High Honour for UKZN Academic
UKZN Chemistry academic, Professor Sreekantha Jonnalagadda, has been elected to the Fellowship of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) after a rigorous review and evaluation by independent reviewers followed by a vote by Fellows of the Academy.
The C2-rated researcher, who is also a Fellow of UKZN and of the South African Chemical Institute (SACI), joins a handful of South African academics who are Fellows of the AAS, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) Director, Professor Salim Abdool Karim.
Jonnalagadda will receive his Certificate of Fellowship at the next General Assembly Meeting of the AAS in June.
The AAS seeks to honour African scientists who have won international renown for their work, and to encourage the development of research and technology across the continent. Fellows of the AAS work closely with the Academy in achieving these goals as they support and mobilise the science communities around them, disseminate knowledge through publications and teaching, and develop capacity-building, research and policies in science and technology.
Jonnalagadda’s recognition by the Academy comes as a result of decades of productivity and excellence in his field - he has consistently been rated among the Top 30 Published Researchers at UKZN with over 235 publications to his name over the course of his career. During the past 35 years, much of his work has also focused on capacity-building.
His expertise lies in water chemistry and the treatment of non-biodegradable toxic substances using advanced oxidation processes, involving ozone and reusable novel mixed oxide catalysts.
Jonnalagadda has participated in more than 110 research conferences in over 40 different countries.
Jonnalagadda, who began his career as Professor of Chemistry at the then-University of Durban-Westville in 1995, said the merger with the former University of Natal gave a welcome boost to the production of quality research at the new University. His career has been classified by ambition to achieve the best he can while maintaining a grounded approach, evidenced by the credit he gives his postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows in his success.
Jonnalagadda described his election as an honour, saying it gave him the opportunity to interact with peers in his field and with accomplished luminaries from other disciplines, paving the way for new research projects and openings for young researchers.
‘I intend to contribute positively to the AAS by increasing awareness of science and promoting vital issues related to water and sanitation and climate change, which are my strengths,’ said Jonnalagadda. ‘Our research group is also active in research linked to food security through assessing the nutritional status and quality of various indigenous fruits and vegetation.’