Ms Ekuyikeno Umo graduated cum laude with Masters in Biological Science for her research on parasitic malaria-related co-infections.
The Nigerian national attended the Lutheran Senior Science College, and is passionate about the field of parasitology, as parasites are such a huge health challenge in the world. She chose to pursue her postgraduate studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal after completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Calabar in Nigeria.
Her masters research centred on the role of cytokines and haematological profiles in Sprague-Dawley rats experimentally infected with Trichinellazimbabwensis and Plasmodium berghei ANKA.
‘Parasite co-infections reportedly have important but poorly understood consequences for disease development, severity and transmission dynamics,’ said Umo.
She aims to become a leader in her field of research, and is working on her PhD, striving to maintain a good balance between research and teaching, as well as develop effective leadership skills.
‘Ekuyikeno has matured rapidly and has achieved a good grounding through her MSc studies to pursue her PhD studies to completion. I am delighted with her achievement,’ said Umo’s supervisor, Professor Samson Mukaratirwa.
Umo said her graduation was a moment of celebration and reflection of what she has achieved. For Umo, the University slogan of ‘inspiring greatness’ means to be the best and to never settle for anything less.
She encouraged other students to set and pursue their goals with enthusiasm and to stay focused. She thanked her parents, siblings and supervisor for their support throughout her studies.
Words: Christine Cuénod