Interview: From a pig farm in Zim to star HIV researcher- Prof LGB reflects on her remarkable journey

Inside Professor Linda-Gail Bekker’s office a bookshelf is stacked with titles on general medicine, HIV and tuberculosis. Against the bookshelf, a mannequin leans dressed in a white doctor’s coat, sparkling tiara and pink Venetian mask, with a stethoscope protruding from her pocket. Known to colleagues as LGB, Bekker is one of South Africa’s top HIV researchers. Biénne Huisman chatted to Bekker about her remarkable career, finding new ways to reach young people, her love of both art and science and the thinking behind the slogan “get ripped, get prepped”.

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Going viral: Dr Chivaugn Gordon on medical school with a difference

With humour and wearing an occasional wig, Dr Chivaugn Gordon teaches medical students about serious women’s health issues. During South Africa’s COVID-19-related hard lockdown she delighted students at the University of Cape Town by making educational videos using household items as props. Biénne Huisman asked Gordon about her creative take on medical training, her love of teaching, and sensitising students about intimate partner violence.

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Face to face: “Fail your way to success”, says Prof behind pioneering drug discovery group at UCT

Technical work on the discovery of new medicines is not commonly done in South Africa, or Africa, for that matter. One person who is at the forefront of changing this, is Kelly Chibale, a professor in organic chemistry and founder of the pioneering Holistic Drug Discovery and Development Centre – H3D – at the University of Cape Town. Biénne Huisman spoke to Chibale about his fascinating work and his journey from a village in Zambia, across the world, and back to Cape Town.

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Profile: Keertan Dheda – reflections on a career finding ways to fight TB

Professor Keertan Dheda has come a long way from growing up as one of three siblings in a one-bedroom apartment in a high-rise in central Durban. Biénne Huisman chatted to Dheda, now the head of the University of Cape Town’s Division of Pulmonology, and a Professor in Mycobacteriology and Global Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, about work-life balance, problem-solving that excites him, and a career dedicated to the fight against tuberculosis.

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