Emeritus Professor Wieland Gevers completed his MBChB at the University of Cape Town in 1960, and then a D Phil at the University of Oxford under the supervision of the Nobel prize-winner Sir Hans Krebs. He then spent time as a Postdoctoral fellow at the Rockefeller University with Nobel laureate Fritz Lipmann. In 1971 he established the Department of Medical Biochemistry at Stellenbosch University where he was appointed as a Professor; and in 1978 he started and headed the Department of Medical Biochemistry at UCT. During this time, he was Director of 3 Research MRC/UCT Units: the Muscle Research Unit, the Unit for Cell Biology and Atherosclerosis, and the Unit for Molecular and Cellular Cardiology. Professor Gevers launched the South African Biochemical Society (now the South African Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), which he represented for 20 years at the International Union of Biochemistry. In 1992 he was appointed Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor at UCT responsible for academic affairs.
Professor Gevers helped to develop the higher education system in South Africa - he established and chaired, for nearly a decade, the first regional consortium of higher education institutions in South Africa (now the Cape Higher Education Consortium, CHEC), and the first consortial library system in the country (CALICO). He was also Founding Member and President of the Academy of Science of South Africa; chaired ASSAf’s Committee on Scholarly Publishing in South Africa; and was responsible for driving the DST-funded programme for the implementation of the ten recommendations of the 2006 ASSAf Report on this topic.
Back in 2001, he was responsible for establishing the IDM including the refurbishment of the present buildings in which the IDM is principally based, and the new Wolfson Pavilion, assisting with the raising of funds for this award-winning building. Professor Gevers served as the IDM Interim Director until the official opening of the IDM in 2005.
Over his lifetime Professor Gevers has received a number of very prestigious awards which acknowledge his enormous contribution to the fields of biochemistry and molecular biology, cancer research, and overall scholarly pursuits. In acknowledging this, a Symposium was held in honour of Professor Gevers on Monday 27th November:
“Beyond the Canonical Roles of Metabolism: Reflections and Looking Ahead”.
The day was hosted by the ASSAf, the Department of Integrative Biological Sciences (UCT) and the IDM (UCT). The full programme of talks, presented by both international and national speakers, is given below.