MSc Cum Laude Graduate Balances Science and Film Interests
Mr Preshanthan Moodley received a Master’s in Microbiology degree cum laude for his research on the feasibility of using agricultural waste as a feedstock for biofuel production.
Moodley started his university education only after he had finished studying film making at the South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance (AFDA). His background in film led to Moodley producing videos with the University’s Public Relations Office as a sideline during this time on the Pietermaritzburg campus.
Balancing his interests has come naturally to Moodley. During the 2014 Ebola outbreak, he conceptualised a short documentary to create awareness about the virus, with input from two Senior Lecturers at UKZN. The video was featured by East Coast Radio and has drawn more than 6 000 views on YouTube.
Moodley worked hard to submit his Master’s in a year, also presenting his research at international conferences in the United States, Spain and Durban. He began his degree at UKZN at the age of 23 after completing his BA (Hons) at AFDA.
Passionate about Microbiology and Biochemistry, Moodley was drawn to do the research when his undergraduate Lecturer and now Supervisor, Dr Gueguim Kana, introduced him to bioprocesses and the future of biotechnology.
In his Master’s, Moodley explored bioprocess development for hydrogen production by dark fermentation using waste sugarcane leaves.
‘Sugarcane leaves are produced in large quantities in South Africa, and current disposal techniques are hazardous to the environment,’ said Moodley. ‘New, environmentally-friendly approaches have been developed and show promise for combatting the looming energy crisis.’
Moodley, who credits Kana for inspiring his research path and encouraging him to pursue excellence, also thanked his parents for supporting him in all his diverse studies.
‘Moodley is a very diligent, hardworking, eager to learn, resourceful, committed, self-motivated and target-oriented individual, with an outstanding zeal for scientific research,’ said Kana of his student.
Moodley is currently enrolled for his PhD at UKZN.