The National Research Foundation has awarded Professor Pascal Bessong a B-2 rating as a scientist. This rating is given to individuals for whom “all or the overriding majority of reviewers are firmly convinced that the applicant enjoys considerable international recognition for the high quality and impact of his/her recent research outputs.”
Pascal Bessong who is attached to the Faculty of Engineering, Science and Agriculture, is a virologist and currently Professor of Microbiology and Global Health, and the Founding Chair of the HIV/AIDS and Global Health Research Programme at the University of Venda (UNIVEN). He received his doctoral and postdoctoral training in South Africa, France, and the United States. He is an elected member of the Academy of Science of South Africa; Visiting Scholar at the Center for Global Health Equity, University of Virginia; Honorary Professor at the School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, and Associate Editor of the South African Journal of Science.
Professor Bessong’s work has sought to understand the dynamics in the acquisition, burden and transmission of antimicrobial resistant germs; and the impact of gut infection on child growth and development, and vaccine response. He is also leading a team of researchers at UNIVEN on the surveillance of Covid-19 through wastewater based epidemiology in selected districts in Limpopo Province. His scientific contributions and opinions have been published in top-tier and influential journals such
as Science, Nature, Bulletin of the World Health Organization, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), Lancet Global Health, Lancet HIV, Clinical Infectious Diseases, and PLOS Medicine.
In 2022, the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), following a competitive process, recognized the research excellence and leadership of Professor Bessong with an award to establish the SAMRC-UNIVEN Antimicrobial Resistance and Global Health Research Unit, the first of its kind at the University, for which he serves as the Founding Director. The vision of this SAMRC extramural Unit is to become a reference programme for antimicrobial resistance epidemiology, global health research, and human capital development. The multidisciplinary team of the Unit, comprising national and international partners and collaborators, through co-production of knowledge with study communities, local and national government agencies, will provide evidence for policy development and targeted interventions for an enhanced antimicrobial resistance stewardship.
The University welcomes the NRF rating for Professor Bessong and wishes him and his team success in seeking solutions to nationally and regionally relevant biomedical challenges and building research leadership at the University.

Issued by:
Department of Marketing, Branding and Communication
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525 /8710
Date: 22 February 2024

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