Student off to meet world’s brightest minds

UWC PhD student Shireen Mentor.

UWC PhD student Shireen Mentor has been selected to attend the 68th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, a prestigious gathering of scientists from around the world.

Ms Mentor is one of only six South African female scientists who have been nominated by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) to attend the gathering in Germany, from Tuesday July 24 to Saturday July 28, where 600 of the world’s brightest minds, including Nobel prize-winning scientists, share their ideas on physiology and medicine.

The 29-year-old is already a published scientist in prominent scientific journals, and was the first recipient of the coveted national Wyndham Prize from the Physiology Society of Southern Africa in 2014.

“I deeply appreciate this opportunity to exchange ideas and get to hear about cutting-edge research first-hand,” she said.

“My original research,” she said, “was situated squarely within the context of substance abuse. My neighbourhood, like many others in the greater Cape Town, experiences high levels of substance abuse, in particular methamphetamine, and this inspired me to look at the science behind it.”

Her journey with UWC started when she joined the university’s work-study programme for students predominantly from previously-disadvantaged backgrounds.

Ms Mentor worked as a student assistant and anatomy practical demonstrator, and lectured postgraduate students in basic tissue culture techniques at the Medical Biosciences Department.

“UWC has been my stepping stone in many respects. I’m looking forward to the meeting – and learning more about how my research may one day be able to make a meaningful contribution to treating addiction,” she said.