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Alumni Highlights: January 2023

Young African Magazine

Alumni Highlights: January 2023

Published 1 February 2023

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In our alumni community, 2023 began to a chorus of good news. Congratulations to these three alumni who are doing incredible work in their fields. Your hard work is recognised and valued.

Aspiring cardiovascular surgeon achieves first publication - in Nature!

Andrea Tonelli (South Africa and UCT, 2021) published his first scientific publication titled The oral microbiome in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease in Nature Reviews Cardiology. Regarding this research he posted;

"Cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality remains unacceptably high. Bringing together recent developments in the fields of microbiome research and cardiovascular medicine, this review aims to provide novel insight into the mechanisms of a wide range of cardiovascular diseases, influenced by dysbiosis of the oral microbiome. We hope the content may advise novel treatment and prevention strategies."

Information designer selected as 1 of 34 African innovators to join Oxford programme

Creative practitioner, Kunashe Munyame (Zimbabwe and NWU, 2020) was announced as one of the 34 African Innovators who will be joining the AfOx Health Innovation Programme at the University of Oxford. The AfOx-Health Innovation Platform empowers Innovators to develop entrepreneurial skills to strengthen healthcare systems. The 34 innovators who were selected are tackling health challenges ranging from detection and treatment of communicable and non-communicable diseases to streamlining health systems for better access to care. When sharing the news Kunashe said,

“I advocate design in anything and everything. To design is to plan. Let's keep making good plans, plans that will become the best services, spaces, experiences, and products that people can use. I want to see people win. Humanity is worth saving.”

Pharmacist publishes on medical products regulations

Bakani Ncube (Zimbabwe & UWC, 2020) published his research titled The domestication of the African Union model law on medical products regulation: Perceived benefits, enabling factors, and challenges in Frontiers in Medicine. This study has enabled an improved understanding of the AU Model Law process, the perceived benefits of its domestication, and the enabling factors for its adoption from the perspective of African national medicines regulatory authorities (NRAs).

ECD practitioner completes PhD, wins Äänit Prize

Early childhood development practitioner, Dr. Jessica Ronaasen (South Africa and Stellenbosch, 2013) completed her doctorate in 2022. She was also one of four winners of the 2022 Äänit Prize - a big year for Jessica! We asked if she had any tips for those who intend on accomplishing this too. And here is what she had to share:

  1. Pursuing a PhD while working full time taught me… to juggle all the balls while also being kind to myself and finding synergies between the very different work that came my way! I had a baby along the way and what a wild ride that was both personally and professionally.
  2. The most impactful person in my PhD journey was… My Supervisor, Professor Lambert Engelbrecht for his enthusiasm and research creativity to merge management research with early childhood development! To Liana Steenkamp for supporting and mentoring me to see the importance of multidisciplinary work with ECD And Professor Eric Atmore for being such a cheerleader and challenging me to just do it!
  3. Don’t pursue a PhD if… you aren't in a season of your life to be able to devote time to writing.
  4. What I wish I knew before starting a PhD was… that it was possible, and a deeply personal journey of unpacking and repacking the world of management for the ECD sector.

Reminder: Applications for the Shaun Johnson Memorial Scholarship for doctoral study in the U.K. open on the 14th of February 2023. This opportunity is only open to MRF alumni.

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