Biotechnology student wins award

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Jan Kruid, a Biotechnology Masters student doing research with funding provided by the Department of Science and Technology through the Nanotechnology Innovation Centre (NIC), has won the runner-up award for his presentation at a recent NIC workshop in Cape Town.

The NIC involves three universities, i.e. Rhodes, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and the University of the Western Cape (UWC), as well as Mintek, a parastatal organisation that develops and promotes new technology.

A workshop is held annually at one of the centres for the researchers to network and share information, update the funders on progress and familiarise themselves with the workings of the NIC. There were around 50 delegates and 25 presentations at this year’s workshop, which was held at UWC.

Two awards were given in each of the two categories of presentations, namely poster presentations and oral presentations (slide shows).

For the oral presentations, the criteria centred around how clearly the message was conveyed (rather than the content itself), as well as the general lay-out of the slides, the overall presentation style and how well the presenter answered questions about his/her work.

Kruid believes that having to do a “dummy run” of the presentation in his laboratory at Rhodes first for a rigorous critique before taking it to the workshop, assisted in sharpening his presentation. He also thinks it may be due to the fact that he did a step-by-step presentation that showed the research progression very clearly and went into a lot of detail – this he did because Rhodes is the only centre doing electro-chemical work with sensors and it is a very different field. His particular research focuses on applying electro-chemical techniques to detect the presence of anti-biotics, for instance in foodstuffs, water and pharmaceutical prescriptions.

Kruid, who is supervised by Prof Janice Limson, says he was very surprised when the awards were announced and he took second place in the oral presentation category. “I don’t really like doing presentations, but apparently I do it very well,” he says in a slightly embarrassed manner. He admits, though, that it has given him confidence for future presentations and of these there may still be quite a number, as he aims to do his PhD in this field. 

Pic by: Paul Greenway/3P Photography.