Photo Credit: Supplied

Particle Physicist Dr James Keaveney has been awarded the New Frontiers Research Award! Now, his mission to make essential medical resources like PET scanning cheaper, more effective and ultimately more accessible, is on:


Cape Town, South Africa (26 May 2024) — Particle Physicist James Keaveney of the University of Cape Town has received the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust’s inaugural New Frontiers Research Award!

A huge deal for researchers in their early- to mid-careers (where funding is often limited), the New Frontiers Research Award commends exceptional talents while granting them the freedom and flexibility to push the boundaries in their fields, as OMT chair Rebecca Oppenheimer says.

The winner (who must be based at a South African university and have the ambition necessary to build high-performance teams) receives R1.5 million in research funding each year for a course of five.

For James, the opportunity means another wealth of opportunity. The physicist hopes to develop ways of making PET scanning (positron emission tomography) more effective and cheaper—ultimately making the resource more accessible.

PET scanning is essential for cancer diagnosis and the monitoring of the cancer’s response to therapy. But, it is also used in tuberculosis (the leading cause of death in South Africa) diagnosis and treatment.

He also plans on using the award to promote global interdisciplinary collaborations; expanding the horizons of particle physics with a focus on younger, up-and-coming scientists.

Dr Keaveney teaches physics at UCT, and is also the national coordinator of a group of almost one hundred local physicists and engineers eho who collaborate in ATLAS—a multinational general-purpose particle physics experiment at the European Council for Nuclear Research (CERN).

“James Keaveney impressed everyone on the committee not only with his science, but also with his ability to explain very complex concepts in physics and medicine,” praised Prof Lynn Morris, Wits’ Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Innovation. 

UCT’s Dr Linda Mtwisha who is the executive director of research adds:

“We are incredibly proud of Dr James Keaveney…This recognition is not just a testament to his outstanding dedication and ingenuity but also a significant milestone for UCT and the broader research community in South Africa.” 

Sources: Supplied
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Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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