UCT STU­DENT HON­OURED

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - METRO - Staff Re­porter

UCT PhD can­di­date Ler­ato Hlaka re­ceived a post­grad­u­ate doc­toral de­gree fel­low­ship at L’Oreal-Un­esco For Women in Sci­ence pro­gramme

cer­e­mony in Nairobi, Kenya, on Thurs­day. Only 12 PhD fel­low­ships were given to young fe­male sci­en­tists from across Africa this year.

Hlaka’s re­search, in the depart­ment of pathol­ogy, di­vi­sion of im­munol­ogy, in­volves iden­ti­fy­ing po­ten­tial drug-tar­gets for pathogen and host-di­rected ther­apy for

tu­ber­cu­lo­sis.

The work that was hon­oured last night is in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Pro­fes­sor Colin Suck­ling and Dr Kather­ine Carter from the Univer­sity

of Strath­clyde, Glas­gow, and Dr Fraser Scott from the Univer­sity of Hud­der­s­field, both in the UK. It in­volves iden­ti­fy­ing the an­timy­cobac­te­rial ac­tiv­ity of mi­nor groove bin­der com­pounds as a foun­da­tion for the devel­op­ment of a novel in­hal­able drug for­mu­la­tion for

the treat­ment of TB.

This could po­ten­tially lead to the devel­op­ment of an ef­fec­tive anti-TB for­mu­la­tion, a much-needed in­ter­ven­tion in a coun­try with one of the high­est bur­dens

of TB glob­ally.

“The high in­ci­dences of dru­gre­sis­tant tu­ber­cu­lo­sis pro­pel an ur­gent need for the devel­op­ment of

new ef­fec­tive drugs.

“I am grate­ful to my su­per­vi­sors, as­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor Reto Guler, Pro­fes­sor Frank Brom­bacher and Dr Mu­min Oz­turk, and our col­lab­o­ra­tor Dr Fraser Scott for pro­vid­ing me the op­por­tu­nity to be part of this work,”

said Hlaka. |

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