Postgraduate students in the Department of Physiological Sciences made a near clean-sweep when they walked away with six of the eight awards during the first CoBNeST conference which took place from 7 to 10 October 2018 in Stellenbosch.
SU students won the first three places in the PSSA Johnny van der Walt poster competition. The first place went to Yigael Powrie, a PhD-student in Professor Carine Smith's research group. Yigael is investigating the possibility to upregulate the production of particular hormones in the brain in order to alleviate chronic inflammation-related neurodegeneration.
MSc-student Daleen Conradie, supervised by Professor Anna-Mart Engelbrecht, won second place with her poster, while PhD-student Tracey Ollewagen and MSc-student Carla Fourie shared the third place. Their supervisors are Professors Kathy Myburgh and Engelbrecht respectively.
The best general poster award to a non-student went to Dr Ayodeji Oyenihi, a postdoctoral fellow in Professor Smith's group. He works on methods by which oxidative stress damage in chronic disease may be countered.
Cameron Sugden, a MSc student in Professor Myburgh's research group, won the third place in the Wyndham competition for the best oral presentation by a student. Cameron presented his work on the activation of muscle stem cells in response to high intensity exercise training, as well as their relationship with capillaries.
The CoBNeST conference was the first of its kind and succeeded in bringing together a number of societies with shared interests in basic, translational and clinical biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences. It will henceforth take place on an annual basis. Present at the conference were the Physiology Society of Southern Africa (PSSA), the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences (APSSA), the South African Association for Laboratory Animal Science (SAALAS), the South African Society for Basic and Clinical Pharmacology (SASBCP), the Southern African Neurosciences Society (SANS), and the Toxicology Society of South Africa (TOXSA).
Professor Smith said the Department of Physiological Sciences are proud of these students: “At this and previous conferences our students dominated when it came to the awards. It confirms our department's prominent role in physiology research in South Africa."
Above, postgraduate students dr. Ayodeji Oyenihi, Yigael Powrie, Daleen Conradie, Tracey Ollewagen and Carla fourie. Cameron Sugden was absent when the photo was taken. In front of the are their study leaders, profs. Carine Smith, Kathy Myburgh and Anna-Mart Engelbrecht. Photo: Wiida Fourie-Basson