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Medicine and science in harmony after seven years

14 March 2017

Growing up in a missionary family where he was exposed to the sick and vulnerable in rural communities, Matthew Amoni always knew he wanted to be a doctor and help people.
 Read full profile.


John Woodland: Shining new light on ancient malaria drugs

19 December 2016

John Woodland, a student from the Department of Chemistry at UCT, recently graduated with a PhD. He is currently a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology. Read full profile.


Chilufya Mwewa

Chilufya Mwewa: the first time I visited CERN, I was speechless

23 November 2016

Every year, CERN’s ATLAS project awards a special PhD grant to between three and eight young researchers from around the world. The grant provides funding for two years of thesis research, including a full year based at CERN. Chilufya Mwewa, a Zambian-born particle physicist currently completing her PhD at UCT, can now count herself among their number. Read full profile.


Julius Okello

Julius Okello: child soldier's PhD turns hurt into hope

10 November 2016

Abducted at the age of nine, former Ugandan child soldier and current PhD student Julius Okello talks about a life lost – and one found. Read full profile.


Stuart Swan: on water rockets and persistence

26 October 2016

On 26 August 2015 at 09:37, the Ascension III water rocket soared into the sky for the first time. It measured 2.68 m in length, weighed less than 1.5 kg and reached a speed of 550 km/h in 0.5 seconds. Most importantly, it shot to an altitude of 835 m, beating the previous world record by 217 m. Read full profile.



Lutete Khonde: synthesizing a super antioxidant

29 September 2016

Growing up in the DRC, Lutete Khonde had no idea that a decade later he would find himself in Cape Town, dedicating his PhD research to finding new ways of making ergothioneine. Read full profile.



Saachi Sadchatheeswaran: on alien marine cities

7 September 2016

In a nutshell, says UCT researcher Saachi Sadchatheeswaran, her doctoral research is about “alien marine cities”. Read full profile.



Fiona Ssozi: using mobile to empower communities

5 September 2016

PhD candidate Fiona Ssozi is tackling rural water access in Uganda through a water management application designed together with community members. Read full profile.



Xolisile Thusini: a smashing science success

15 August 2016

Xolisile Thusini is a particle physicist whose research focuses on the discovery of the Higgs boson and its properties. Read full profile.


Janine Joubert


Janine Joubert: action research is notoriously difficult

17 June 2016

While holding down a high-profile job in the telecommunications industry, Janine Joubert decided to study further. Eight years and 637 pages later, she’s graduating with her PhD in information systems. Read full profile.


 Fulufhelo Masithulela


Fulufhelo Masithulela: the long walk from Limpopo

14 June 2016

Mechanical engineer Fulufhelo Masithulela credits his success to the many people who helped him along his path. In June he graduated from UCT with a PhD in cardiovascular biomechanics for his investigations into the mechanisms of a heart attack. Read full profile.


Victor McKinney


Victor McKinney: when I speak to people, I humanise disability

14 June 2016

Victor McKinney graduated from UCT with a PhD in disability studies – despite being paralysed from the shoulders down for the last 29 years. Read full profile.


Philile Mbatha


Philile Mbatha: PhD examines complex governance systems in Kosi Bay

26 May 2016

Philile Mbatha left KwaZulu-Natal for UCT with a bag of prospects and family expectations. But a PhD is bringing the nGAP scholar full circle as she helps communities at a World Heritage Site in her home province. Read full profile.


Phindile Ntliziywana


Phindile Ntliziywana: professionalisation the tonic for municipalities’ dysfunction

17 May 2016

Law student and nGAP scholar Phindile Ntliziywana tackles a problem close to his heart in his PhD: the professionalisation of local government. Read full profile.


Zuziwe Msomi


Zuziwe Msomi: why do we still aspire to whiteness?

16 May 2016

Zuziwe Msomi, an nGAP lecturer in the Centre for African Studies, is challenging society to ask itself why, decades after the end of apartheid, whiteness still appears to hold copyright on ‘normal’. Read full profile.



Sadiq Toffa: the nGAP scholar with a commitment to transformative knowledge

3 May 2016

UCT nGAP scholar Sadiq Toffa's research in critical heritage studies addresses socio-economic and cultural justice and looks set to have far reaching effects for what he calls "deep transformation". Read full profile.


Agnes Mbonyiryivuze


Agnes Mbonyiryivuze: we must be role models for other women

21 April 2016

Agnes Mbonyiryivuze, a PhD Candidate in physics, has had a strong interest in science since her high school days. Her aim in the physics field is to become a pioneer who will make a difference. Read full profile.


Greg Jackson


Greg Jackson: asking questions one of the most important things in science

21 April 2016

Greg Jackson, master's student in physics, says his key to success has been learning from others. Read full profile.


Kentse Mpolokeng


'Bold' Kentse Mpolokeng believes in the beauty of her dreams​​​

18 April 2016

Anatomy lecturer Kentse Mpolokeng makes no bones about her ambitions: she wants to become one of the top medical sciences researchers in the country. Read full profile.



Halim Gençoĝlu: scholar’s search uncovers UCT’s first black medical doctor​​​

12 April 2016

Halim Gençoĝlu, a UCT doctoral student from Turkey, has discovered that Dr Muhammed Shukri Effendi was the first black medical student to graduate from UCT. Read full profile.


Joan Byamugisha


Joan Byamugisha: a lesson in persistence​​​

29 March 2016

In 2003 Joan Byamugisha had just finished high school and was waiting to start her studies in medicine at the Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, when life threw her the ultimate curveball. Read full profile.


Pioneering research gives hope to bereft families


Kavita Lakha: pioneering research gives hope to bereft families​​

23 March 2016

A family’s agony when a child goes missing can be almost unbearable. When time stretches into months and even years without a trace, the loss cuts even deeper. While it is tragic to lose a child, research by UCT PhD graduate Kavita Lakha could help to bring some closure. Read full profile.



Matthew Lewis: tracking baboons in hail and shine​​

10 December 2015

Recent PhD graduate Dr Matthew Lewis lost five kilograms in the first six weeks of his master’s fieldwork, as one does when following a troop of chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) through parts of a mountainous nature reserve where few venture. Read full profile.


Lizelle Odendaal


Lizelle Odendaal: why bats speak in different 'accents'​

9 September 2015

New research by UCT's very own BatGirl into the communication and navigation system of bats explores the reasons they have developed different echolocation frequencies. Read full profile.


Mohammed Elmi: Somalia's ICT boom - the untold story

8 August 2015

Somalia is often held up as a textbook example of a 'failed state'. However, there are other stories to tell – not least about the country's thriving ICT sector and growing economy. Read full profile.


Jess Dawson

Jess Dawson: how to study the most dangerous animals in Africa

5 August 2015

Jess Dawson is studying the impact of hippo poo on the St Lucia food web; among other skills, she's had to learn how to catch a crocodile, and how not to unsettle a hippopotamus. Read full profile.


Jan Schenk: why pop culture reproduces inequality in SA and Brazil

29 July 2015

Dr Jan Schenk not only found a cost-effective way to travel to Brazil to pursue his studies in popular culture – a comparison between South Africa and Brazil – but also has his PhD to thank for his business, a research company that uses mobile devices to collect data. Read full profile.


Singumbe Muyeba: why property ownership is not a path out of poverty​

8 June 2015

Home ownership is associated with a sense of security in an unpredictable world. But recent research suggests that property ownership in and of itself provides no real poverty alleviation, either direct or indirect. This finding holds very real implications for policy in countries such as South Africa, where government is rolling out housing subsidies to build low-cost housing for the country's poorest citizens. Read full profile.


Lindiwe Lamola

Lindiwe Lamola: the devastating condition that can cause cancer in children​

8 June 2015

Doctoral candidate Lindiwe Lamola has had a grudge against cancer since it caused the death of her much-loved grandmother. She is channeling her energies into examining a rare genetic syndrome that puts people at risk of developing cancer in childhood. Read full profile.


Sunkanmi Olaleye

Sunkanmi Olaleye: reviving extinct languages the mobile way

23 May 2015

A desire to preserve languages and pay tribute to the rich San culture is at the heart of the Xamobile project, which will allow users to text and perhaps even play games in the extinct |Xam language on mobile devices. Read full profile.

Kate Kempen

Kate Kempen: how well can you remember a nose? The problem with identikits

20 May 2015

A study has found that we recall faces better when we think of them in their entirety, rather than feature by feature. This could have significance in the world of crime-solving, where 'featural' identikits are still used. Read full profile.


James Craig Brown: making rugby safer around the world

19 January 2015

Few are able to say they have helped to change the way rugby is played around the world, but this is something University of Cape Town PhD graduate James Craig Brown can claim with confidence. Read full profile.