Dr Imogen Wright, a SANBI post-doctoral research fellow, will be heading for the USA at the end of the year to attend the Techwoman programme in the United States, which is an initiative of the US Department of State, launched by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2011. Techwoman aims to empower, connect and support the next generation of female leaders in Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) from Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East. This year 90 women were chosen from 2300 applications to attend the five-week program, which includes mentorships and professional exchanges at leading companies in Silicon Valley, California followed by workshops, networking events and meetings in Washington, D.C.. The Techwoman program provides participants with the access and opportunity they need to advance their careers, pursue their dreams, and to return to their home countries where they, in turn, can inspire other women and girls in their communities.
Dr Imogen Wright, representing the UWC spin-off Company, Hyrax Bioscience’s Exatype Programme is also one of the ten finalists for the 2016 Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA). Exatype is a novel software application which enables health care workers to rapidly evaluate HIV DNA in an HIV-AIDS infected patient’s blood in order to gauge the patient’s level of resistance to different HIV antiretroviral drugs. With 71% of those living with HIV/AIDS residing in Africa the speed, simplicity and accuracy of this unique solution to a complex problem has the potential to bring personalized medicine within reach of those most in need.