Pharmaceutical Sciences Hosts Annual Research Symposium for Honours Students
UKZN’s Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences (DoPS) recently hosted an all-day symposium at the Senate Chamber on the Westville campus. The symposium provided a platform for the Bachelor of Pharmacy Honours students to present their research findings.
The programme facilitated by Research Coordinator, Dr Elizabeth Ojewole started off with a welcome address by Academic Leader in DoPS Professor Frasia Oosthuizen who encouraged students to enjoy the day quoting Nobel Prize Winner Andre K Geim: ‘When one dares to try the rewards are not guaranteed but at least it will be an adventure.’
Guest speaker, Professor David Katerere a Research Platform Chair of the Pharmaceutical and Biotech Advancement in Africa Faculty of Science, at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), presented a keynote speech titled: Pharmaceutical Science that Serves Communities - What Should We Be Doing, where he discussed the importance of research, development and diversification for students in the pharmaceutical sciences. Katerere urged students to explore indigenous knowledge systems (IKS), traditional medicine and biotherapies and also shared details about some life-changing products developed in those sectors.
He highlighted “pharmaceutical crimes” that had taken place around the world and called for laws to be changed in order for research to be translated into policy. ‘A fake Gucci bag does not kill people but counterfeit medicine does that’s why it’s important for individuals who trade in these things to be locked away.’
Noting how pharmaceutical sciences should be used for the good of society in order to fight poverty, malnutrition and inequality, he challenged students to play their part and position themselves to make an impact.
Fourth-year Medical student and Bachelor of Pharmacy graduate, Mr Mohamed Hoosen Suleman said it was an honour to introduce the next generation of pharmacists who will represent UKZN. He remarked on ‘how the University is not a place for teaching and learning but rather a place for the acquisition, regeneration and dissemination of information.’ Sharing his life’s formula of curiosity, passion, persistence and perseverance; Suleman urged students to publish research findings in scientific journals as a means of contributing to policy making and improving the public health system of South Africa.
The judges of the research presentations were Ms Delyne Subrayen, Regional Clinical Pharmacist at Life Healthcare and KwaZulu-Natal Chairperson of the South African Society of Clinical Pharmacy (SASOCP); Professor Fernando Albericio, a full research professor at the School of Chemistry and Physics; Dr Brenda De Gama, academic leader in research in the School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences; and Ms Elsabe Jones, senior production pharmacist at Cipla Manufacturing in KZN.
Tasked with grading the students on their presentations, Subrayen an alumnus of UKZN commented on how the presentations were inspiring, invigorating, impactful and informative. Albericio encouraged students to push themselves and to travel the world to acquire the skills and experience needed to come back and contribute to the development of South Africa, within their field. De Gama acknowledged the professionalism showcased by students and urged students to be able to translate their findings in order to better the lives of society.
While Jones, an alumnus of UKZN, appreciated the high level of research within the Institution.
In her vote of thanks, Ojewole acknowledged everyone who played a role in making the day a success, including the speakers, judges, guests, supervisors, co-supervisors and students. She expressed her gratitude to the University, the School of Health Sciences management and the DoPS research day committee, for the amazing support that contributed to the success of the symposium.
Nineteen groups presented on the day, while guests and other non-presenting students participated virtually via Zoom.
Words: Hlengiwe Khwela
Photograph: Ntsika Nduli