Professor Colleen Aldous Among UKZN’s Top Published Researchers
Academic Leader for Research in the School of Clinical Medicine Professor Colleen Aldous is among UKZN’s Top 30 Published Researchers for 2016.
Aldous, one of four College of Health Sciences academics on the list, said: ‘While I do not use the acknowledgement as a gauge of my worth as an academic, the acknowledgement it brings is gratifying.’
The Top 30 published researchers are determined each year by the number of peer-reviewed journal author units published in Department of Higher Education and Training-recognised and accredited journals.
Aldous says the accomplishment entrenched a sense of responsibility. ‘I see being on the list as an acknowledgement rather than accomplishment. I see this attention as encouragement to continue. Two years ago I was on the list and last year I fell back down in the 50s without much change in effort and outputs. Although I personally feel I work constantly at a consistent pace, the list can change with other achievements.’
Her research interest was originally in the field of genetics, but she has become involved in a broader range of clinical disciplines. ‘There is a common thread that goes through all of them - that of highlighting a clinical need that needs to be addressed. I have coined the term “activism research” for what I do now. My activism is in the area of medicine where the ultimate aim is to show where resources are required in healthcare,’ she said.
‘I know that what I do is at least an attempt, whether successful or not, to improve healthcare for those who don’t know what they should be getting.’
She had this advice for other researchers: ‘If you have chosen a career as a researcher you have taken on the mantle of responsibility to increase the pool of knowledge that exists and make it useful. Do not allow yourself to be hobbled by conventional thought.’
Aldous says there are three kinds of people in the world - those who do nothing, those who are obstructionists and those who are facilitators.
‘Those who do nothing are harmless and ineffectual. Obstructionists obstruct progress and are the bane of a researcher’s life. It is very sad that the obstructionists so often tie the hands of the facilitators. Remember the responsibility of a researcher is to move forward!’
Aldous says she is a mother and a daughter before an academic, ‘I don’t make a fuss of work things with my family. They all have their own achievements that are beyond what I have achieved.’
She describes herself as an ordinary woman who enjoys knitting, crocheting and baking for her family.
Words by: Nombuso Dlamini