SAMRC and Stellenbosch University’s Professor Andre G. Loxton promoted to Chief Specialist Scientist

Written by Brian Munansangu

The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) recently promoted Prof. Andre G. Loxton as its new Chief Specialist Scientist. This new role expands Prof Loxton’s responsibilities beyond his current position as Deputy Director of the SAMRC’s Centre for Tuberculosis Research (CTR) housed within the Department of Biomedical Sciences and spanning the Divisions of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, and Immunology.

Prof. Loxton will continue his research focus on tuberculosis (TB), a disease of significant public health concern in South Africa. However, his new position grants him a greater influence on the overall direction of the Centre’s research efforts. This leadership role complements his existing duties as Deputy Director, where he plays a crucial role in ensuring the CTR adheres to SAMRC performance benchmarks and contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), National Health Plan and Agenda 2063.

The increased responsibility associated with the Chief Specialist Scientist position demands a multifaceted skillset. While the core scientific and academic aspects remain largely unchanged, Prof Loxton highlights the increase in leadership required from his new position. He is expected to play a more significant role in securing research funding through grants, increasing the Centre’s publication output, and overall resource acquisition. However, Prof. Loxton points out that his focus extends beyond research productivity. He aims to leverage his leadership position to foster greater national collaboration through participation in task forces and international partnerships.

When asked what this promotion means to him, Prof Loxton had this to say, “To continue to do research on tuberculosis as our main focus area and also to guide research of the centre, and oversee activities ensuring that we stay within the performance-criteria of the SAMRC and ultimately produce a healthy South Africa.”

This promotion signifies the SAMRC’s recognition of Prof. Loxton’s expertise and leadership potential. Given South Africa’s unique challenges in combating TB, the CTR is  pivotal in developing effective solutions. Prof. Loxton’s strong academic background, and in-depth understanding of South Africans health challenges are undeniable, and uniquely positions him well to navigate the roles and responsibilities associated with his new position. His additional pursuit of a senior management qualification at Stellenbosch University further demonstrates his commitment to effective leadership within the Centre.

Prof. Loxton’s appointment reflects the SAMRC’s commitment to fostering a culture of research excellence and promoting leadership abilities within its ranks. As South Africa, and indeed the rest of the world, grapples with unique public health challenges, the SAMRC plays a fundamental role, with in advancing TB research and ultimately contributing to a healthier nation. We wish Prof Loxton the very best in his new role!