Gold and Silver Medal Winners 2024:

The SASBMB council is thrilled to bestow the prestigious Gold and Silver Medals upon Prof Edward (Ed) Sturrock and Prof Thulani Makhalanyane, respectively. These esteemed awards, to be presented at the 28th SASBMB congress (2024) hosted by the University of Limpopo, recognise their outstanding contributions to the fields of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Prof Sturrock, B1 NRF-rated researcher and a champion for biochemistry, enzymology, and structural biology, is a professor at the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine in the Department of Integrative Biomedical Sciences at the University of Cape Town. Prof Sturrock’s research, since the 1990s, has focused on biochemical, structural and medicinal chemistry approaches towards understanding the mechanism of action and applications of peptidases such as angiotensin-converting enzymes (ACE) in the fields of hypertension and cardiovascular disease.  His group’s work on the engineered expression of the enzyme when minimally glycosylated paved the way for the solutions of the world’s first crystal structure of ACE. Prof Sturrock’s published research covers the fields of protein biochemistry, biological chemistry and clinical sciences, with over 130 publications and an H-index of 34 (Scopus). His drug discovery research has resulted in the award of six patents addressing the development of novel ACE inhibitors and potential drug candidates for the treatment of hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. Professor Sturrock has always had a passion for bringing fundamental research findings into clinical utility. He is a founding member and director of the spin-off company AngioDesign (UK) Ltd.

Prof Makhalanyane, a professor in the Department of Microbiology and the School of Data Sciences and Computational Thinking at Stellenbosch University, is the founding Chair of the DSI/NRF SARChI in Marine Microbiomics. As the Director of the International Symposium on Microbial Ecology Ambassador Program, he actively promotes outreach in over 100 countries. He was awarded his PhD in 2013 from the University of the Western Cape. He was appointed Lecturer in 2014 at the University of Pretoria (UP) and promoted to Associate Professor in 2019 and Full Professor in January 2023. He joined SU in November 2023. His research focuses on understanding microbial communities in extreme environments such as the Southern Ocean of Southern Africa and has resulted in over 80 publications with over 2900 citations and numerous keynote presentations. He has co-authored papers in leading multidisciplinary journals, including Nature and Science. Prof Makhalanyane has received several national and international awards. He is a previous Fulbright Scholar and has been awarded the prestigious TW-Kambule-NSTF Award for Emerging Researcher in 2015. Additionally, he was awarded the UP Exceptional Achievers Award (in 2019, 2020 – 2024) by the UP. Prof Makhalanyane currently holds a P-rating from the NRF.

SASBMB 2024 News Images


FEBS-IUBMB-ENABLE 2nd International Molecular BioSciences PhD & Postdoc Conference

SASBMB is proud to announce that Abdulsalam Rukayat Abiola, from Durban University of Technology’s Department of Biotechnology and Food Science, and Vishaal Patel, from the Biochemistry Department at Stellenbosch University, were awarded the Millipore Sigma IUBMB-ENABLE-Africa Fellowship Award. This award allowed them to attend the FEBS-IUBMB-ENABLE 2nd International Molecular BioSciences PhD & Postdoc Conference at the University of Cologne, Germany in November 2023.

Abiola, who obtained her undergraduate and previous postgraduate degrees from the University of Ilorin Nigeria, presented her PhD research which focuses on the development and application of essential oil-impregnated modified chitosan and its use in the preservation of tomato fruits. Vishaal, who is in the final year of his PhD studies in the research group of Prof Erick Strauss, presented his PhD research entitled “Repurposing the cholesterol-lowering drug Bempedoic acid (ETC-1002) for targeted cancer treatment” at the conference.

This conference was organized especially for PhD students and Postdoctoral Fellows by SASBMB’s parent organization, IUBMB together with FEBS and ENABLE.

SASBMB News Images

IUBMB is coming to South Africa

The 27th IUBMB/SASBMB/FASBMB Congress will be held in Cape Town at the CTICC in 2027. Congratulations to the bid committee for representing SASBMB/FASBMB and winning the bid. The local organising committee, chaired by Prof Ed Sturrock and Prof Sharon Prince from UCT, is already busy behind the scenes preparing to host this international meeting in South Africa. This would be the first time that an IUBMB meeting will be held in Africa.  



The very first SASBMB council meeting was held recently (28/02/2022) under the leadership of SASBMB president Francois Van Der Westhuizen. Jo de la Mare from Rhodes University was elected as the new Vice-President of SASBMB, handing over her reigns as secretary to the newly elected council member Carmen Pheiffer from the SAMRC. In addition, Wolf-Dieter Schubert from University of Pretoria was elected as treasurer. Two new postgraduate students were also elected to serve on council, namely Karli Bothma a PhD student from Stellenbosch University and Christie Smit a MSc student from Rhodes University.


Council is delighted to announce that the 28th SASBMB congress will be hosted by the University of Venda in 2024!
The Local Organizing committee is led by Prof Addmore Shonhai from the department of Biochemistry and Microbiology at UniVen. We thank Addmore and his team for stepping up to the plate and wish them all the best with the planning for the congress. We trust that the COVID-19 pandemic will have subsided to the point that we can meet face-to-face in Thohoyandou in June/July 2024!


Congratulations to Prof Paul Kappo who was elected as vice-president of the Federation of African Societies of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (FASBMB). This is amazing for SASBMB and South Africa.



The Executive Council of SASBMB, would will like to congratulate Prof Dubery on this occasion of his retirement; for all he has painstakingly achieved over many years and specifically thank him for meritorious service to Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in South Africa and Africa. We wish this “faithful servant of Biochemistry” good health as he embarked upon this new phase of his life. It is our desire that though retired, he will still be much available to offer service to this esteemed discipline of science.

Prof Dubery who is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Johannesburg is retiring after 40 years as a scientist and academic. Follow the link to read more about Prof Dubery’s contribution to Biochemistry and his recognition by the Department of Biochemistry at UJ.

Prof Abidemi Paul Kappo
President: SASBMB



Prof Iqbal Parker, co-opted member of our SASBMB council and invaluable member of our society has recently been elected as Vice-President of the Governing Council for the Southern Africa Region by the African Academy of Sciences (AAS). This prestigious organisation encourages excellence through fellowships and award schemes thereby shaping Science, Technology & Innovation in Africa. Fellows of the AAS are recognised for their excellence in their field of expertise and have made contributions to the advancement of the field on the African continent.

Read more here: 


Congratulations to Dr Priscilla Masamba who is the first University of Zululand researcher to use the UK’s National Synchrotron Light Source, Diamond!!! Dr Masamba, using the Diamond’s I04-1 beamline remotely from South Africa, solved the partial structure of a protein from Schistosoma mansoni. Access to the synchrotron was made possible by GCRF-START. The collaboration between Prof Abidemi Paul Kappo (SASBMB’s current president), who heads up to Biotechnology & Structural Biology (BSB) Research group in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology at the University of Zululand and Prof Trevor Sewell (SASBMB Gold award winner), START Principal Investigator of UCT’s Aaron Klug Centre for Imaging & Analysis facilitated Dr Masamba to use the synchrotron. Please read more about Dr Masamba’s wonderful achievement by following the link:

Close Menu