Senior researcher: climate studies, modelling and environmental health, CSIR

Caradee Wright

Skin cancer is prevalent in South Africa, yet research on the effects of sun exposure is not. South Africa still bases its prevention campaigns on data from Australia and New Zealand. But not for long. Having completed her PhD on this burning issue, 33-year-old Dr Caradee Wright has spent the past five years writing papers and securing funding to turn the situation around. Her perseverance has paid off.

In 2012 she will lead a project, together with the Cancer Association of South Africa, that looks at how schoolchildren behave in the sun. The result should be programmes that address the negative effects of sun exposure, including immune deficiencies and cancer. For her it’s about the end result, which is why she nurtures young scientists, especially women, through the South Africa Young Academy of Science, which she co-founded. No doubt, as one of 250 scientists invited to the Global Young Academy, Wright will bring a more humanistic approach to pressing international science issues.

— Cat Pritchard