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Media Release

Thyroid and Diabetes Symposium

SEMDSA press release: World Diabetes Day.
Eyes on Diabetes: The time to act is now

John Khumalo* thought that he was in good shape for his age. He had put on a few extra kilograms since he had turned 50 but this was on par with most of his friends. He knew that he should exercise more often and should probably pay more attention to his diet. He went to see his doctor because he thought he had a sore throat. During the consultation Mr. Khumalo mentioned that he was always thirsty and tired these days. His doctor tested his blood glucose levels and found them to be markedly elevated. Mr. Khumalo was diagnosed as having diabetes and was commenced on therapy. John Khumalo often tells his friends that the throat infection probably saved his life. Mr. Khumalo’s experience is, unfortunately, all too common.

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Media statement

Applications are invited for a three year PhD position within the WITS/MRC Developmental Pathways for Health Research Unit, in collaboration with the South African Medical Research Council for a project entitled: “Determinants of type 2 diabetes mellitus risk in middle-aged black South African men and women: dissecting the role of sex hormones, inflammation and glucocorticoids”.

The research project will address the rising burden of type 2 diabetes in black middle-aged South Africans. The project will examine the changes in sex hormone levels over the menopausal transition in women, and in men of the same age, and explore the effects of body fat distribution and insulin sensitivity and secretion, dissecting the specific roles of glucocorticoids and inflammatory mediators in the context of HIV. The study population will comprise a middle-aged cohort from the urban township of Soweto in Johannesburg, SA.
There are two PhD positions offered.
1) One PhD position will have a major focus on epidemiology, taking a broader approach to understanding the role of body composition, inflammation and glucocorticoid metabolism in determining insulin sensitivity and type 2 diabetes risk in middle aged black South Africans.
2) One PhD position will focus on the mechanisms underlying these associations with a specific focus on adipose tissue biology. This student will have the opportunity to travel to Oxford for a period of 6 months to receive training in adipose tissue biology from our international collaborator.
Candidates must have a Masters degree or equivalent thereof in the health and biological sciences.
The successful candidates will be required to register for their PhD at the University of the Witwatersrand, but will form part of a collaborative research team, including researchers from the WITS/MRC Developmental Pathways for Health Research Unit, the South African Medical Research Council, Umeå University, Sweden and Oxford University, UK.
The value of the Fellowship is R200 000/annum (tax free), which is renewable annually for a period of 3 years dependant on the progress of the candidate.
Applicants are requested to submit the following:
  1. A covering letter indicating your suitability for the position;
  2. Curriculum vitae, including references;
  3. Copy of your ID book;
  4. Certified copies of your qualifications.
Only applications that include the above requirements will be considered.

Please submit all required documentation to Mrs Prisha Pillay on e-mail: or fax no (011) 933-3424.

Closing date for applications is 15 March 2016 with the expected start date of the fellowship in April 2016.

For further enquiries, please contact Dr Lisa Micklesfield at 021-650 3135 or or assoc prof julia goedecke at 021-9380862 or

Greetings from SEMDSA!  

We would like to make you aware of new and exciting opportunities for basic/applied scientists involved in SEMDSA:

  1. SEMDSA Basic/Applied Science Bursary for Msc/PhD students for 2016 – 2017/8. Please see attached for details. Note - Closing date is the 31 August 2015;
  2. SEMDSA has made R100,000 available to assist basic/applied scientists to attend the annual SEMDSA conference each year;
  3. SEMDSA Scientist Travel Award – R40,000 per year for one selected scientist to attend an international conference;
  4. Annual SEMDSA membership fees only R500/year (no increases in the past 2 years);
  5. SEMDSA Chat Forum on the SEMDSA website (similar to research gate, but specifically for SEMDSA members), which will enable:
    • All researchers to specify their areas of expertise and interest
    • Exchange of ideas
      • To reduce duplication and encourage synergy and collaboration
      • Identify gaps in the literature
      • Develop collaborative links within and between research groups AND disciplines – ie. clinicians and basic/applied scientists
    • Exchange expertise and research tools:
      • Techniques : Basic  - applied – clinical
      • Equipment 
      • Tools e.g. questionnaires
      • Reagents 
      • Animals
      • Clinical procedures e.g. clamp techniques

Please refer to our website for further details on SEMDSA and to join our exciting organization! 

Please also follow us on Twitter @SEMDSAorg to keep in touch with other exciting SEMDSA activities. 

Kind regards

Julia Goedecke

on behalf of SEMDSA Exec (Basic/Applied Scientist representative)



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