Prof who sat on Covid-19 ministerial advisory committee named North West University's deputy VC

Prof Maphahlaganye Jeffrey Mphahlele will head a formidable team of researchers, innovators and academics, says North West University.
Prof Maphahlaganye Jeffrey Mphahlele will head a formidable team of researchers, innovators and academics, says North West University.
Image: Supplied/NWU

North West University (NWU) has appointed Prof Maphahlaganye Jeffrey Mphahlele as its deputy vice-chancellor for research and innovation.

The university announced the appointment on Tuesday, after its council confirmed it recently.  

Council chair Dr Bismark Tyobeka said it had full confidence in Mphahlele’s ability to take research and innovation at NWU to greater heights.

“His verve, commitment to research excellence and renowned expertise will make him a welcome — and integral — part of the NWU. Prof Mphahlele will head a formidable team of researchers, innovators and academics, who have through their consistent high-quality outputs placed the NWU among the cream of the crop of South African universities. This can be seen in the latest Times Higher Education ranking for emerging economies universities in 2021, in which the university is ranked 97th out of 606 participating universities,” said Tyobeka.

Mphahlele holds a doctoral degree in medical virology (1999), a master’s degree in virology (1995), a BSc honours degree (1993) and a degree in microbiology (1992).

According to the university, his resume is a shining testimony to his excellent work in the field of research and his contributions specifically in the scientific medical field.

“This has led to him serving on the ministerial advisory committee on Covid-19 vaccines in the ministry of health since 2020. He has also published in various research publications on crucial topics such as strengthening immunisation services and policies and the vaccination control of infectious diseases,” said the institution.

Prof Dan Kgwadi, principal and vice-chancellor of NWU, said he was looking forward to welcoming Prof Mphahlele to the university.

“I am confident that he will make a huge contribution to our research and innovation portfolio and the university as a whole.”

Described as an active and expert member in the scientific community, Mphahlele has served as vice-president for research at the SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC) since October 2014. He has also been elected as a member of the Academy of Science of SA (ASSAF) and has been acknowledged as a C1 NRF-rated researcher since 2017.

His career highlights, which include being a scientific adviser, lecturer, scientist and research fellow, are being academic head and chair at the department of virology at the University of Limpopo and the National Health Laboratory Service's (NHL's) Medical University of SA (Medunsa) campus (August 2005 to September 2014).

Mphahlele was co-director at the SAMRC's diarrheal pathogens research unit at the World Health Organisation's Rotavirus Regional Reference Laboratory for Africa at the Sefako Makgatho Health Services University and National Health Laboratory Service (February 2007 to March 2018). He cofounded the South African Vaccination and Immunisation Centre in 2005, and he was the head of the organisation from 2005 until 2014.

Always investing in the future of young scientists, he has trained, supervised and mentored many postdoctoral, doctoral and master's students. He serves on a number of governance and advisory structures.


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