Author: Sthembiso Msweli - 2016-04-17Tweet
After working at Hlabisa Laboratory for 9 years as a Lab Technologist in 2014 I received a Masters scholarship from MRC Flagship to do MSc at UKZN. The scholarship provided tuition fees, monthly stipend as well as a very nice Mac book computer. My MSc project was based on the use of Next Generation Sequencing (Miseq) for HIV-1, determining drug resistance mutations from patients failing ART in Hlabisa district. The environment was very conducive and we had a very good team leading the laboratory work.
During my two years at Genomic Centre at UKZN, weekly to monthly I have been able to interact with international Scientists when they come to do weekly seminar talks. The Centre also had several Post Docs [Alain, Anne, Eduan, Justen and Siva (senior scientist)] who were always willing to provide Mentorship and Coaching at all times to us. This made me realized that to be a good scientist I have to continuously learn and adapt to the latest trends. And it also provided different culture to the one I was used to. I was able align my research questions.
In 2015, I did Biostatistics Reasoning Course with UKZN for two weeks; this course was so helpful on how to conduct my data analysis. Furthermore, my supervisor (Prof. Tulio) sent us to University of Western Cape (SANBI) to do intense Bioinformatics Course. This for me came at a right time because my project needed some of bioinformatics? tools. We learned the use of Phylogenetics, Python programming, Statistics, SQL, System Biology and etc. We had opportunities to travel to any conferences be national or international for presentation.
'After the completion of my MSc I went back to the NHLS laboratory where I am currently working as laboratory manager at Bethesda. My future goals include going back to the university to do PhD in Virology, and continue to improve my bioinformatics skills.'