Himla Soodyall is the Secretary General of the Academy of Science of South Africa Council. She is involved in assisting the academy craft the Science Engagement strategy and in the young scientist liaison activities including the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) Activities. In 2005, she was appointed the sub-Saharan African principal investigator on the Genographic Project − a five-year, worldwide project undertaken by the National Geographic Society to map humanity's migratory history. She is renowned for her groundbreaking genetic research into the peoples of sub-Saharan Africa. Her studies have identified some of the oldest DNA found in living people today, adding weight to the theory that modern humans evolved in the area now known as Southern Africa. Professor Soodyall is currently a Principal Medical Scientist and Associate Professor at the National Health Laboratory Service and the University of Witwatersrand.