Mentor is one of only six South African female scientists who have been nominated by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) to attend the gathering in Germany on July 24 to 28.
Here, 600 of the world’s brightest minds, including Nobel prize-winning scientists, share their ideas on physiology and medicine.
The 29-year-old is already a published scientist in prominent scientific journals, and was the first recipient of the coveted national Wyndham Prize from the Physiology Society of Southern Africa in 2014.
She realises that the meeting will help her develop an international network to encourage future collaboration, and also help her grow as an academic.
“I deeply appreciate this opportunity to exchange ideas and get to hear about cutting-edge research first-hand,” says Mentor.
Along with the opportunity she was able to visit the prestigious Max Planck Institute for Developmental Cell Biology - something she’s been dreaming of for a long time.
As part of her PhD, she wants to redefine the theoretical interpretation of the functional composition of the brain’s protective barrier properties. “My original research was situated squarely within the context of substance abuse. My neighbourhood, like many others in the greater Cape Town, experiences high levels of substance abuse, in particular methamphetamine, and this inspired me to look at the science behind it.”
Her journey with UWC started when she joined the university’s work-study programme catering to students predominantly from previously-disadvantaged backgrounds.
Mentor worked as a student assistant and anatomy practical demonstrator, and lectured postgraduate students in basic tissue culture techniques at the Medical Biosciences Department.
“UWC has been my stepping stone in many respects. I’m looking forward to the meeting - and learning more about how my research may one day be able to make a meaningful contribution to treating addiction,” she says.
Issued by UWC