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Celebrating 17 doctoral degrees in science
Author: Media & Communication, SU Faculty of Science
Published: 09/12/2016

Prof. Eugene Cloete, Vice-Rector: Research and Innovation, celebrated with two of his students, Dr Danielle de Beer and Dr Ruenda Loots, who obtained their PhDs in biochemistry during the sixth graduation ceremony at Stellenbosch University yesterday.

Dr De Beer, who was co-supervised by Dr Marelize Botes, developed a biological filtration system specifically designed for treating wastewater from wine cellars. The technology involved has been patented, licensed and is in the process of being released commercially.

Dr Ruenda Loots, co-supervised by Prof. Pieter Swart, used a biomimetic approach to study the common survival strategies of biofilms. Her findings showed that biofilms adapt rapidly to changes in their environment, thereby ensuring their survival. She also developed a biomimetic framework that can be used to inform new anti-biofilm strategies and to explain complex microbial ecological phenomena.

Another PhD graduate in biochemistry, Dr Carl Christensen, developed software that models the different metabolic pathways in the body.

The Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science this year delivered five Phd graduates. They are Dr Lonwabo Ngodwana, Dr Waheen Saban, Dr Angelique Blanckenberg, Dr Dominic Castell and Dr Emile Engel.

Dr Wilfrid Ndebeka and Dr Ntombizikhona Ndlovu both obtained their PhDs in physics, while the Department of Mathematical Sciences delivered two PhD graduates, namely Dr Fortunat Rajaona (computer science) and Dr Nantsoina Ramiharimanana (mathematics).

Doctoral degrees were also awarded to Dr Tanja Davis (physiological sciences), Dr Arno de Klerk and Dr Christoff Truter (zoology), Dr Anneke Postma and Dr Mariska Laubscher (microbiology), and Dr Azwimbavhi Mulidzi (geology).