Shamiso Dzingire, Business Reporter
A BULAWAYO-born scientist based in South Africa recently participated in the 68th Nobel Laureate Meeting which was held in Lindau, Germany.
The meeting, which is held every year, allows some of the most promising scientists from across the world to meet Nobel Prize winners. The meeting also fosters valuable intergenerational and intercultural exchanges of scientific knowledge.
Mr Keith Ncube (27), a teaching assistant and Masters student in Pharmacology at the University of Pretoria in South Africa was selected to participate at the meeting alongside Michelle Visagie and Elsie Nolte from the same university.
The three were selected out of a pool of 83 countries’ international leading young scientists to attend this year’s meeting. The three scientists are working on innovative breast cancer research that has the attention of the world. Breast cancer is one of the most frequently diagnosed cancers among women worldwide.
In a telephone interview with Business Chronicle yesterday, Mr Ncube said he applied for the competition because he wanted to meet and interact with Nobel Laureates who have been described as the greatest benefit to mankind.
“This is one of the biggest scientific meetings in the world so I just got inspired to meet Nobel Prize winners who are not easy to come across and in that specific meeting we had about 48 of them. It was a really great scientific experience,” said Mr Ncube
He added: “The connections I made and the networking were enriching. Learning about research that has been conducted out there also gave me a different perspective about my work ethic in relation to the project that I am working on.”
Mr Ncube bemoaned lack of awareness among the youth about the competition which hinder their ability to apply for the competition.
He said: “Not so many Zimbabweans apply for this competition because most people do not know about it and generally speaking about the research environment in the country does not cultivate a very conducive environment to create awareness about such events. So I would like to raise awareness about the meeting, to encourage application and participation by Zimbabweans.”
Mr Ncube also encouraged young people to apply for such opportunities and desist from being intimidated by applicants from other regions.
“When you apply for participation, it might seem intimidating because you are competing with PhD students from universities like Harvard and Oxford. That should not intimidate you because selection is based on regional distribution so you’ll be competing with people from your specific region for that spot.”
From Germany, Mr Ncube travelled to Kyoto, Japan for the World Congress of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology where he made a presentation relating to his breast cancer research.
The congress is the biggest pharmacology conference in the world that occurs once every four years.
This year’s congress, which was attended by researchers within the Pharmacology field, was held under the theme “Pharmacology for the Future — Science Drug Development and Therapeutics.”
At the conference, Mr Ncube spoke about experimental models on which to test drugs on before they are tested on animals at clinical trials.
Mr Ncube was born in Bulawayo where he attended Kumalo Primary School and Nkulumane High School before acquiring his Advanced Level certificate at Masiyephambili College.
He holds a BSc in Medical Science (first class) and a first class Honours Degree in Pharmacology. He will complete his Masters in Pharmacology at the University of Pretoria this year.