The ICGEB, in partnership with the South African Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), has launched the ICGEB South African Women in Biotechnology (SAWBP) Programme.
The ICGEB SAWBP supports PhD and Postdoctoral South African women scientists to carry out research in the state-of-the-art labs at ICGEB Cape Town. Launched in 2022, the first Fellowships under this programme commenced early this year. With additional South African partners: the National Research Foundation, and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the Fellowships also promote the interaction and mobility of South African women Biotechnology researchers and the ICGEB community, including mobility support to visit ICGEB Components in Trieste, Italy and New Delhi, India.
While expressing congratulations to the SAWBP 2023 Fellows, we hear about their placements under the new programme. Dr. Lorna Gcanga, Postdoctoral Fellow, is part of the ICGEB Cytokines and Disease Group and focuses her research on the functional validation of noncoding RNAs as host-directed therapy for tuberculosis. She states that ”Postdoc fellowships are highly competitive, merit-based and the likelihood of being awarded one varies. Being awarded this ICGEB SAWBP fellowship reaffirms and strengthens the importance of our research. It is such a great honour to be one of the women awarded this fellowship for our innovative research. I truly hope this research benefits people someday soon.”
Prishanta Pillay, PhD Fellow, will pursue a project in the Virology – Emerging Viruses Group on Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) reactivation and associated tumorigenesis amidst COVID-19, which aims to assess the risk of EBV lytic reactivation in the context of SARS-CoV2 infection on both a molecular and a clinical level. She states: “I am greatly honoured and appreciative for being awarded the ICGEB SAWBP Fellowship as this will allow me to gain extensive knowledge from some of the experts in my field and support me in fulfilling my research and academic dreams.”
Nadine Tambwe joins as a PhD Fellow who will conduct her research in the Cancer Genomics Group and will focus on investigating the role of exosomal miRNA in South African prostate cancer (PCa) patients. She says of her Fellowship: “I’m thankful to be selected for the ICGEB SAWBP fellowship and honoured to have a fellowship that is focused on supporting Women in science to establish and further their opportunities. Additionally, it’s humbling to be awarded a fellowship that’s targeted at studies in Africa for the African population.”
The 2024 call for SAWBP Postdoctoral Fellowships is currently open, with a closing date of 19 May 2023. The PhD call will be opened later in the year.