UCT academic receives distinguished AAAS fellow lifetime honour

25 Apr 2024 | By Velisile Bukula
Valarie Mizrahi

 Photo by, Robyn Walker

25 Apr 2024 | By Velisile Bukula

Emerita Professor Valerie Mizrahi, the director of the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Molecular Mycobacteriology Research Unit (MMRU), and former director of the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, has been recognised with a prestigious lifetime fellow honour from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Mizrahi joins the AAAS latest class comprising 502 scientists, engineers, and innovators across 24 AAAS disciplinary sections. The newly elected Fellows overwhelmingly represent the fields of biological sciences, chemistry, medical sciences, and engineering, followed by neuroscience and physics.

The AAAS Council annually elects members for their “scientifically or socially distinguished” contributions to the advancement of science or its applications. This selection process is meticulous to maintain the significance of the honour.

Mizrahi is honoured for her distinguished contributions to fundamental understanding of and applications in overcoming antibiotic resistance to tuberculosis.

She said this recognition reflects not only her personal commitment to the advancement of scientific research but also the incredible support and collaboration she has had throughout her career. “This acknowledgement highlights the world-class research happening at UCT and underscores our dedication to making meaningful contributions to global scientific communities. This honour is a testament to the hard work of the amazing people I’ve been privileged to work with in the MMRU, both past and present, and I greatly look forward to continuing our impactful work on the biology of TB,” said Mizrahi.

AAAS has highlighted the importance of this year's Fellows as they tackle pressing issues such as emerging technologies, environmental concerns and science education while advancing groundbreaking therapies and scientific discussions.

The programme celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. AAAS Chief Executive Officer Dr Sudip Parikh stated: “As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the AAAS Fellows Program, AAAS is proud to recognise the newly elected individuals. This year’s class embodies scientific excellence, fosters trust in science throughout the communities they serve, and leads the next generation of scientists while advancing scientific achievements."

Mizrahi and her fellow honourees will receive certificates and gold and blue rosette pins representing science and engineering, respectively. The award ceremony will be held at a forum on 21 September 2024. The Fellows programme will celebrate its milestone anniversary at the National Building Museum in Washington, USA.