UKZN Academics Speak at Genetics Congress in Durban
Several UKZN academics delivered presentations at the 17th biennial Congress of the Southern African Society of Human Genetics held in Durban in partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health.
They included Academic Leader of Research in the School of Clinical Medicine, Professor Colleen Aldous;
Professor Miriam Adhikari, who has dedicated all her life to paediatrics and genetics research, and Professor Richard Hift.
The four-day congress attracted genetics and genomics scientists, and healthcare specialists from all over South Africa and the rest of the world.
Addressing the congress, Chairperson of the Southern African Society for Human Genetics (SASHG), Dr Zané Lombard, said Ubuntu was an engrained part of the South African social fabric and it was therefore fitting that the theme of the congress was Ubuntu Genetics.
‘This congress marks the 30th anniversary of our first SASHG Congress and will surely add value in understanding our community and patients and should also inspire us to find new ways in which we can work together for the better of our communities,’ said Lombard.
Said Aldous, who was the SASHG Chair of the Congress’s organising committee: ‘Whether you are a scientist, nurse, counsellor or doctor, the bottom line is that it is the patient who we should be trying to provide the best care for. This conference intends to remind us researchers and health care practitioners that it is the patients and their families who need care the most.’
Items discussed at the congress included genetic testing, genetic diagnosis and counselling, genetics in prenatal settings, molecular genetics and pharmacogenetics.
In the last three decades, the study of genetics has played an increasingly important role in helping explain events in human history. Studies have provided conclusive information that helped answer challenging questions, such as the Out of Africa migration of modern humans.
The studies have also helped to establish Africa as the birthplace of anatomically modern humans.
Words by: Lihle Sosibo