• Professor Johnny Mahlangu: PathReD Congress 2019 Chairperson

Johnny Mahlangu is a Full Professor in Haematology and Head of School of Pathology in the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of the Witwatersrand and the National Health Laboratory Service. He is also a Consultant Clinical Haematologist in Charge of the Haematology Ward at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital and Director of the International Haemophilia Training Centre in Johannesburg. Johnny received his undergraduate and postgraduate training in science and medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand with haematology specialist and clinical haematology sub-specialist qualifications through the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa.

His main area of research is novel therapies in bleeding disorders in which he has served as Principal Investigator for over 90 international multicentre studies. Prof Mahlangu is current President of the College of Pathologists in South Africa, Chairman of the South African Medical Research Council Board and Chairman of the International Society on Haemostasis and thrombosis scientific and standardization Committee on Factor VIII, FIX and rare bleeding disorders. He is a recipient of over 20 awards the most recent include the Wits University Vice-chancellor Academic citizenship award in 2018, the Novo Nordisk Haemophilia Foundation International Haemophilia Community Award in 2018, the American Society of Haematology Global Capacity Building award in 2019, Publons top 1% cross-field reviewer award in 2019, Wits University Vice-Chancellor Research award for 2020 and elected member of the Academy of Science in 2020.

  • Professor Johnny Mahlangu: PathReD Congress 2019 Chairperson

PathRed 2019, the Research and Development Congress of the NHLS was unique in several unforgettable ways. Firstly, this was the first Research and Development Congress to be entirely organized and managed by the National Health Laboratory Service through its dynamic Pathred 2019 Organizing and Scientific Committees. The second remarkable feature of PathRed 2019 was the diversity of attendees comprising of technologists, scientists, pathologists and managers and NHLS leadership who all shared the same platforms in the many parallel sessions. There was also the diversity of the congress scientific content in which we saw communication and display of a mixture of operational, translational and innovative research carried out in the NHLS. The third remarkable feature of Pathred 2019 was its inclusivity of all relevant disciplines of pathology, laboratory medicine and public health medicine with a singular mind to add value to the delivery of diagnostic services offered by the NHLS in supporting the national goals of good health care delivery in South Africa.

I hope that PathRed2021 will continue to build on the success of PathRed2019 and in particular address the public health research questions we are all facing with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The NHLS, through its NICD, is the custodian of all the expertise in the COVID-19 data generation, data management and scientific interpretation and communication of the data to the South African public. The Pathred 2021 is the single event not to be missed where many COVID-19 experts will share their experience and the data

COVID-19 has ushered the new normal with congress gatherings curtailed. We do however hope that this will not dampen the spirit to make Pathred 2021 a success even when it may be necessary for it to be held online. I would encourage all researchers to embrace the new normal and start to prepare your abstracts for submission to the Pathred 2021 Congress.

  • Prof Preiser Wolfgang: PathReD Congress 2017 Chairperson

Wolfgang Preiser is a medical virologist who specialised in his home town Frankfurt, Germany, and at University College London. He received his second doctoral degree (Habilitation) in 2005 while working as a consultant virologist in Frankfurt. Since 2005 Wolfgang Preiser has been Professor and Head of the Division of Medical Virology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Stellenbosch / National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) Tygerberg.

His principal research interests cover three broad themes: (I) diagnosis of HIV infection and monitoring antiretroviral therapy, from antibody testing to resistance genotyping; (II) the epidemiology, diagnosis and monitoring of opportunistic viral infections, esp. hepatitis B and cytomegalovirus, in immunocompromised patients; and (III) emerging and potentially zoonotic viral diseases. He served as a temporary advisor to the World Health Organization on severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in China in 2003 and led the Frankfurt group who, together with colleagues from Hamburg, were among the first to isolate the SARS-associated coronavirus in spring 2003.

He is heavily involved in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in charge of one of two public service laboratories for the Western Cape Province and through membership of the South African Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19, the InterAcademy Partnership COVID-19 Expert Group, the COVID-19 Clinical Research Coalition, as well as several other bodies at institutional, provincial, national and international level.

  • Prof Preiser Wolfgang: PathReD Congress 2017 Chairperson

The PathReD congresses have become a forum for NHLS and associated staff to meet and present their work. This allows to discuss possible collaborations but also to identify common challenges and ways to address them. I particularly enjoyed the presence of many young colleagues, postgraduate science students in the pathology disciplines and of course pathology registrars. For them PathReD is an excellent opportunity to meet their peers from around the country, share their experiences and learn from others’ experiences. This has great value beyond the specific scientific topics and prepares them for their future careers in pathology.

I look forward to PathReD 2021 and hope it continue in the tradition of the previous events. By that stage, nine months from now, some might have had a chance to be vaccinated against the new coronavirus and the epidemic activity will hopefully be well controlled. I hope the congress will be held as a hybrid event. During the crazy year that was 2020, we have had no choice but to familiarise ourselves with streaming meetings and attending talks from afar. Even though chatting during a tea break and sharing a shuttle bus to the venue are such good opportunities to meet colleagues, an additional option to attend sessions virtually would be phantastic for those who, for whatever reason, cannot make it to the meeting.

We need to move on beyond the pandemic– many bad things have happened, but also many good ones. We have found ways to cope with unprecedented adversities and gained precious insights in the process. PathReD 2021 will offer a great opportunity to reflect and share what we have learnt and how we managed to continue doing our work. I thoroughly look forward to being able to network and interact with colleagues from around the country, looking back at the crazy year of the COVID-19 pandemic and learning from one another how we coped, what worked and what did not, and what we may have gained.