UKZN Students and Staff Excel at Laboratory Animal Science Congress
Students and staff from the School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences (LMMS) on the Westville campus attended, did presentations and won awards at the South African Association for Laboratory Animal Science (SAALAS) Congress in Bloemfontein.
SAALAS is a non-profit organisation which serves South African scientists involved in the breeding and welfare of animals as well as individuals in secondary and tertiary research institutes using laboratory animals for teaching, testing and research.
The Congress - held biennially to share developments in the field - attracted laboratory animal scientists and researchers from around the country, with many overseas guests also attending. A great emphasis is placed on animal ethics, animal welfare and animal use in research.
Six students from LMMS participated, presenting posters and giving presentations on a variety of topics concerning research and laboratory animal sciences.
Manager of UKZN’s Biomedical Research Unit (BRU), Dr Sanil Singh, said: ‘Our students are involved in research that has a wide range including issues such as hypertension, diabetes, traditional medicine, neurosciences, TB and HIV. The Unit plays a key role in developing young scientists and University research initiatives. Our partnership with other role players is vital - we provide research support to KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH), Medical Research Council, Durban University of Technology, the University of Zululand and many pharmaceutical enterprises.’
UKZN Postgraduate student Ms Rosemary Swanson, won Best Student Presentation with her talk on a drug called Clofazimine and how it has been used to maximise therapeutic potential in patients with Tuberculosis. Her presentation explored how the drug is distributed through the body and how it effectively combats bacteria.
Swanson is currently completing her PhD at K-RITH, researching and testing drugs for Tuberculosis and chemotherapy.
Winner of the Best Technician award was UKZN’s Dr Linda Bester, a National Research Foundation grant recipient, who is a Veterinary Technologist at the Biomedical Resource Unit, and Co-supervisor of Master’s students at the School of Health Sciences.
- Zakia Jeewa