School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences Holds Successful Research Symposium

In the face of the huge challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a total of 26 projects were presented at the annual research symposium of the School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences.

With the words of Nelson Mandela – ‘It always seems impossible until it’s done’ – very relevant in the strained circumstances caused by the virus, the organising committee outdid themselves.

The virtual event was organised by Professor Michelle Gordon, Dr Nqobile Jaca, Dr Andile Khathi, Professor Bongani Nkambule and Ms Prathna Dudhrajh.

A total of 26 research projects – both oral and poster – were presented at the Symposium by various disciplines in the School including Clinical Anatomy, Physiology, Medical Microbiology, Medical Biochemistry, and Virology.

The presentations were judged by Dr Depika Dwarka of the Department of Biotechnology and Food Technology at the Durban University of Technology, Dr Jabulani Ncayiyana of the Department of Public Health, Dr Jackson Marakalala of the African Health Research Institute and Professor Raj Karpoormath of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UKZN’s School of Health Sciences.

The winner in the Oral category was Mr Joastin Naidoo, who presented on: Presence of the Eponymous Anastomotic Veins of the Superficial Cortical Venous System; second was Ms Shinese Ashokcoomar who spoke on: Myobacterium Tuberculosis Curli Pili (MTP) Deficiency Associated with Alterations in Cell Wall Biogenesis, Fatty Acid Metabolism and Amino Acid Synthesis; and joint third were Mr Oluwaseun Faborode and Mr Andile Mtshali who presented on: Implication of Amyloid-Beta (1-42) Lesioning on Fear Memory and Anxiety in a Rat Model of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Temporal Changes in Vaginal Microbiota and Cytokines in Women Treated for Bacterial Vaginosis respectively.

Winners in the Poster category were Mr Marshlin Delon Naicker with a talk on: The role of NEF-Mediated SERINC5 Down Regulation in HIV-1 Disease Progression, followed by Dr Dharshni Pillay who presented a talk on: Neonatal Sepsis in a Tertiary Unit in South Africa: Big Drugs for Baby Bugs, and Ms Zakithi Mkhize with a talk on: Effect of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) Subtype C Transactivator of Transcription Elongation Factor b (P-TEFb) and Viral Latency.

Exhibitors from Inqaba Biotech, the Scientific Group, Anatech and Elsevier showcased their companies who all support teaching and research. UKZN thanked them for sponsoring prizes.

Words: Lihle Sosibo

Photographs: Supplied