Jill Farrant was elected as an AAS Fellow in 2020. As a fellow, Jill Farrant contributes to the development of the Academy’s strategic direction through participation in AAS activities and governance structures. . This gears the Academys vision of transforming african lives through science.
Professor Jill Farrant holds a South African Research Chair in “Systems Biology Studies on Plant Desiccation Tolerance for Food Security” in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Cape Town, South Afric. She is an acknowledged world leader in the field of plant desiccation tolerance (holding a rarely given A rated status by the South African National Research Foundation), working predominantly (but not exclusively) on the desiccation tolerant “resurrection plants”. Her research is multidisciplinary, utilising techniques involved molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology and physiology to understand protection mechanisms, and regulation thereof, associated with desiccation tolerance, and those associated with biotechnology to test informed genetic alteration(s) for the production of extremely drought tolerant crops. She has further utilized the metabolomic make up of resurrection plants for applications in the cosmetic industry, being Scientific Advisor for the Giorgio Armani Skincare range Crema Nera Extrema. She has received considerable recognition for her research, having achieved 10 national and international awards, including being the 2012 L’Oreal-UNESCO Laueratte for Africa and Arab States, and award that ‘recognizes women whose exceptional careers in science have opened up new and sometimes revolutionary ways of improving human well-being’ Jill has 151 peer reviewed publications, 16 book chapters, over 200 conference proceedings, and has graduated 36 MSc students and 30 PhD students during the 28 years she has been an academic. As further testimony to the esteem in which Farrants work is held is that she has been invited to attend and deliberate in the Hegra conference of Nobel Laurreates, aimed at identifying the ten decisive actions we must take over the next decade for humanity to thrive in the 21st century. Her work has been the subject of several local and International documentaries, which can be found on her website http://www.mcb.uct.ac.za/mcb/people/staff/academic/farrant.