26 September 2022
Volume: 10
Issue: 43
Developmental lecturer and marine geologist, Dr Nonkululeko Dladla.

First Black Female South African Awarded PhD in Marine Geology

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Dr Nonkululeko Dladla, a developmental lecturer in Geological Sciences at UKZN focused her PhD study on the stratigraphy and geological evolution of three coastal waterbodies along the north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal coastline to gain an understanding of how coastlines responded to a rise in sea levels in the past and better understand the potential consequences of future changes.

Dr Albert Myburgh during a routine helicopter-based crocodile survey.

Innovation in Ecology: Low-Cost Drones for More Accessible Wildlife Monitoring

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Dr Albert Myburgh has been awarded a PhD in Ecological Sciences for his research on monitoring wild and captive Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) populations in southern Africa.

Dr Daniel Krupanandan seen at his graduation, and pictured with his late son Rowan to whom he dedicated his PhD.

PhD in Applied Mathematics Undertaken in Son’s Memory

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Dr Daniel Krupanandan was awarded a PhD in Applied Mathematics for his thesis titled: Exact Einstein and Higher Curvature Astrophysical Models. He dedicated his achievement to the memory of his son, Rowan.

Dr Olutosin Taiwo with her children, Oluwaseyifunmi and Oluwadarasimi.

Mobile Applications Designed to Improve Home Convenience and Human Well-being

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Dr Olutosin Taiwo graduated with a PhD from UKZN’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science (SMSCS) specialising in Computer Science.

Dr Mustapha Oloko-Oba earned a PhD for computer-aided Tuberculosis diagnosis.

PhD for Research on Computer-aided Tuberculosis Diagnosis

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Dr Mustapha Oloko-Oba graduated from UKZN’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science with a PhD in Computer Science. He was supervised by Professor Serestina Viriri.

Dr John Lobulu (right) with his supervisor, Professor Hussein Shimelis.

Developing Striga-Resistant and Biocontrol-Friendly Maize for Africa

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Dr John Lobulu, a researcher at the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) is receiving a PhD from UKZN after he successfully investigated the development of maize varieties resistant to the Striga parasite and compatible with a fungal biocontrol agent to combat the threats to food security posed by the weed that affects millions of small-scale farmers across Africa.

Left: Ms Lungile Hadebe celebrating her graduation and (right) working in the lab.

Chemical Desalination Master’s Applicable to the Circular Economy

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A Master’s in Chemistry cum laude is the result of Ms Lungile Hadebe’s research on reclaiming potable water from brackish water using an innovative technology together with discarded coffee grounds to develop a potential material for use in water purification technology, contributing to a more sustainable society.

Dr Paul Zvawanda who is passionate about mentoring and imparting knowledge to upcoming engineers.

PhD Study Holds Promise for Natural Gas Purification

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Given the significant technical and logistical requirements to make the complex operation of natural gas processing efficient and economically viable, the need to optimise natural gas transportation and purification processes motivated Dr Paul Zvawanda’s research to provide technical data on the performance of the natural gas purification process.

Cum laude Masters in Biochemistry graduate, Mr Sandile Mthembu.

Cum Laude Result for Biochemistry Research on Novel TB Drugs

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Mr Sandile Mthembu graduated with his Masters in Biochemistry cum laude for his research on identifying an alternative drug to fight tuberculosis (TB) that will combat the rapidly rising strains of the disease that are resistant to typical first-line drugs.

Dr Mohanad Mohammed with his wife, Tehnan.

Early Detection of Cancer Using Statistical and Machine Learning Models

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Dr Mohanad Mohammed graduated with a PhD in Statistics from UKZN’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science. Mohammed completed his undergraduate degree in Statistics and Computer Science and a BSc Honours at the University of Gezira, Sudan.

Mr Victor Uzor obtained his master’s summa cum laude.

Algorithms Applied to Solve Real-Life Problems

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Mr Victor Uzor graduated summa cum laude with a Master of Science specialising in Mathematics. Uzor completed his undergraduate degree at the Michael Okpara (Federal) University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia in Nigeria.

Mr Gaogane Jephtah Gaogane graduated with a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering.

Promoting Sustainable Waste Management

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Hailing from a rural village in Botswana has not hindered Mr Gaogane Jephtah Gaogane from achieving success. He graduated cum laude with a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from UKZN.

Dr Olubunmi Sule and her husband, James.

Research on Early Detection of Diabetic Retinopathy Abnormalities Earns PhD

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Dr Olubunmi Sule graduated with a PhD in Computer Science from UKZN’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science. Hailing from Nigeria, she chose UKZN for her PhD studies as the University is well equipped with laboratories, provides training and innovative workshops that broaden perspectives, has a multi-cultural student body and most importantly is rated amongst the top universities according to Academic Rankings of World Universities.’

Ms Alexandra Roux earned herself a master’s degree cum laude.

Genetics Research Investigates Antimalarial Drug Resistance in KwaZulu-Natal

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Ms Alexandra Roux’s research provides insight into antimalarial drug resistance in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) - the province closest to eradicating the pathogen in South Africa - and earned her a master’s degree cum laude for her analysis of molecular markers associated with drug resistance.

Dr Sithembiso Ndlela with his supervisor Professor Steve Worth.

PhD Graduate Cultivates a Career in Agricultural Extension and Rural Resource Management

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Dr Sithembiso Ndlela is celebrating completing his PhD research that emphasises the importance of responsible natural resource management while simultaneously increasing small-scale farmers’ agricultural production capacity.

A PhD in Ecological Sciences for Dr Samke Ngcobo.

PhD Focuses on Avian Diversity in KZN and Eastern Cape Mistbelts

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Research on local and landscape drivers of avian diversity in the naturally fragmented southern mistbelt forests of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and the Eastern Cape earned Dr Samukelisiwe Ngcobo her PhD in Ecological Sciences.

Left: Dr Mfundo Maseko in the field and right, at his graduation.

African Crowned Eagle Champion Earns PhD

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‘To God be the glory. I dedicate this PhD to my family; I could have not completed it without their exceptional support. A big thank you to my grandmother Mrs J. Maseko for her incredible support and prayers.’

Cum laude master’s graduate, Mr Dean Brand.

Master’s Graduate Revels in the Challenge of Quantum Computing

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Mr Dean Brand describes obtaining his MSc in Physics cum laude as a surreal experience. Supervised by Professors Francesco Petruccione and Ilya Sinayskiy of UKZN’s Quantum Research Group his dissertation is titled: Investigation of IBMQ Quantum Device Hardware Calibration with Markovian Master Equation.

PhD graduate Dr Kerushka Pillay conducted research on vervet monkeys.

Comprehensive Monkey Research Provides Useful Guidelines

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Dr Kerushka Pillay was awarded a PhD in Ecological Sciences for her research on aspects of the ecology and persistence of vervet monkeys in mosaic urban landscapes in KwaZulu-Natal.

Ms Nqobile Mthuli graduated with a Master of Agriculture in Food Security.

Passion for Food Security Leads to Master’s Degree

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‘I have supervised Nqobile from the time of her Postgraduate Diploma in Food Security and recognised key research skills, passion and commitment even at that stage,’ said Professor Joyce Chitja of her star student, Ms Nqobile Mthuli, who graduated with a Master of Agriculture in Food Security through UKZN.

BSc graduate, Ms Phumelele Mbongwe.

Inspired to be Great

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‘Getting a Bachelor’s degree was a rat race,’ said Ms Phumelele Mbongwe on receiving her BSc majoring in Geography. The daughter of Humanities staff member Mr Themba Mbongwe, she relied on the support of her family throughout her studies.

Dr Wiseman Mpilo Dlamini in the lab and at his graduation.

Believe That You Can Achieve, Says PhD Graduate

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Work full-time, live some 550 km from campus, study towards a PhD … and throw a pandemic into the mix. This definitely sounds like a recipe for disaster. Not for newly-capped Dr Wiseman Mpilo Dlamini, who earned his PhD in Physics for his research entitled: Plasmon as a Mechanism to Improve Performance of Bulk-heterojunction Organic Solar Cells.

MSc cum laude graduate, Ms Tehnan Mohamed with her husband and fellow graduate, Dr Mohanad Mohammed.

Deep Learning Model Used for Early Detection and Classification of Lung Cancer

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Ms Tehnan Mohamed graduated with an MSc in Computer Science cum laude. Having completed her BSc and BSc Honours at the University of Gezira, Sudan, she said that she registered for her MSc at UKZN as it offers unique teaching and learning methods that enhance the development of personal and professional skills.

Statistics doctoral graduate, Dr Ashenafi Yirga.

Biostatistician Conducts Novel Research on HIV

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Dr Ashenafi Yirga graduated with his PhD in Statistics from the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science. Yirga was born and raised in Jijiga, a city in eastern Ethiopia.

MSc Genetics cum laude graduate Ms Reshika Ramasar.

Cum Laude Master’s Research Unveils Seasons’ Effect on Beneficial Indigenous Plant

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Ms Reshika Ramasar is celebrating achieving her masters cum laude after taking on a study of the phytochemical constituents, biological activity and morphology of the indigenous Natal Plum (Carissa macrocarpa) leaves in the summer and winter seasons.