Dr. Douglas E. Rawlings
Douglas E. Rawlings, Ph.D., FRSSAf, MASSAf trained as a microbiologist at
Rhodes University (Grahamstown, South Africa) and has been a
academic for the about thirty years, over twenty five of which have been
spent at the Universities of
Cape Town and
Stellenbosch (South Africa).
He is currently Chairman of the Microbiology Department and Deputy Dean
of the Faculty of Natural Sciences at the
University of Stellenbosch.
Doug’s initial research was in the treatment of tannery and fellmongery effluent. Since the early 1980s his research has mostly concerned the bacteria involved in the extraction of minerals from ores. He was involved in the initial conceptual development of the process for the biooxidation of difficult-to-treat gold-bearing arsenopyrite ores, a process widely used in several countries. Most of his research has concerned the molecular biology of biomining bacteria and their plasmids including how they access the horizontal gene pool when adapting to new challenges. Read his Characteristics and adaptability of iron- and sulfur-oxidizing microorganisms used for the recovery of metals from minerals and their concentrates.
The findings of his research have been published in about one hundred peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. He has been inventor or co-inventor of two international and two local patents. In 1997, he edited a book entitled Biomining: Microbes, Theory and Industrial Processes, published by Springer-Verlag and which was sold out within the first year of publication. He is presently co-editing (together with Barrie Johnson), a second book called Biomining also to be published by Springer-Verlag.
He currently serves on the editorial board of the journals Applied and Environmental Microbiology, International Deterioration and Biodegradation and the Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa and as an occasional reviewer for many other journals. He has acted as external examiner for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at several universities in South Africa and abroad. He is a member of several learned bodies and is currently President of the Royal Society of South Africa.
Doug was elected a life-fellow and is also recipient of the distinguished teachers award of the University of Cape Town and the Rector’s award for excellent research of the University of Stellenbosch. The SA Society for Microbiology awarded him a silver medal for “a series of outstanding publications” and he is a recipient of the PanLab’s award of the Society for Industrial Microbiology (USA). He is an elected fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa and a founder member of the South African Academy of Science. He has delivered many plenary and keynote lectures at local and international conferences, talks on radio (e.g. BBC4 “the good, the bad and the ugly”) and has held an A-rating from the National Research Foundation (Pretoria) since 1992.