UKZN Student to Represent SA at Conference in Puerto Rico
UKZN masters student in Speech-Language Therapy, Ms Tasneem Fareed Karani has won the Sponsor-A-Student programme to attend the 2020 Dysphagia Research Society (DRS) Annual Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The DRS will provide Karani with R12 000 to help cover some of the costs involved in the trip.
Karani thanked the DRS Community and the public for voting for her while the Education Director of the DRS Ms Allison Tilque, congratulated her for being among the winners.
Karani’s master’s degree study is titled: Crispy, Crunchyand Crackly: An Exploration of the Food Acoustic Properties on the Swallow Mechanism. Her research study, supervised by Professor Mershen Pillay, is located in a larger, novel research project which is motivated by the need to deliver viable solutions to those at risk of swallowing-related aspiration pneumonia in vulnerable communities, such as South Africa.
‘The outcomes of my study may contribute to the (re)engineering of food sensory properties towards improving swallowing for those suffering with swallowing disorders. Such foods will be immensely useful where there are reduced or no swallowing rehabilitation services. This will assist in proposing a solution to alleviate the burden of disability for a very common disorder in South Africa,’ said Karani.
‘It’s been a dream of mine to attend this prestigious dysphagia conference and to initiate conversations with professionals from all across the world who are also passionate about sharing information on swallowing disorders and providing possible solutions to this common dilemma,’ said Karani.
Karani obtained her undergraduate degree cum laude in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at the University of Witwatersrand. She has won numerous accolades including the AB Clemons Research Award, awards for the best student in both Speech-Language Pathology (academic and clinical) and Audiology (academic), Golden Key Award for four consecutive years, and the Faculty Dean’s Medal Award (awarded for the most distinguished performance in a professional degree).
She has presented her research both locally and internationally, completed her community service at Stanger Hospital in 2018 and this year was the flag-bearer for South Africa at the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics (IALP) conference in Taipei, Taiwan. Upon completion of her master’s, Karani aspires to further her studies by registering for her PhD.
Words: Nombuso Dlamini