Tributes from buddies, colleagues, collaborators and college students have poured in for South African educational Professor Tania Samantha Douglas, an internationally recognised scholar, biomedical engineer and innovator. She handed away on 20 March 2021.
She was admired by many and consulted broadly for her distinctive insights, in-depth understanding of South Africa’s increased schooling setting, and open-mindedness. All the time vibrant, she was in a position to totally interact with points in an unbiased method – sharing her well-considered ideas in a pleasant and sensible manner.
Tania obtained the second highest grade within the nation in her closing college exams in 1987. She went on to learn for a BScEng in Electrical and Digital Engineering on the College of Cape City (UCT). This was adopted by an MS in Biomedical Engineering at Vanderbilt College in Nashville, Tennessee. Then got here a PhD in Bioengineering from the College of Strathclyde in Glasgow, and a postdoctoral fellowship in picture processing with the Japan Broadcasting Company in Tokyo.
In 2000, Tania returned to her alma mater. She took up a lecturer place within the Division of Biomedical Engineering.
In her current work, she strove to mix biomedical engineering with social context. Her intention was to seek out novel options in direction of improved well being. To this finish, she developed a brand new postgraduate programme in Well being Innovation instructing human-centred innovation with an emphasis on end-user engagement.
She believed and advocated that Africa wants to seek out options to its personal issues and labored tirelessly to construct biomedical engineering capability throughout the continent.
Throughout her 21 years on the College of Cape City, Tania held quite a few management positions throughout the division and college. These included serving as Divisional Head for a interval and serving as Deputy Dean of Analysis within the College of Well being Sciences. She additionally, for the previous decade, led the Medical Research Council/UCT Medical Imaging Research Unit.
In 2016, Tania was awarded the celebrated South African Analysis Chair in Biomedical Engineering and Innovation. Two years later she was Founding Director of UCT’s Biomedical Engineering Research Centre.
Tania excelled in all spheres of academia. She headed a big analysis group, and educated and graduated greater than 50 grasp’s and doctoral college students. Postdoctoral fellows and junior workers have been amongst these she mentored. She additionally revealed extensively in main worldwide journals, and taught and developed programs. Her scholarly contributions have been recognised via quite a few awards. These included analysis fellowships from the International Institute for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy; the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany; and the European Union’s Erasmus Mundus programme.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Girls in Engineering’s South Africa Part named her as its feminine educational/researcher of the yr in 2009.
In 2018 she was recognised as a Quartz Africa Innovator. A yr later, the South African Girls in Science Awards named her as Distinguished Girl Researcher in Analysis and Innovation. Prior to now decade, she was elected a Fellow by the South African Academy of Engineering, the Worldwide Academy of Medical and Organic Engineering, and the College of Cape City. She was additionally a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa.
Tania’s research centered on main public well being issues in South Africa. She developed novel devices and computer-assisted strategies. A few of her early work concerned developing image-processing techniques to characterise the facial phenotype related to foetal alcohol syndrome – a situation of which the incidence in sure communities in South Africa is among the many highest on the planet.
Tania additionally made seminal contributions in tuberculosis (TB) prognosis. One was the event of a ‘good microscope’ that automated detection of TB bacilli in stained sputum smears. One other was the computer-aided detection of pulmonary pathology in paediatric chest X-rays.
She performed a number one position in establishing the African Biomedical Consortium. She additionally launched and was founding Editor-in-Chief of the open-access digital journal World Well being Innovation. As well as she edited the open-access eBook Biomedical Engineering for Africa (College of Cape City Libraries; 2019).
Since 2014, Tania had served as Affiliate Editor of each the South African Journal of Science and Medical Engineering and Physics. In January 2021 she was appointed as Editor-in-Chief of the latter.
An important void
Tania was heat and empathetic, and an inspiring mentor to many. As her good friend and head of the Division of Human Biology at UCT, Professor Sharon Value, wrote:
We are going to keep in mind Tania for being an incredible girl – courageous, humble and good. She lived her life, and carried her sickness, with extraordinary grace and dignity. We are going to keep in mind her for her astute mind and her quiet humanity to construct others within the course of. She was proficient and gracious, and we are going to keep in mind her optimistic perspective and ever-present stunning smile.
Tania is survived by her dad and mom, Rita and Aubrey Douglas.
This tribute initially appeared within the South African Journal of Science.