Prof Jennifer Thomson
SA WISE founding member
Jennifer Thomson has a BSc in Zoology from the University of Cape Town, an MA in Genetics from Cambridge University and a PhD in Microbiology from Rhodes University in South Africa. She was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School. She was a lecturer, senior lecturer and Associate Professor in the Department of Genetics at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa before starting and being the Director of the Laboratory for Molecular and Cell Biology for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. She then became Professor and Head of the Department of Microbiology at the University of Cape Town, a post she held for 12 years until the Department merged with the Department of Biochemistry. She is now an Emeritus Professor of Microbiology in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at UCT. Her main current research interests are in the development of maize resistant to the African endemic maize streak virus and tolerant to drought.
Other positions held include the Deputy Dean of Science at UCT, a former chair and member of the South African Genetic Engineering Committee, co-founder and current chair of SA Women in Science and Engineering, Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa and former Vice-President of the SA Academy of Science. She is the Chair of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) and a member of the board of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agribiotech Applications (ISAAA), BIO-EARN, and the European Action Group on Life Sciences (EAGLES).
She is a regular writer and speaker internationally on the subject of genetically modified organisms, especially crops and foods derived from them. Her book, Genes for Africa, is geared towards the layperson.