Ernesta Meintjes elected as ASSAf Member
Congratulations to Prof Ernesta Meintjes to her recent election as a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)! This election is a prestigious acknowledgement of Prof Meintjes' indisputable achievements in the pursuit and advancement of magnetic resonance imaging science and its applications.
Professor Meintjes is the leading magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) research scientist in South Africa. She was instrumental in the establishment of the Cape Universities Body Imaging Centre (CUBIC), of which she is the director. CUBIC specialises in both the development of MRI technology and its application to conditions that are prevalent in South Africa. CUBIC houses the only research-dedicated MRI scanner in sub-Saharan Africa. This facility allows South African researchers to address complex questions and public health concerns in local communities. Research conducted at CUBIC results in more than 60 publications in international and South African journals per annum.
Prof Meintjes' research group has generated knowledge on the effects of early life insults, such as maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy and HIV infection, on brain development, with a view to improving management strategies and targeted interventions for affected individuals. This research has advanced the understanding of conditions such as fetal alcohol syndrome and prenatal antiretroviral and drug exposure. A notable recent finding is that heavy maternal choline supplementation during pregnancy could potentially mitigate some of the damaging effects of prenatal alcohol exposure. Her research has also contributed to the improvement of therapeutic protocols for HIV, for example by examining the influence of treatment timing.
Professor Meintjes has brought the manifestations of these diseases and disorders in South African populations to the attention of the global academy through highly cited publications in prestigious international journals.