emulsion-based delivery systems for topical application


Dr Svelka Hoebel (Physical Activity, Sport and Recreation - PhASRec)

Title: Optimizing waist circumference as a predictor of the metabolic syndrome and its components in a South African cohort at 3 year follow up: the SABPA prospective cohort.

Dr Lurii Sushch (School of Physical & Chemical Sciences)

Title: Modelling of the multi-wavelength emission from the Vela Supernova remnant

Dr Andrey Tokarev (Chemical Resource Beneficiation - CRB)

Title: Design of bimetallic Pt-based electrocatalyst on extended-surface support for advanced hydrogen pumping and separations

Dr Patricks Voua Otomo (Faculty of Environmental Sciences)

Title: The Enchytraeid Reproduction Test (ERT): A Potentially Quick and Affordable Tool for the Assessment of Metal Contaminated Soils in Emerging Economies

Dr Lisa Ware (Hypertension in Africa Research Team – HART)

Title: Stress, happiness and perceptions of hypertension in South African adults from low income households

17.35 Prof A Lourens - Close of talks

18.30 Evening Function at The Roots: Prize giving at 19.00, dress code semi-formal.

ABSTRACTS

Dr Nicola Barnard (NWU Pre-Clinical Drug Development Platform - PCDDP)

Title: From the chemistry lab to pharmacy

What happens when a chemist finds themselves in the world of pre-clinical, pharmaceutical, neutraceutical, formulating, radio-activating, nanoparticle, toxicity, cell cultivating, diagnostic, patenting, confidentiality “agreementing” world of drug developing. This presentation will touch on the many, many projects and aspects I have been in contact with since starting a post doc here at the NWU PCDDP. In particular radio labeling, gold nanoparticle toxicity, the challenges of formulation and the role of the Pheroid® (NWU patent) drug delivery system will be discussed.

Dr Jeannine Baumgartner (NWU Centre of Excellence for Nutrition - CEN)

Title: Interactions between iron and n-3 fatty acids: Effects of deficiency and repletion on brain development and cognition

Nutrient deficiencies that affect brain development and functioning, such as iron deficiency (ID) and low n-3 fatty acid (FA) status, have been estimated to shift the world’s IQ potential negatively by at least 10 points. Nutrient deficiencies seldom occur in isolation and particularly young children are likely to suffer from both ID and inadequate n-3 FA status. Deficiencies in iron and n-3 FAs during periods of brain development may affect brain metabolism and neurochemistry, associated with impaired cognitive function. However, little is known about potential interactive effects between these two common deficiencies. The aim of my research is to investigate potential interactive effects between iron and n-3 FA deficiencies and supplementation on brain development and cognition in both rats and humans. To date, we showed in rats that a combined deficiency of iron and n-3 FAs disrupts brain neurochemistry and produces greater cognitive deficits than ID or n-3 FA deficiency alone. Supplementing these double-deficient rats with either iron or n-3 FAs alone affected brain neurochemistry differently from combined supplementation, and unexpectedly even exacerbated the cognitive deficits associated with double-deficiency. We were able to partially translate these findings to the human situation by showing that n-3 FA supplementation impaired working memory in anaemic children and ID girls with low n-3 FA intakes. Based on these results, we are currently planning future studies to examine the underlying mechanisms and to further explore these novel interactions.

Dr Anne Becker (Faculty of Education Science)

Title: The (re)conciliation of teacher : child - Ubuntu and post-modern responsibility

The South African moral landscape is fractured by violence and differentiation resulting in continuous pleas for the (re)conceptualization of moral and values education. In light of the above I propose a shift away from moral and values education towards the conciliation of teacher:child within education as an ethical event. In doing this I will draw from two transitional ethical frameworks namely ubuntu and post-modern responsibility. Ubuntu was positioned in the South African moral landscape by the Interim Constitution of South Africa (1994) as the bridge towards a new society and post-modern responsibility is held as the possible renaissance of morality by scholars such as Bauman (1994). Both these frameworks regard becoming moral as a continual journey within a shared humanity. Education as an ethical event is conceptualised in reference to the plea for an ethical turn in curriculum conceptualisation. Teacher:child are received and (re)conciled within the classroom as unique cultural and human beings, continually moving towards becoming a human person within a shared human-ness in an educational context.

Dr Clara Bocchino (Faculty of Law)

Title: When the government owns our land: ethnographic and legal study on the Madimbo corridor (RSA).

The end of the apartheid period marked for South Africa the beginning of a new hope for equality, respect and democracy. In the vast rural areas of the country, where land and water are the critical resources for survival, land restitution became a fundamental process to fulfill that hope, as the current populist rhetoric does not fail to remind us. In border areas, particularly, access to water, grazing, wood and other natural resources had been hampering the opportunities for development of growing black populations. Whereas privately owned land restitution has been, from the beginning, rather successful in delivering title deeds to rural communities, especially when the owners where small private entities, the same may not be said for restitution of government-owned land. The two most advertised examples of the Nama people on the Richtersveld National Park and the Makuleke on the Kruger National Park provide important lessons learnt on how the government restitutes its land to communities that had been forcibly removed less than 50 years prior. The presentation explores the unprecedented conundrum of the Madimbo Corridor: it is owned not by South African National Parks but by the South African Defence Forces, and it is still used as a training ground.

Dr Shingairai Chigeza (Africa Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research - AUTHeR)

Title: Migration impact on family members left behind in Zimbabwe: implications on older persons.

Social, financial support, care and intergenerational relationships of families, in particular older persons left behind in the country of origin by family members that have migrated to South Africa. Implications of the above mentioned factors on the future care and support and well-being of older persons will be explored. This will be a collaboration research with North-West University and the University of Zimbabwe. Data will be collected in Zimbabwe. Participants will be based in Matabeleland and Mashonaland provinces in Zimbabwe. Mixed methods will be used. Phase 1 will be in quantitative and 200 participants from both provinces will be recruited for the study. Phase 2 will be qualitative and 5O participants from both provinces will be included. It is hoped the findings of this study will provide development of appropriate polices and intervention programmes that can facilitate social and care networks and intergenerational relations between family migrants and older persons left behind.

Dr Idan Chiynazul (Faculty of Engineering, Energy Systems Group)

Title: A rapid one-step microwave-assisted hydrolysis of sweet sorghum bagasse in dilute acid or base.

Sweet sorghum bagasse, the solid fraction left behind after juice extraction, is a lignocellulosic residue attractive feedstock for the production of bioethanol. As lignocellulosic materials have to be pretreated and enzymatically digested to fermentable sugars, the biological process hinders the strides toward making bioethanol production competitive. A simple one-step sweet sorghum bagasse acid or base hydrolysis in a domestic microwave-assisted is demonstrated. The sweet sorghum bagasse was mixed with 3-7 wt% H2SO4 or 3-7 wt % Ca(OH)2 at a solid loading of 5 wt% and then pretreated at various microwave powers (180 – 300W) for 20 minutes with aliquots take every 5 minutes. The maximum yield (0.82 g/g dry biomass) of total fermentable sugars were released at 180W, 5 wt% H2SO4 concentration in 20 minutes. Whereas, the highest total sugar yields of 0.27 g/g were achieved in microwave-assisted alkali pretreatment at 3 wt% Ca(OH)2, 300W in 10 minutes. The extent of structural disruption was evaluated using SEM and FTIR analysis.These results show microwave-assisted acid pretreatment is a powerful and effective process to obtain fermentable sugars from sweet sorghum bagasse.

Dr Courtney Cook (The School of Environmental Sciences and Development)

Title: Taxonomic and phylogenetic characterisation of South African tortoise and amphibian apicomplexan blood parasites

Cook (2008; 2012) and Cook et al. (2009; 2010; 2013), have provided the most recent research to date on the biodiversity, classification and relationships among apicomplexan parasites found in South African tortoises. This research was the first in this field in SA since that of Laveran (1905) and of Dias (1953) in neighbouring Mozambique. The recent global interest, in apicomplexan parasites of tortoises and their reptilian host-parasite relationships, makes elucidation of SA apicomplexan identity important. Accurate identification requires molecular techniques to confirm species taxonomy. Two of these tortoise apicomplexans, one a novel intraleucocytic apicomplexan, and the other, intraerythrocytic, both require molecular investigation, since their description alone allows only their broad classification. These problems with tortoise blood parasites, also serve to highlight the uncertainty regarding blood parasites of SA amphibians, an avenue only just begun to be appreciated. Success has already been achieved involving the accurate identification of one of the SA tortoise apicomplexan parasites using molecular techniques. Similar techniques, involving the use of tested primer sets on extracted parasite DNA and PCRs, will be employed to identify accurately the above apicomplexan occurring in tortoises and subsequently, at least some of those parasites observed parasitizing amphibians.

Dr Leon De Beer (Workwell Research Unit)

Title: From dusk till dawn: Job burnout and self-reported sleep difficulties in the presence of confounding variables.

Burnout, as a work-related phenomenon with negative consequences on employee functioning, is important and well documented. What is deserving of further investigation is how effort-recovery processes may be affected, for example through sleep. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether significant sleep difficulties are concomitantly reported when employees report experienced burnout, while controlling for known confounders age, gender, exercise, smoking habits and treatment for depression. A cross-sectional survey design was used in data collection. The sample consisted of 734 participants from the financial industry of South Africa. Advanced structural equation modelling methods were implemented in order to investigate the hypotheses. The categorical indicators could be specified as such in the analysis. A polychoric correlation matrix was computed to assist in the investigation of the hypothesis and to determine the associations between the variables. The results indicated that burnout was significantly and uniquely related to sleep difficulties, even in the presence of the other variables. The direction of the correlations between all of the variables was as could be expected, and burnout, reported treatment for depression as well as sleep difficulties were all positively and practically significantly related to each other. The results, limitations and practical implications of the study are discussed.

Dr Anna-Magriet de Wet & Dr Glynis Parker

Title: Communities in Conversation: Opportunities for women and girls’ self-empowerment

Safeguarding the rights of women and girls is a special concern within the context of prevailing gender discrimination and violence in South African societies, often rooted in cultural or religious contexts. In an internationally SANPAD funded research project (2010-2013), women teachers, mothers and caregivers in selected schools were engaged in research which was defined as Communities in Conversation (CiC). CiC aimed to involve women in conversations that focussed on human rights and human rights education within the context of gender, culture and religion.The notion drew on elements of Wenger’s Communities of Practice (CoP) concept, although in the CiC approach the focus fell on community and conversation and less on teaching-learning praxis. Empowerment of women in CiC came not only from sharing and learning but especially from the friendships and feelings of solidarity the participants experienced. In this article, the authors conceptualise theory related to CiC and share their experiences in CiC in two school communities.

Dr Oleksandr Dobzhanskyi (Faculty of Engineering, Energy Systems Group)

Title: Transverse Flux wind Power Generator for Residential Use

This project represents design and manufacture plan of one-phase wind power generator with double coil. The type of the generator belongs to the family of transverse flux machines. As known, permanent magnet transverse flux (PMTF) generators become very attractive nowadays due to their high power density and reliability. PMTF machines are widely used in power generation. With increase of power needs in the World, PMTF wind power generators have turned attention of many researches and scholars. In the Department of Electrical, Electronic, and Computer Engineering (NWU), a new type of PMTF generator is designed in order to be placed on the roof of a house. Unique design makes the generator compact, easy to manufacture, and cheap. The proposed topology of the generator does not have analogs in literature.

Dr Odile Lim Tung (Faculty of Law)

Title: The adequacy of the regulatory framework for Genetically Modified Organisms in South Africa

Genetic engineering is being developed in South Africa, primarily for use in agriculture and food production systems with a relatively well-developed biotechnological capacity. GMOs commercially available in South Africa are said to be up to 80% of the total maize crop, 90% of the total soybean crop and 100% of the total cotton crop and it is the current leader of GM crops in Africa. While there are benefits for the development and use of GMOs, there are also risks of possible damage to the environment, human and animal health. Damage may occur by accident or through an unintentional release of GMOs that were not approved for human consumption or for commercial cultivation. Does the regulatory framework cater for the contamination of seeds or other non-GM plants cultivated for the organic products' market? Is compensation available when the GM plant fails to produce kernels or to increase yields? Other legal issues pertain to the establishment of the causal link with the damage, liability issues, financial guarantees and dispute settlement procedures. The main objective of this research is to analyse the shortcomings of the South African regulatory framework for GMOs and make recommendations for its improvement.

Dr Serena Lucreze (Tourism Research in Economic Environs & Society – TREES)

Title: Coastal recreation in South Africa: From ecological impacts to environmental awareness

South Africa encompasses over 3700 km of coastline, offering tourists opportunities for holidays and recreation. Coastal recreation in South Africa encompasses an array of activities, such as scuba diving, fishing, hiking, and four-wheel driving. However, with these activities are associated impacts, which reflect on the state of marine ecosystems from reefs to beaches and dunes. In order to assist the proper management of marine environmental assets in South Africa, we carried a series of studies investigating two main aspects: the ecological effects of some recreation-related human impacts (four-wheel driving and infrastructure development) on marine environments (beaches and dunes), as measured in the environment itself via the use of ecological indicators (vegetation and invertebrates); and ecological impacts of recreational activities (scuba diving) on marine environments (reefs) as perceived by the people carrying out these activities. Results showed that while certain regulatory interventions (e.g., restrictions to the use of beaches by off-road vehicles) translate into biological returns to the benefit of marine environments, some impacts (e.g., from infrastructure development) can cause severe alterations in community compositions (e.g., of coastal dune vegetation). Furthermore, the perceptions that recreationists have of their impact on other marine environment need to be refined.

Dr Kerry Ann Malherbe (The School of Environmental Sciences and Development)

Title: Parasitic cymothoid isopods from southern Africa

Parasitic isopods are rarely studied in South Africa and thus little information is available on their biodiversity, distribution and hosts from this region. This data is necessary to understand the effects these parasites might have on the South African fish populations and the aquatic environment as a whole. A review of the parasitic isopods in South Africa showed that only 15 of the 400 known cymothoid species were recorded from this region. This low number of cymothoids can only be due to a lack of sampling as southern Africa is known for its high marine invertebrate diversity. It is thus hypothesised, that with thorough sampling the known number of cymothoids will drastically increase. Therefore, the aims of this project were to do an in-depth study on the biodiversity of these parasites, compile data on their distribution and hosts, as well as to study their relationships using molecular techniques. Early results have already included the discovery of new host and species records, numerous taxonomic misidentifications of previously described species, as well as at least three new species to science.

Dr Wynand Malherbe (Faculty of Environmental Sciences)

Title: An Investigation of the Association between Genetic Diversity and Contaminants in the Klip RIver System

The Klip River drains a significant portion of Johannesburg and Ekhurhuleni in Gauteng. Many studies on the Klip River have revolved around the determination of contaminants in the system. This study will continue from previous studies on the river as baseline. Initial work will focus on the gathering of previous reports to provide a synthesis of the current impacts on the system. The RRM (O’Brien and Wepener, 2012) makes use of PRA methodology to assess the value of the river system and its related resources as perceived by stakeholders as well as their understanding of the impacts of pollution and resulting degradation. Water and sediment samples will be analysed for metal and organic pollutant concentrations (Wepener et al. 2011). Tissue samples will also be collected and placed in liquid nitrogen for subsequent biomarker analyses. Biomarkers will be analysed according to Wepener et al. 2011. In addition DNA extraction and analysis will be conducted based on the Soltis Lab CTAB DNA Extraction Protocol (Doyle & Doyle, 1987). A lot is known about levels of contamination on the Klip River system. However, less is known about the impacts of the contamination on genetic diversity which is an important component of biodiversity. . Multivariate analysis will be used to determine correlations between diversity data, pollutant accumulation and biomarker responses. An understanding of the genetic organization of key taxa will contribute towards formulation of appropriate conservation and management strategies of these taxa thus contributing towards sustainability of the ecosystem.

Dr Edgard Ngounda (Faculty of Economic & Management Sciences)

Title: Mathematical applications to option pricing

Numerical Analysis is a part of mathematics that investigates and studies efficient methods for computing approximated solutions of physical problems modeled by mathematical systems. One such application area of numerical analysis is that of financial mathematics, more specifically pricing options. Options are mainly used for speculation and hedging. Speculative investors trade the option to make money according to their judgment of the trend of the asset prices. For example, since the underlying stock is subjected to market's fluctuations, the holder of the call option is likely to make money if at the exercise date the asset is worth more than the strike price and decides to sell it. On the other hand the option is worthless if at the exercise date, the stock price is less than the strike price. Besides, hedging happens when investors want to secure the investment by reducing the risk of unpredictable events in the financial market In our research program, we focus on financial application where aim to design and implement numerical techniques for pricing financial derivatives such as options and interest rate. The essential mathematical theory is developed for such methods and the proposed approach is extended for multi-asset problems to swaptions.

Dr Anja Otto (Drug Research & Development)

Title: Emulsion-based delivery systems for topical application

Emulsions are thermodynamically unstable systems that necessitate emulsifiers for the formation and stabilisation of them. A literature review has shown that emulsifiers could affect dermal and transdermal delivery, depending on the structure and physicochemical properties of the emulsifier/emulsifier system. In this study, three different biopolymers with different charges, i.e. whey proteins alone and in combination with chitosan or carrageenan, were chosen as emulsifiers. In previous studies it was shown that whey proteins can be used to stabilise emulsions as well as to prepare oil powders and the stability could be improved by the electrostatic deposition of oppositely charged polysaccharides onto the whey proteins. The various emulsions were investigated for their emulsion properties, e.g. droplet size, zeta potential, viscosity, stability (creaming index) and release. The formulations were then applied onto split-thickness human abdominal skin in vitro using Franz type diffusion cells and the dermal and transdermal delivery of salicylic acid was determined. In summary, this study showed that the emulsifiers and their different charges significantly affected skin absorption. The enhanced skin absorption at lower pH values could be explained by the pH-partition theory and the effect of positively charged emulsion droplets that could have interacted with the negatively charged skin surface. Furthermore, it could be seen that chitosan acted as a permeation enhancer.

Dr Svelka Hoebel (Physical Activity, Sport and Recreation - PhASRec)

Title: Optimizing waist circumference as a predictor of the metabolic syndrome and its components in a South African cohort at 3 year follow up: the SABPA prospective cohort.

Purpose: The aim of this study was to contribute to the development of ethnic-specific waist circumferences (WC) with which to better identify the presence of the metabolic syndrome (MetS) in persons of African descent. Method: The data from 74 African men and 76 African women in the age group 24-65 were analysed. Measurements included anthropometric and biological markers for the metabolic syndrome (MetS) (systolic and diastolic blood pressure, glucose, triglycerides and high density lipoprotein/HdL).Results: ROC analysis determined pathological WC cut-points of 99cm for men and 96cm for women for the MetS. Pathological WC cut-points significantly predicted MetS in both groups. Odds ratios of 13.36 (95% CI 1.690-11.45) was found for the ROC developed WC cut-point (99cm) in men for the MetS and of 4.33 (95% CI 1.57-11.94) in women when using the WC cut-point of 96 cm. Using these new cut-points to determine the prevalence of MetS, it was determined that 70% and 50% of the men and women respectively presented with the MetS.Conclusion: ROC developed WC cut-points of 99 cm for men and 96 cm for women are good predictors of the metabolic syndrome (MetS) in a South African cohort.

Dr Lurii Sushch (School of Physical & Chemical Sciences)

Title: Modelling of the multi-wavelength emission from the Vela Supernova remnant

Supernova remnants (SNRs) are leftovers of powerful explosions of the very massive stars. They feature very strong shocks which expand into the interstellar medium sweeping up the ambient gas and accelerating particles to very high energies. SNRs produce the electro-magnetic emission across the whole spectrum from radio to gamma-rays and considered to be origins of Galactic cosmic rays, which makes them extremely interesting objects to study. The Vela SNR is one of the closest to the Earth SNRs and it benefits from precise measurements of various physical parameters such as age and distance. Therefore it is a perfect object for a detailed study of physical processes in SNRs. Both radio and X-ray emission from the Vela SNR feature a complicated irregular morphology. In this work we show that this might be due to the very inhomogeneous cloudy ambient medium and interaction with the stellar wind bubble of the nearby Wolf-Rayet star. Unfortunately, the Vela SNR is not yet detected at very high gamma-ray energies. We calculate the expected gamma-ray flux and show that it can be detected with the next generation instruments such as Cherenkov Telescope Array.

Dr Andrey Tokarev (Chemical Resource Beneficiation - CRB)

Title: Design of bimetallic Pt-based electrocatalyst on extended-surface support for advanced hydrogen pumping and separations

For hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) applications there is a demanding requirement for the H2 purity. There is a vast opportunity to produce H2 from various sources, including fossil fuels; however, in many cases such hydrogen will contain various impurities, such as CO. It is known that addition of Ru to Pt catalyst prevents its poisoning by CO [1]. It is also known that novel extended-surface supports, such as 3M nanostructured thin film (NSTF) catalysts [2], provide high accessible stable surface area [2, 3] saving the precious metal and changes catalyst structure altering reaction rate: H2 + PtxRuy → 2H+ + 2e- . We present results of periodic density-functional theory (DFT) modeling of H2 and CO adsorption on PtxBy (where B – is Ru or other metal) catalyst with introduced defects (such as contraction, stretching, surface step) to simulate structural changes caused by extended-surface support. Based on that, we correlate adsorption reactions activities with catalyst composition and support parameters.

Dr Patricks Voua Otomo (Faculty of Environmental Sciences)

Title: The Enchytraeid Reproduction Test (ERT): A Potentially Quick and Affordable Tool for the Assessment of Metal Contaminated Soils in Emerging Economies

The enchytraeid reproduction test (ERT) was used to assess the ecotoxicity of selected mine tailings and agricultural soils from South Africa. The mine tailings had higher cumulative metal concentrations than agricultural soils. The most contaminated mine tailings significantly reduced the survival of the oligochaete Enchytraeus doerjesi whose reproduction was suppressed in all mine waste substrates. Because it reliably singled out the most contaminated substrate and was found easy to perform, I suggest that the ERT could be a quick and affordable tool for assigning intervention values for soil remediation in emerging economies such as South Africa.

Dr Lisa Ware (Hypertension in Africa Research Team – HART)

Title: Stress, happiness and perceptions of hypertension in South African adults from low income households

Recent estimates suggest that around 6 million South Africans have hypertension, with almost half of these classified with Stage 1 or mild hypertension. The current South African Hypertension Society (SAHS) Guidelines discuss the treatment of hypertension in South Africa and in particular, the economic sustainability of lifelong drug therapy. In consideration of the particular challenges faced by the South African health care sector, the Guidelines suggest that drug therapy may be delayed and lifestyle modification employed for all hypertensive individuals excluding only those with the highest levels of risk. However, successful support of lifestyle modification requires an in depth understanding of the factors that influence lifestyle and health decision making practices. In a study of 9,731 South African adults over 30 years attending private primary healthcare services, hypertension prevalence rates were found to be highest in the black African community (59% compared to 50% in the white community). It is likely this is an underestimate of risk as four times as many black South Africans report going without medical care compared to their white counterparts and 80% of South African black males are unaware of their hypertension. These statistics are likely to be influenced by many biopsychosocial factors. This study seeks to understand better the knowledge and perceptions of adults from low income households around hypertension to determine the factors associated with healthcare seeking behaviour and to inform intervention programmes in this community.






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