South Peninsula HS science club explores gene technology

South Peninsula HS science club explores gene technology

The science club at South Peninsula High School in Diep River kicked off their 2019 programme with a talk on biotechnology by an alumnus and post-doctoral researcher.

Dr Ebrahim Samodien is based at the Biomedical Research and Innovation Platform (BRIP) at the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC). His research focuses on obesity and the risk for developing Type-2-Diabetes, cardiovascular and neurological diseases.

His 30 minute talk on gene silencing and gene splicing captivated the Grade 11 learners in attendance.

Samodien said it was wonderful to return to the school and to speak to the learners. “Many were interested in the research and they had good background knowledge about aspects of genetic engineering and their potential uses.”

Science teacher Laurene Hanekom said the club was established twenty years ago to stimulate interest amongst students – especially those who had a passion for scientific discovery.  From being a club that arranged excursions to places of interest in the past, the emphasis has shifted to inviting scientists (especially alumni) who are making their mark in the scientific world.  

Grade 11 learner Imaan Dudukay said Samodien’s talk was amazing and bordered on the realm of impossibility. “What I found fascinating is how scientists have been able to unravel our code of life. It’s definitely a field that I will consider for my career.”