26 September 2023
Volume: 11
Issue: 50
Dr Warren Naidoo’s PhD explored how to use future astronomical surveys of the universe to place constraints on its nature.

High Achiever’s PhD Surveys the Universe

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Dr Warren Naidoo’s research in cosmology delved into the profound mysteries of the universe, what it is made of, where it came from, and what will happen to it in the future. His PhD explored how to use future astronomical surveys of the universe to place constraints on its nature.

Ms Amanda Ruzive graduated with a Master’s in Crop Science cum laude.

Cum Laude Master’s Research Raises the Profile of Nutritious Overlooked Legume

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Ms Amanda Ruzive’s Masters in Crop Science earned her a cum laude result after she explored how an underutilised crop species native to Africa, the Bambara groundnut, could contribute to enhanced food and nutrition security and sustainable agricultural systems.

Mr Creolin Pillay.

MSc Optimises Collection Strategies in the Banking Industry

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MSc Statistics graduate Mr Creolin Pillay melded his passion for statistics with a vision to improve South Africa’s financial sector.

Dr Gugu Tsomele received a PhD in Human Nutrition.

Doctoral Study Explores the Value of Indigenous Trees for Nutrition and Livelihoods

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Dr Gugu Tsomele’s research on the properties of the seeds of wild African indigenous edible plant species earned her a PhD in Human Nutrition which she hopes will contribute to improved livelihoods for rural communities.

Mr Lindokuhle Simelane.

Environmental Champion Masters Chemistry

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Environmental chemist Mr Lindokuhle Simelane has been making waves in the scientific community with his ground-breaking work. His academic journey at UKZN was fuelled by a deep passion for environmental conservation.

PhD graduate, Dr Muhammad Ahmad Yahaya.

Plant Breeder Overcomes Adversity to Develop Resilient Sorghum

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Graduation marks an important milestone for Dr Muhammad Ahmad Yahaya, a plant breeder, geneticist and lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) in Nigeria who navigated geographical and cultural differences to pursue his PhD through the African Centre for Crop Improvement (ACCI) at UKZN.

Applied Mathematics PhD graduate, Dr Njabulo Mkhize.

PhD Tackles Mathematical Models of the Universe

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Doctoral graduate Dr Njabulo Mkhize aims to understand the universe’s deepest mysteries. His PhD in Applied Mathematics, titled: Exact Solutions in Some Modified Gravity Theories, centred on the field of cosmology, which delves into the complex tapestry of the universe and its celestial inhabitants, including stars, planets and the sun.

Mr Rory McNeill graduated with an MSc in Ecological Sciences.

A Tale of Eels and Eco-Estates

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‘I chose UKZN because I was given a fantastic opportunity to pursue a funded master’s degree. I had also heard that Professor Colleen Downs was an excellent supervisor and that it would be hugely beneficial to undertake research with her.’

Ms Thandeka Mbanjwa graduated with a Master’s in Plant Pathology.

Research on Control of Potato Disease Motivates Further Study

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Ms Thandeka Mbanjwa’s Masters in Plant Pathology sought environmentally friendly solutions to a significant potato disease to reduce yield losses of the staple crop and motivated her to consider furthering her studies at PhD level.

Ms Xolile Zuma received a Master’s in Environmental Science.

Love of the Environment Inspires Research on Changing Rangelands

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Ms Xolile Zuma’s Masters in Environmental Science used geospatial techniques to detect and map how communal rangelands in KwaZulu-Natal are changing. UKZN’s dynamic academic environment inspired her to produce strong research that she hopes will have a positive effect on the communities and environment she studied.

Dr Nivisti Singh at Graduation (left) and at her wedding.

Married and Capped in Record Time

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Dr Nivisti Singh graduated with a PhD in Microbiology for her study on the development of sustainable processes for biofuel production, which could offer significant environmental and economic benefits.  She was supervised by Dr Roshini Govinden and Professor Bruce Sithole.

Mr Bradley van Zyl at Graduation and holding a freshwater eel in the field with supervisor, Dr Matthew Burnett.

Civil Engineer Broadens Skills with MSc in Ecological Sciences

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Qualified Civil Engineer Mr Bradley van Zyl has now earned a Master of Science degree cum laude, specialising in Ecological Sciences. He thanked his family and supervisors for their support.

Dr Frazer Smith graduated with a PhD in Civil Engineering.

Building the African City of the Future

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PhD graduate Dr Frazer Smith’s thesis, Building the African City of the Future Using More Ecologically Sustainable Materials, with a Focus on the use of Recycled Tyre Fibre to “Toughen” Concrete, is the product of a lifelong fascination with materials and a commitment to sustainable innovation.

Dr Kwame Shamuyarira’s research contributed to the development of new wheat breeds.

New Breeds of Wheat Contribute to Drought Tolerance and Carbon Sequestration

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Dr Kwame Shamuyarira’s graduation is the culmination of an academic journey at UKZN’s African Centre for Crop Improvement (ACCI) that began in 2017 and resulted in a study on the agro-morphological and root attributes associated with drought tolerance and carbon sequestration in wheat, an essential staple crop for feeding a growing global population.

PhD graduate Dr Lyndon Riddle.

PhD Study Uses Drones to Map Drakensberg Gullies

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Dr Lyndon Riddle’s journey to his PhD in Environmental Science included stints as a high school teacher and university lecturer, a global pandemic, and relocation overseas, but he is celebrating from afar after receiving this title for his study on the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) multispectral imagery to map gullies in KwaZulu-Natal’s Drakensberg mountain range.

Mr Mxolisi Nkomo received his Master of Science degree in Ecological Sciences.

Eel Man Earns His Stripes

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A project that examined indigenous knowledge and the value of freshwater eels in relation to livelihoods and river management in KwaZulu-Natal earned Mr Mxolisi Nkomo his Master of Science degree in Ecological Sciences.

PhD in Environmental Science graduate, Dr Obianuju Patience Ilo.

PhD Study Investigates Invasive Plant’s Potential as a Bioenergy Source

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Dr Obianuju Patience Ilo used her PhD in Environmental Science to tackle the problem of the invasive alien water hyacinth plant that clogs Africa’s waterways by exploring how anaerobic digestion and pyrolysis techniques could convert the plant into a source of energy and contribute to research in the water-energy-food nexus.

Master’s in Biochemistry cum laude graduate, Ms S’thandiwe Magwaza.

Harvesting Seaweed to Treat Diabetes and Obesity

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Ms S’thandiwe Magwaza received her Master’s in Biochemistry cum laude for her research on the use of seaweed to treat diabetes and obesity.

Dr Wendy Geza celebrated graduating with a PhD in Food Security.

Championing the Youth in Transformative Agricultural Systems

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Dr Wendy Geza’s journey to her PhD in Food Security began in UKZN’s Agricultural Extension and Rural Resource Management (AERRM) programme and her academic pursuits sparked her passion to include the voices of the youth in transformative food systems in the face of numerous threats.

Master’s in Hydrology graduate, Ms Zama Ndlovu.

Master’s Research Uses Hydrological Models to Investigate Runoff in Urban Areas

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Ms Zama Ndlovu’s Masters in Hydrology utilised a combination of Geographic Information Systems, remote sensing and machine learning methodologies. Her research focused on classifying land cover and mapping impervious surfaces in urban areas that are usually covered by large areas of impervious land cover.