The 21 October saw the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC)’s Biomedical Research and Innovation Platform (BRIP) successfully hosting its 9th Annual Symposium. This year’s symposium was under theme: “Advancing health through capacity development”.
While the main purpose of the symposium was to provide graduate students (MSc and PhD levels) affiliated with the SAMRC with a platform to share their research with peers and industry experts, it also created an opportunity for networking and to identify possible future collaborations. The students came from local universities, as well as under-resourced Institutions such as Universities of Limpopo and Zululand.
According to Dr Rabia Johnson, Deputy Director at BRIP and a Chair of the symposium’s Organizing Committee, over the years, the program has grown from strength to strength. “In terms of numbers, the success of the program has seen it grow from just over a dozen delegates when first launched eight years ago to slightly less than 100 in 2019,” said Johnson. Furthermore, Dr. Johnson says that the quality of speakers at each year’s installment also added to its exponential growth. “This year’s highlight was having international guest speakers addressing the delegates – these included: Prof Bernd Rosenkranz of Stellenbosch University/Fresenius University of Applied Sciences Faculty of Economic & Media, Germany; Prof Luca Tiano and Dr. Sonia Silvestri, both from the Polytechnic University of Marche, Ancona, Italy,” she said.
The three international research trailblazers’ talks centered on exploration of various prevention, management and treatment strategies of disorders such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease risk and cancer. The topics included:
- Rosenkranz’ talk was titled: Herb-drug interactions – What is known in the South African context?
- Prof Luca Tiano presented on “Ubiquinol in cardiovascular disease prevention. A key molecule to support endothelial function”
- Dr Sonia Silvestri “Mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress in the skeletal muscle. Role of Coenzyme Q”
Also, in attendance were some members of the SAMRC’s Executive Management led by the CEO and President, Prof Glenda Gray who officially declared the symposium open. In her address, Prof Gray emphasized the importance of such forums, saying that they are “the cornerstones of the SAMRC’s continued efforts to advance its capacity development mission”.