ICGEB South African HDI Programme welcomes 1st Fellow

Ms Dikgale Mangokoana joins ICGEB Cape Town’s Virology – Emerging Viruses Group, as the first Fellowship awarded within the ICGEB Special Programme with South African Historically Disadvantaged Institutions (HDIs), in partnership with the South African Department of Science and Innovation.

Ms Mangokoana, an early PhD student in Biochemistry from the University of Limpopo, who studies the impact of the ribonucleotide reductase inhibitor Didox on dampening inflammation caused by SARS-CoV2 infection, will be undertaking research at ICGEB over the next six months, under the guidance and mentorship of Dr Georgia Schafer.

During her fellowship, Dikgale will work towards establishing a cell culture model of inflammation in both mouse and human macrophages which will then be treated with Didox. Once established, she will test whether Didox can also inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection and/or inflammation in this model.

Commenting on her Fellowship, Dikgale explains ‘I’m honoured to be a recipient of the ICGEB Special HDI Programme Fellowship. The Programme gives South African students and researchers from HDIs an opportunity to gain experience in an international scientific research environment, applying the latest techniques and methodologies, creating opportunities for future research collaborations.’

Dr Georgia Schäfer highlights the benefits and potential of the HDI Programme, ‘Dikgale will be at ICGEB Cape Town for 6 months. Getting training here will be a great push for her PhD project which is currently in its early stages. She can apply the acquired knowledge and skills in her home laboratory where she can set up the same cellular models. This will undoubtedly be a great asset in her home laboratory and will contribute to her completing a PhD project of high standards’.

The ICGEB Special Programme with South African HDIs is designed to develop and support capacity development in South African Historically Disadvantaged Institutions. The Programme includes funding opportunities for 1) Collaborative Research Grant Programme, 2) Meetings and Courses and 3) Fellowships.