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Prof. Resia Pretorius – Head Physiological Sciences – Stellenbosch University

This week on Womanity-Women in Unity, Dr. Amaleya Goneos-Malka talks to Professor Resia Pretorius, Department Head and Distinguished Research Professor in the Physiological Sciences Department, Faculty of Science, at Stellenbosch University. She is also an Honorary Professor at the University of Liverpool. Additionally, she is Managing Director of BioCODE Technologies.

Prof. Pretorius highlights the diverse research areas in her department that focus on a variety of illnesses and methodologies to study various conditions and identify solutions for them. Prof. Pretorius’s research centres on blood and blood related diseases, and more recently on clotting pathology in patients with Covid and long-Covid.

We discuss the commercialisation of research and innovations at universities, acknowledging access to resources from a variety of institutional disciplines to support development, whether it be legal advice for patents or business skills to operate companies. For example, BioCODE Technologies, a spin of company of the University of Stellenbosch develops point-of-care smart sensing solutions that detect novel circulating inflammatory molecules in the blood. BioCODE also provides a place for students to have their first experience in industry and prepare them for the external job market.

Women are making an impact in STEM, notably in physiological sciences. Although they may be equipped with the skills and capabilities they need access to opportunities to realise their full potential. To help women on their career paths Prof. Pretorius advises seeking out a mentor that is in or near your field of interest for support, direction and networking; she also recommends learning how to market yourself and speak the language of your prospective employer; going for interview training to present and sell yourself and create demand for your skills and services with a potential employer.

In closing Prof. Pretorius reflects on the value of keeping an open mind, “to join the dots” in new ways and derive new outcomes. She also embodies that sentiment that if you find your passion and make it your vocation you will never “work” a day in your life, because you enjoy what you are doing. Tune in for more…

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