The Department of Science and Technology (DST) hosts the South African Women in Science Awards (WISA) annually to recognise and reward the achievements of South African women scientists and researchers.
This year Oxford Nuffield Medical Fellow, Dr Sengeziwe Sibeko, is the First Runner-up for the 'Development of Rural Women: Emerging Researchers' Award.
Dr Sebeko is a specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist who obtained medical qualifications at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and Colleges of Medicine of South Africa. She received the prestigious Columbia University Southern African Fogarty Aids international training and research programme fellowship and completed her MSc in Epidemiology at Columbia University, New York, in 2009.
She is an Oxford Nuffield Medical Fellow based at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital at Oxford University, where she is registered for a PhD in HIV mucosal immunology of the female reproductive tract. She has co-authored 16 peer-reviewed articles in publications, including Science and is a member of 11 scientific committees, including the World Health Organisation’s contraceptive and HIV task force.
Dr Sibeko's research interests are in the betterment of women’s health, especially in respect of the HIV/Aids epidemic. Her specific interests include understanding biological mechanisms responsible for increased HIV acquisition risk in women for the ultimate purpose of development of an effective HIV-preventive strategy in the form of either a microbicide or vaccine.