The youngest Associate Professor at UKZN’s College of Health Sciences, Prof Tricia Naicker, was recently awarded the 2020 Raikes Medal by the South African Chemical Institute.
The medal acknowledges a member of the institute, under the age of 40, whose original chemical research shows outstanding promise, as adjudged by publications in reputable journals from research performed in South Africa.
Naicker is only one of three researchers (and the first female) from UKZN to win the Raikes Medal since its inception in 1961.
“I really feel honoured to have won in this category and am thankful to my nominator and long-time mentor Professor Gert Kruger,” said an elated Naicker.
To add to her accolades, Naicker is also the winner of the prestigious UKZN Vice-Chancellor’s 2019 Award valued at R150 000. The award is presented each year to a pre-eminent researcher at UKZN in recognition of outstanding research achievements and the international reputation acquired.
Her most recent and remarkable milestone was reaching her 100th publication in 2020, the university said.
“I hope my success encourages other emerging academics and students to pursue their goals in whichever subject they are passionate about,” she said.
Naicker has been part of the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences, since 2013, and is consistently rated in the top 10 young researchers at UKZN. She holds various other national awards from the Department of Science and Technology and National Research Foundation.
She specialises in method development within the synthesis of biologically important intermediates/drugs within the field of antibacterials.
Naicker thanked her hardworking students, dedicated mentors and collaborators at the Catalysis and Peptide Research Unit, while not forgetting the support of her family.
The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s College of Health Sciences deputy vice-chancellor, Prof Busi Ncama congratulated Naicker: “I am very proud of Prof Tricia Naicker being an academic in our college. I am not surprised that she received this award, she is an outstanding and dedicated researcher and she is also very humble.”
Ncama added that the university community was equally proud of Naicker and commended her for continuing to fly the UKZN flag high.
– Issued by UKZN Corporate Relations