Dr Melinda Suchard (Isaacs) obtained her MBBCh degree from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2000 after which she obtained her MMED and FCPath qualifications in clinical pathology. Since 2013 she heads the Centre for Vaccines and Immunology at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases with a joint appointment to Chemical Pathology, University of the Witwatersrand. The Centre for Vaccines and Immunology is the Regional Reference Laboratory for the World Health Organisation for polio, measles and rubella. The centre is one of the few globally with approval to host a Polio Essential Facility for work under high biocontainment towards polio eradication.
Dr Suchard is current president of the South African Immunology Society. She is a ministerially appointed member to the National Advisory Group on Immunization and the National Polio Expert Committee. She has supervised masters and doctoral candidates and hosted post-doctoral fellows. She was a founder of a Masters in Medicine in Vaccinology at the University of the Witwatersrand in 2019 and co-ordinates the modules on Basic Vaccinology and Advanced Immunology. The focus of her research is immune tolerance, particularly related to infectious diseases including HIV, Tuberculosis and SARS-CoV-2. She has published more than 40 peer-reviewed articles and is a reviewer and guest editor for a number of medical journals.
I graduated from King David Linksfield in 1993. Aspects that stand out for me are the inspiring assemblies showcasing learners and visitors much more dynamic than me! I was often inspired and challenged. Biology was a love of mine since school days. I also recall English lessons that encouraged debate and critical thinking and showcased creative writing. English writing is an essential science skill never taught at university, relying on strong foundations acquired at school.