Medical Biochemistry Honours group Graduates with Top Marks
Mr Naeem Sheik-Abdul topped the Medical Science Honours class in Medical Biochemistry, graduating summa cum laude.
His success was closely followed by cum laude graduates: Ms Nikita Devnarain, Ms Terisha Ghazi, Ms Melissa Govender and Ms Denelle Moodley.
Sheik-Abdul (22) of Escourt said his achievement was a reflection of the hard work he put in over the course of the year as well as the support of his parents and the Medical Biochemistry Department.
‘I am both humbled and honoured by this accomplishment,’ he said, adding he was now pursuing a Masters degree in Medical Biochemistry.
Sheik-Abdul’s Honours project investigated the cytotoxicity of a novel tumoricidal fusaric acid derivative in non-cancerous human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293 cells. This derivative was synthesised by conjugating fusaric acid to phenylhydrazine and data from the study suggested that apoptosis occurred in HEK 293 cells via the intrinsic apoptotic pathway.
‘This study has led to the elucidation of this derivative’s mechanism of action, dose dependence and toxicity in HEK 293 cells,’ Sheik-Abdul explained.
Devnarain (22) of Springfield said: ‘I hope my colleagues and I have set an example for youngsters willing to pursue tertiary studies in future.
She is also pursing her Masters in Medical Biochemistry.
Devnarain’s Honours project was titled: “The Biochemical Effects of Fusaric Acid Derivative on Apoptosis in HepG2 Cells”, which found that a fusaric acid derivative induced apoptosis in HepG2 cells via the intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic pathways. It encouraged further studies to potentiate the use of FAD in cancer treatment trials.
Ghazi of Durban conducted research titled: “The Effect of Fusaric Acid On Apoptosis In Human Embryonic Kidney (Hek293) Cells.”
She said she was extremely excited to be graduating cum laude in her Honours year. ‘I am very proud of myself for being able to put in so much of hard work and achieving such great results.’
Govender (23) from Verulam examined the biochemical effects of fusaric acid on oxidative stress in HEK293 cells in her research project.
She said while she didn’t get into the MBChB programme as she wished, she decided to fulfil her passion for Medicine by completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences which ultimately led her to furthering her studies in Medical Biochemistry.
‘The support and encouragement I receive from my parents and brother as well as from my lecturers especially Professor Anil Chuturgoon and Dr Alisa Phulukdaree have been instrumental in my success thus far,’ said Govender.
Govender is now pursuing a study titled: “The Anitmetabolic Effects of L-Canavanine on Adenocarcinoma Cells.”
A total of 21 Honours students graduated from Medical Biochemistry at UKZN.