PPSS Post-Graduate Physiological Student Society 4th Edition , November 2010 Can you believe it – the year is almost finished and Christmas is just around the corner! Clearly our department has adopted the “jet-setting” lifestyle of late: interesting travels to the UK, travels to tropical Turkey and so many conferences attended and achievements!!! Not to mention our Honours class of 2010 presenting their year’s research on the 15th of El Presidenté November. Mark Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org The PPSS would like to extend a very warm congratulations to all students and supervisors who appear in this newsletter for their wonderful achievements and their outstanding contributions in their El Vice Presidenté scientific fields – we are proud of you and we are privileged to have you Dr Ben Loos in our department. Well done to all the students who have worked email@example.com exceptionally hard this year at their projects and who are continuing next year – your patience and endurance is an inspiration to us all. And may your tireless work pay off 100-fold!!! El Secretarius Balindiwe Sishi To those of you who have decided to venture out into the big bad world firstname.lastname@example.org next year – we wish you luck and hope that you achieve much success in all you do, and we will miss you. Just don’t forget to pop in from time to time and let us know what you have been up to . Honour’s Representative Gina Leisching I would also like to personally thank all the individuals who contributed plentiful news and stories and who gave feedback for the newsletters email@example.com this year. Included in this newsletter are also important days relating to global heath concerns to heighten our awareness and encourage further Master’s Representative research in human disease (from Oct – Dec). Paul Steyn Its that time of the year again when the holidays in sight. Please stay safe firstname.lastname@example.org wherever you go, and relax and have fun in the wonderful summer weather. Have a wonderful festive season and new years!!! Editor + Academic toolbox See you next year! Kathleen Reyskens email@example.com PPSS Committee Social and Community Birthdays events Co-coordinator A very happy birthday to all those Maritza Kruger who were born in the months of firstname.lastname@example.org October, November and December! PPSS Post-Graduate Physiological Student Society The Department of Physiological Sciences again scored highly in student competitions at the annual meeting of the Physiological Society of Southern Africa (PSSA) that was recently held in East London. Here Gina Leisching (PhD) was awarded 2nd prize in the prestigious Wyndham competition (oral presentations), with Paul Steyn (MSc) achieving 3rd place. Ashwin Isaacs (MSc)received an honorable mention for his outstanding efforts. Heloise Le Roux (BSc-Hons) received the runner’s up (2nd) award for the Johnny van der Walt poster competition. Dr Ben Loos has also been elected as a committee member of the PSSA, with Prof Kennedy Erlwanger as the new president and Prof Hans Strydom from Medical Physiology at Tygerberg campus as the new Vice President of the society. The competition for these prestigious (national) awards is quite intense and finishing among the leader board is no mean feat. The Department has a proud record of excellent research and teaching and this is reflected in its students performances at national meetings. For example, during 2008 and 2009, Drs. Ben Loos and Uthra Rajamani were awarded first prizes, respectively, in the Wyndham competition. Moreover, Jamie Imbriolo (PhD), Dr. Uthra Rajamani and Danzil Joseph (MSc) have consecutively won first prizes (for the last three years, 2008-2010) at the annual national meeting of the Society for Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes of South Africa. Congratulations to all our top-performing students and mentors for their outstanding efforts! Dr Ben Loos recently attended the Miscroscopy Society of South Africa’s conference and presented exceptional microscopy images relating to his PhD studies – for which he won the prestigious Wirsam Tescan Prize . Congratulations Ben for your outstanding efforts! Dr Fillipo Macaluso attended the XXXIX European Muscle Conference in Padua, Italy, from 11-15 September. Here he presented research titled Muscle damage induced by an acute bout of plyometric exercise in conjuction with research from Ashwin Isaacs study under the supervision of Prof Kathy Myburgh. Dr Macaluso also has also received the Young European Society for Muscle Research Scientist Support Fellowship – congratulations Fillipo for this wonderful achievement! PPSS Post-Graduate Physiological Student Society The Death Signaling Group was recently privileged to send three of their students to the UK. Mark Thomas and Gina Leisching (both PhD) attended the prestigious Cancer and Metabolism: Pathways to the Future 2010 conference hosted in Edinburgh (Edinburgh Castle top left). This trip was made possible with funding from CANSA as well as support from their supervisor Prof A-M Engelbrecht. The day before the conference Wilmari Uys (BSc-Hons) joined them on a sight-seeing tour of Amsterdam with all its weird and wonderful cafes and appeals. The next day Mark and Gina attended the 3-day conference presenting their recent works, and reported that the conference was of an exceptionally high calibre and encompassed a variety of interesting topics including the metabolic transformation of cancers. Thereafter all three students did some further sight-seeing in and around Edinburgh, with the sampling of haggis and even a potential sighting of the Loch Ness monster . The students found the excursion very insightful and were grateful to have had the opportunity to travel overseas as well as being part of a research community that promotes the development of young scientists. Prof Kathy Myburgh and Dr Naomi Brooks from the Muscle Research Group recently hosted a research day in October in the department. Here they invited the participants from their human- based studies to learn more about muscle research that the team is involved in. The Muscle group focuses on stressors and adaptation mechanisms of muscle and investigate changes in muscle damage, inflammation, cell damage as well as satellite stem cell activation relating to muscle physiology. The findings of these studies were also made available to the participants and they had the opportunity to discuss the results and interact with the scientists with light refreshment served afterwards. PPSS Post-Graduate Physiological Student Society It is with great joy that we announce the successful completion of the MSc degree You will have noticed that our faculty by Michelle Vermeulen cum librarian, Mr Pieter du Plessis, has laude under the supervision of recently been forwarding updates on Prof Anna-Mart Engelbrecht. scientific discoveries and Congratulations!!! publications weekly from the prestigious journal Nature. It is important for researchers and students to keep up to date with the Dr. Uthra Rajamani recently latest findings and breakthroughs in attended the Annual Post science, and you can do this by Doctoral Research day hosted logging on to your favourite journal’s at the STIAS conference website and subscribing for the centre on the 29th October, alerts. You can then stay in touch and was presented with the with the latest findings and expand prize for Best Presentation by your scientific knowledge. its president Dr. James Meiring. Congratulations For more information please contact Uthra! Pieter (email@example.com) The Dean of Science has awarded 4 members of staff in our department for their outstanding contributions in the following areas: Excellence in Research - Profs MF Essop & A-M Engelbrecht Excellence in Teaching - Dr. De Wet Strauss Excellent Service - Mrs. Catrina Martins Congratulations to you all!!! PPSS Post-Graduate Physiological Student Society Our post graduate students recently took part in a community outreach project in Masizakhele in Blackheath. With quite a few extra pair of hands the crew aided in the building of houses under the initiative of the Mellon Housing project between South Africa and Ireland. As depicted in the photograph (right), hard work was undertaken but the students felt proud to be helping and improving this community “and hold…2..3..4 ladies!” Every Tuesday and Thursday morning Dr Naomi Brooks, Annali and Nosiviwe host an exercise workshop for the ladies who tend to the vegetable garden at the Ikhaya primary school in Stellenbosch. The vegetable garden serves as an initiative to provide the school children with healthy food and education about a healthy diet. Here Naomi and her team teach aerobic exercise as well as strength training (see photo). This practical training and the close proximity of the vegetable garden ensure that these ladies maintain a healthy lifestyle : healthy body + good diet. So eat your veggies and get going on that treadmill! Summer is here! If you would like to participate in this exciting endeavour, please contact Dr Brooks (firstname.lastname@example.org) On the 15th November our Honours students presented their research work conducted during the year. A variety of interesting topics were covered and there was an opportunity for the audience to discuss the student’s findings. Prizes were handed out as well for achievements with the recipients in the photo (from left to right) : Mr Jacques Fourie (Whitehead Scientific – Sponsorship of Prizes), Clare Springhorn (Best Honours student), Carla Pool (Best Oral Presentation), Mariechen Le Roux (Best final year undergraduate), Prof MF Essop, Dr R Smith, Prof A-M Engelbrecht. Congratulations and well done to the Honours class of 2010 for their wonderful research and presentations! PPSS Post-Graduate Physiological Student Society Dr Carine Smith and PhD student Mari Van de Vyver attended the 15th Annual Congress of the European College of Sports Medicine from June 23rd-26th in Antalya, Turkey. Here both Mari and Dr. Smith presented work - “Skeletal biopsies do not affect circulating markers of muscle damage” was presented by Mari, and Dr. Smith presented work from her students Maritza Kruger (PhD) and Geraldine Pretorius (MSc) regarding the involvement of immune cells and cytokines with chronic Oxyprovin™ supplementation as well as its effects on contusion injury in an animal model. The investigators attended the conference at a five-star hotel, Adam & Eve (bottom left), and managed to do some sightseeing at some of the ancient cities and architecture built by Alexander the Great (top left). Balindiwe Sishi has recently been invited to attend a joint meeting of the British and South African Societies of Cardiovascular Research as well as the Basic Science Cardiovascular Research Societies in the UK from the 4th to 6th December. The purpose of this meeting is to highlight research by young scientists and strengthen collaborations between the UK and SA in this promising field. Importantly, 5 PhD students in the field of Cardiovascular research from academic institutions in South Africa will be invited to attend this meeting and spend valuable time in research laboratories based in the UK. Good luck Bali and enjoy the trip!