College of Agriculture, Engineering
and Science (CAES)

Participants at the School of Life Science Research Day.

Postgraduate School of Life Science Research Day a Success

The School of Life Science hosted their annual Research Day at the Pietermaritzburg campus which proved successful.

The programme was opened by Dr Timotheus Van Der Niet, Senior Lecturer at the School of Life Sciences at PMB Campus, who acknowledged and expressed appreciation to all organising members and sponsors for their role in supporting the event.

The event provided postgraduate students with a grandstand to showcase their research as well as an opportunity to engage and network with academics, colleagues and external visitors.

‘The main aim is to give postgraduate students an opportunity to showcase their research, the second aim being to provide students with a constructive environment to practice what it is like to present in such conferences,’ said Van Der Niet.

More than 150 participants attended the event which comprised of both postgraduate students and staff from the Pietermaritzburg and Westville campuses.

A total of 39 postgraduate students delivered their oral presentations in three sessions. In between each session were six external plenary speakers who discussed their research and how it has helped them broaden their profession.

The event attracted a number of external exhibitors and sponsors such as AEC-Amersham; Analytical Solutions; APEX Scientific; Celtic Molecular Diagnostics; Chemetrix; ESCO; LABOTEC; LICHRO; Prestige Laboratory Supplies; Sep Sci; Separations; Trilab Support; United Scientific SA; VACUTEC; White Scientific; WIRSAM Scientific; and Zeiss. The students and participants found the exhibitor’s research displays and interactions informative and enlightening.

After an intensive day of presenting and networking, the function concluded with a prize giving ceremony.

The prize winners were announced as follows:


First Prize: Saffiya Habib

Second Prize: Zainab Baig

Terrestrial Biology

First Prize: Ruth Cozien

Second Prize: Stuart Demmer

Aquatic Biology

First Prize: Christopher Waspe

Second Prize: Thembeka Radebe

Poster Session

First Prize: Olieve Fynn

Second Prize: Nokulunga Goqo

Ms Saffiya Habib, first prize winner in the Microbiology/Biochemistry category, said she was pleasantly surprised to have been awarded the prize. Her presentation was on Anti-Cancer Potential Of Novel C-Myc-Specific Lipoplexes: An In Vitro Study. ‘It was a great opportunity for us postgrads to showcase our research. The event provided good preparation/practice for many of us who’d like to speak at conferences elsewhere. All-in-all, a well put-together event. I look forward to many more in the future,’ she said.

Words: Zolile Duma

Photograph: Bheki Mthembu