Vaughan Oosthuizen is a researcher and lecturer at the University of Port Elizabeth. He is the chief researcher in the protein crystallisation experiment of the First African in Space project.
Vaughan grew up on the East Rand in Benoni. With ambitions of becoming marine biologist he left the East Rand town - famous only for being the birthplace of Charlize Theron - and studied at the University of Port Elizabeth (UPE), where he graduated with a PhD in biochemistry in 1995.
Already employed as junior lecturer by the university since the start of his MSc degree, Vaughan joined the permanent staff at UPE as lecturer in biochemistry in 1996. His research interest focused on protein biochemistry, specifically proteins of inflammatory importance.
In 1999, Vaughan received a stipend from the Max-Planck Gesellschaft to study at the world-famous Max-Planck-Institute for Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany, under Nobel laureate Prof Dr Robert Huber. Seven months later, he returned to his position at the UPE and started his own research group to study the functional and structural aspects of immunoglobulin-receptor proteins. His group is currently funded by research grants from the Medical Research Council and National research foundation and continues collaborative efforts with the Max-Planck-Institute in Germany.
Outside the laboratory and lecture theatres Vaughan is an avid sports fan, spending free time on the squash courts to keep fit for his real passion on the golf course. His dream would be for Leeds United FC to actually win a trophy again before he dies!