NYOKONG, Tebello (Prof. Ms)

Field: Chemistry
Gender: Female
Country (DoB): Lesotho (1951)

Prof. Tebello Nyokong was born in Lesotho in 1951. In 1977 she graduated from the National University of Lesotho.  Four years later she graduated with an MSc in chemistry and received a PhD from the University of Western Ontario in 1987.

She then applied for and was given a Fulbright fellowship for post-doctoral study at the University of Notre Dame in the United States. On her return Prof. Nyokong taught briefly at the University of Lesotho before joining Rhodes University in 1992 as a lecturer. Where she set up a research laboratory.

She holds a DST/NRF Professor in medicinal chemistry and Nanotechnology at Rhodes University. She is also Director of the DST/Mintek Nanotechnology Innovation Centre (NIC)-Sensors also at Rhode University. She was appointed as an adjunct professor, University of Tromso, Norway from 2008 to 2011. Her research is funded mainly by the NRF and by the Department of Science and Technology (SA).

Prof. Nyokong is currently engaged in ground-breaking research on a new cancer diagnosis and treatment methodology called “photo-dynamic therapy’ which is intended as an alternative to chemotherapy. The new therapy is based on using the dye which is used to colour blue denim clothing, and which is inert and harmless by itself but can be activated by exposure to a red laser beam. The system, which has been approved in some countries, reportedly does not destroy hair or healthy cells or cause nausea.

She has published ~ 450 papers including book chapters and a patent. Over 50 MSc/PhD students have graduated under her supervision.

Her research has won her many awards including:

  • 2013: “A” rating by the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa and third World Academy of Science (TWAS) Medal;
  • 2012 she was awarded South African Chemical Institute (SACI) Gold Medal, named by IT News Africa as one of the top 10 most influential women in science and technology in Africa,  was named one of the 13 NAMES TO CHANGE THE WORLD” by  the National Center for Research on Human Evolution (CENIEH), located in Burgos, Spain ; 
  • 2011: she was awarded:  Distinguished Professor at Rhodes University; recognized by Royal Society in Chemistry/Pan African Chemistry Network as a  Distinguished Woman in  Chemistry,  Invited by Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, to be a member of the UNESCO High-level panel on Science, Technology and Innovation for sustainable Development; 
  • 2010: she received two honorary doctorates from Walter Sisulu University and the University of South Africa and   was inducted into Lesotho Hall of fame; 
  • 2009:   she was awarded  NRF President’s award as Champion for the transformation in research, CEO Most Influential Woman in Business and Government – Education and teaching sector; and  L’Oreal-UNESCO award for “Women in Science” as a Laureate representing Africa and the Arab States;
  • 2007:  she was recognized by the NRF as one of the top three publishing scientists in South Africa;
  • 2004 she was bestowed with the Order of Mapungubwe: Bronze by the State President of South Africa Mr Thabo Mbeki and  she was the winner of  SABC2/Shorprite-Checkers Woman of the year in Science and Technology.

She has been  involved a number of committees and board such as:

  • Member of the CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) Board  in South Africa– 2012-2015;
  • a member of the NRF board (2005 – 2011); 
  • jury member for the L'Oreal/UNESCO Regional Fellowships for Women in Science in Sub-Saharan Africa -2011;
  • Judge: Shoprite/Checkers-SABC-2 Woman of the year-Science and Technology – 2006-2008; 
  • member of Council: University of Lesotho -2005 -2008.

She is the acting Editor in Chief for African Journal of Pure and Applied Chemistry since 2007.  She is on the Editorial Board for Global Journal of Physical Chemistry,  Journal of Spectroscopy& Dynamics, International Journal of Electrochemical Science and Advanced Materials Letters. 

She has acted as a guest Editor for  the Special Issue for International Journal of Photoenergy (2011) Special Issue on Photomedicine and Photo Nanosystems and International Journal of Electrochemistry: Special Issue "Surface Electrochemistry: Structured Electrode, Synthesis, and Characterization.

She reviews research applications for a number of counties including:  France (Agence Nationale de la Recherche), Belgium (Research Foundation Flanders),  Czech Republic research foundation projects and Evaluation of Nation Science Foundation (NSF) USA.

She collaborates with many countries on her research including: Japan, China, UK, Belgium, Germany, France, Turkey, USA, Kuwait, Brazil, Romania, Canada

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02Feb 2016
Type your comment here Professor Nyokong has achieved tremendous eminence as shown by her enormous research and scientific supervision and I wish to send her my congratulations and wish her well in her continuing dedication and personal life.

Professor Abed Peerally, Canada