H3D receives SAMRC grant for COVID-19 research project

18 May 2021 - 07:45

H3D is very excited to be part of the BRICS and international fight against  COVID-19 with our successfully awarded proposal "Multidisciplinary platform based on artificial intelligence for accelerating drug discovery and repurposing for COVID-19".

Prof Glenda Gra, SAMRC President and CEO had this to say "A lot has happened in the fight against COVID-19 since we last launched the call - now the biggest vaccination campaign in history is underway with millions of doses being administered globally, including South Africa. However, much work is still needed especially in the areas of innovative diagnostic tools and the search for more effective drugs and vaccines,”

 

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To mark the day, we asked our female scientists at H3D to reflect on their experiences and offer their advice.

Girls and women are often told that science is a men's field. I don't think we are less capable. We may have a different approach but we also have ideas. And we can be very efficient.

Dr Claire le Manach, senior investigator

 

I was once told by a senior scientist that if I wasn't married by the time I got my PhD that it would be unlikely that I would after that. This was a very daunting thing to be told at all of 21 and only enhanced the stereotype of the cold spinster female scientist. Being both very stubborn and very passionate about science I continued regardless and have been pleasantly surprised by how wrong that stereotype is. The culture of science is changing; what was once exclusively a boys club that required total life devotion is now a diverse environment that is beginning to encourage healthy work-life boundaries. While there is still a long way to go, it is great to know that as a female scientist you no longer have to choose between a career and a family if that's something you desire. I'm learning that I can have the life I create the space for and still be a solid researcher. Despite being constantly challenging, I love working in STEM. Being a woman in STEM has been an interesting and intense journey that has grown me as a person more that I thought possible. I'm grateful that for the most part I have been very supported. I have no doubt that having that level of support has gotten me where I am and as a result I am very conscious about actively supporting other scientists - especially fellow women in STEM. 

Dr Jean Dam, Investigator

                                       

           

Photo credit: Natasha Dzhola / © Culture Trip

 

Don't let anyone use the excuse of you being a woman to limit your aspirations, whether in science, in sports, in art or in life. Noone can tell you what you'd like to be or to achieve. You're the only person who knows so go for it!

Dr Claire le Manach, Senior Investigator

 

Research is hard and great science cannot be done alone. It is so important to be plugged into a network of people (both male and female) who can provide encouragement, guidance and inspiration. You need to have people who can be a sounding board and who can help you clarify and achieve your goals. I have met such incredible female scientists who inspire and support me and am lucky to have a close group of friends in STEM who understand the demands and stresses and are a fantastic sounding board. It's also important to have friends outside of STEM who keep you plugged into the world - it's easy to get consumed in your work and having non-STEM connections helps keep you rooted. The other piece of advice I would give is to always be someone who is teachable. Working in STEM will humble you regularly. Be open to learning new things. Be open to asking for help. Be open to different ways of doing things. Learning from others will expose you to different ways of thinking and elevate your own research.

Dr Jean Dam, Investigator

 

Women are our greatest resource. Let us encourage one another and our young girls that a career in STEM is not only possible but the doorway to social, political and educational change.

 

 Wathint Abafazi Wathint Imbokodo! (you strike a woman, you strike a rock)

Article by Alacia Armstrong