DST-NRF Interns

The National Research Foundation (NRF) awarded the ACI with six interns for the 2015/2016. During this period, they were placed in various divisions/departments within the FMHS and participated in an array of projects.

  • Bianca Snyders – ACI
  • Shané Chanté Van Niekerk – ACI, Radiation Oncology and Gynaecological Oncology
  • Dimakatso Susan Radebe – ACI
  • Nadia Hoffman – Psychiatry
  • Bianca Leigh Hamman, ACI and Radiobiology
  • Bianca Annina Bock, Biochemistry

The interns received exposure to research methods, scientific writing and protocol development and contributed to research efforts within the Institute.

Bianca Snyders is a BPsych graduate.  She was involved in cancer surveillance research studies. Her current project entailed developing a population based cancer registry at Tygerberg Hospital. Bianca’s expectations for the forthcoming year were to take responsibility in shaping, managing and directing her research study. Ultimately, she would like to improve on the following aspects of the research process which includes data collection, report writing and data analysis and knowing that her learning at the ACI will be beneficial for her professional career.

Shané Chanté Van Niekerk is a recent graduate from the University of the Western Cape with a B.Sc in Medical Bioscience. The project that she was involved in focuses on data collection for the following two studies: Anal cancer and lymph node metastasis risk in endometrial cancer. These studies are both classified as observational studies and she worked under the supervision of Dr. Fourie and Professor Botha.  Her expectations for this internship were to acquire skills vital to research which she can utilise in other areas in the future and to improve in management and responsibility involved in the research process.

Dimakatso Radebe is a BSoc.Sc Psychology honours graduate. She was involved in cancer surveillance studies. Her current project involved conducting a validation study to assess whether Clinicom captured all the necessary information that is required by the cancer registration form.  Her expectations for this intership were to learn more about how the professional world operates and create networks for future reference. At the end of the internship, she expected her research skills to have improved (protocol writing, data collection, data analysis and dicussion of results) as she is planning to further her studies in the field of research.

Nadia Hoffman is an intern in research psychology at the ACI. She is a registered speech and language therapist with an MA in research psychology. Her research interests are attachment theory, intellectual disability and separation anxiety. She is currently involved with the department of psychiatry as a research assistant and coordinator for various studies involving neuro-imaging.   During the year as an intern at the ACI she aimed to  expand her research skills, in order to embark on a PhD in 2016.

Bianca Leigh Hamman recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Medical Bioscience and has joined the team at the ACI, Stellenbosch University, as an Intern. She worked under the supervision of Professor Vikash Sewram and Professor John Akudugu (Radiobiology Unit) on a research project that involved a current curative treatment therapy (radiation therapy) in combination with plant extracts of Centella asiatica and Withania somnifera. The focus of the research was on the radio-modifying effects of the plant extracts of Centella asiatica and Withania somnifera on the Pancreatic cell line PL45. Based on the outcome of the aforementioned project she hopes to continue her research on different cancer cell lines as a researcher for the ACI, or if the opportunity arises, to further her studies in cancer research and radiobiology, at the University of Stellenbosch.

Bianca Bock was involved in  a cancer-related research project under the co-supervision of Prof. Anna–Mart Engelbrecht and Dr. Balindiwe Sishi. Her research focus was primarily on alleviating the detrimental effects of Doxorubicin (DOX)-induced cardiotoxicity, which is a life threatening side effect of cancer treatment with DOX. Many strategies have been investigated in an effort to decrease the drug’s cardiotoxicity without affecting its anti-neoplastic efficacy, however, no treatment with such qualities has been identified to date. The aim of this study was to investigate whether a ketogenic diet can be used as an adjuvant therapy to reduce the cardiotoxic effect of DOX without diminishing its anti-neoplastic efficacy. The outcome of this study will be used to propose a mechanism that can be easily introduced into a clinical setting without introducing other cytotoxic drugs. It is her hope that her internship will offer her the essential guidance and furthermore develop her understanding in the research field.