Young Professor Appointed Academic Leader: Research

The School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences has appointed Professor Bongani Nkambule (34) as its Academic Leader of Research.

Nkambule, previously Academic Leader: Molecular and Cellular Diseases in the School, said barriers to success in research included a lack of access to mentors or meaningful mentorship, funding and state-of-the-art equipment.

‘My goal is to improve collaborative research in the school and enhance the quality of mentorship for early-career academics and postgraduate students. The two goals are interlinked and will drive the school towards a multi-disciplinary research approach,’ said Nkambule.

‘Some of the immediate objectives of my strategy include setting up online systems that will promote shared resources within the School, initiating interdisciplinary research presentations, and establishing grant-writing teams. A modern-day approach to grant-writing is crucial for competitiveness in the shrinking local and international funding pool.’

Born in Ermelo in Mpumalanga, Nkambule is a registered medical-biological scientist and an Associate Professor in the Discipline of Haematology. He completed his MMed Degree (Pathology) cum laude at Stellenbosch University in 2011 followed by a PhD in Haematological Pathology in 2015. He was awarded the Stellenbosch University Faculty of Health Sciences best postgraduate student award in 2012.

He is currently a Principal Investigator with several research grants worth over R2 million while his primary research focuses on immunohematology, platelet function and immuno-thrombosis in inflammatory conditions and malignancies.

Nkambule is the recipient of several awards including the 2019 School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical science Top Performing Senior lecturer and the Top Grant Recipient Senior Lecturer. Since joining UKZN in 2016, he has graduated three PhD and five MSc students and has published more than 63 peer-reviewed articles with most articles placed in high-impact journals.

He has received several research fellowships during his tenure at UKZN, being awarded the DRILL-UKZN Fellowship in 2016-2020. Most recently he was awarded a prestigious NHI Senior Research Fellowship at the world’s leading Platelet Biology & Homeostasis Laboratory in the National Institutes of Health /National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in Boston, United States.

‘We wish him well in this position and will continue giving him all the support he needs,’ said Professor Musa Mabandla, Dean and Head of the School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences.

Words: Lihle Sosibo

Photograph: Supplied