FameLab SA Winner 2023
Taskeen Hasrod was chosen as FameLab SA 2023 winner during the national leg of the International FameLab science communication competition held on Thursday evening, 21 September 2023, at the National Research Foundation (NRF) auditorium in Pretoria. As the national winner, she will represent South Africa in the International FameLab competition hosted by Cheltenham in the UK on 24 November 2023.
During the FameLab South Africa Final, ten young scientists showcased research from some of the top academic and research institutes across the country in a way that non-experts can follow along and enjoy.
Taskeen captivated the judges with her storytelling skills and her passion for using artificial intelligence to create a more sustainable future. Her research in environmental analytical chemistry aims to create a circular economy by extracting valuable by-products from acid mine drainage. The traditional chemistry experiments used to measure by-products are time-consuming and expensive, however, and Taskeen is developing machine-learning techniques to short-circuit the process.
Runner-up Caleb Swanepoel from the University of Cape Town is working to improve phage therapy to treat antibiotic-resistant infections. Caleb, who is in the second year of his MSc studies, says the worldwide growth of antibiotic resistance has sparked new interest in phages, which are viruses that target and infect bacteria.
Runner-up Ayesha Osman from the University of South Africa is studying for a PhD while lecturing engineering students. Her research aims to use titanium, copper and gold to develop an antibacterial alloy for use in dental applications, and she says it has the potential to affect millions of people who need dental implants.
To watch the FameLab SA finale, click here.