Dr Akhona Vava awarded prestigious South African NRF Fellowship

Dr Akhona Vava joins ICGEB Cape Town’s Cancer Genomics Group having been awarded the South African National Research Foundation Professional Development Programme Fellowship.

Dr Vava’s research project is entitled Elucidation of the mechanism of action DCUN1D1 and DCUN1D1 substrates in prostate cancer development and progression for therapeutic interventions, with part of the research already published in Cells.

Globally, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer. Among African men, it is ranked 1st in both incidence and mortality. Growing knowledge of human genetics is changing the way physicians and researchers approach both the diagnosis and the treatment of cancer. Genomic information about prostate cancer is leading to better diagnoses and treatment strategies.

Dr Vava, originally from South Africa’s Eastern Cape province, focuses her research on understanding the biology behind cancer to find pertinent and innovative approaches to contribute to scholarly knowledge and technology development for cancer treatment in Africa. Akhona adds, ‘This is what makes performing my research at the ICGEB opportune, because its ethos and culture is driven towards research excellence and sustainable scientific solutions to the most pressing societal matters’.

‘The NRF Professional Development Programme is an inspirational aspect to the way early career scientists can further develop their scientific identity and practice. I believe fulfilling my program activities at the ICGEB will prove to be pivotal to my actualisation as a scientist, that performs continentally impactful research with global relevance’ Dr Akhona Vava

Dr. Vava continues to mentor many young South African students who wish to consider a career in STEM.