Young Medical Scientist Wins Scholarship to Study in Belgium
An exciting five months in Belgium lie ahead for UKZN masters student, Miss Camille Vallen.
The 22-year-old from Durban was awarded the Eurosa Scholarship making it possible for her to study and conduct research at the University of Antwerp on the Respiratory Syncytial Virus which infects the lungs and breathing passages.
Based at UKZN’s Optics and Imaging Centre, Vallen’s current study is focused on Mother-to-Child transmission of HIV.
Her work involves using immunohistochemistry to localise HIV as well as various immune components implicated in the transmission of HIV across the placental barrier from mother to child.
Vallen says she looks forward to being an exemplary ambassador for UKZN in Belgium while gaining as much knowledge as possible.
‘I hope to return to South Africa inspired to tackle my PhD which I will start next year.’ She also plans to complete a teaching diploma on a part-time basis and later lecture at UKZN.
A Medical Microbiology Honours cum laude graduate, Vallen said this would be her first experience overseas as an exchange student ‘and also the longest I have ever been away from my family’.
Her friends and family were ‘thrilled’ by the news and she was grateful for their on-going support.
‘Science has changed the way I see things allowing me to question everything and to look outside the box to find solutions.
‘My next step after my masters is to get my PhD… as long as I am in research and adding to the efforts in preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS, I will be more than happy,’ said Vallen.