“The most enjoyable aspect of the internship has been learning more about myself as a scientist and a woman through meeting people and handling different issues.”
Luyanda’s interest in microbiology began as a teenager when she watched an advertisement for acne-free skin ointment. She became excited by the idea of starting an all-natural range of bioactive skin care products that could help people to overcome skin problems. In addition to her passion for microbiology, Luyanda enjoys reading and writing poetry, as well as singing and acting. She is also fond of crossword puzzles.
Luyanda became interested in plant pathology when she heard about plant diseases and problems in agriculture. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Microbiology and Plant Pathology and her Honours degree in Microbiology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Her Masters research was in microbiology and focused on environmental microbiology and identifying useful microbes in industry and bioremediation. Luyanda is passionate about bioremediation and the development of environmentally feasible methods to manage industrial and agricultural wastes. She feels that this field of research is particularly challenging and exciting because numerous ideas are still in the pioneering stage and there are many financial factors to consider, especially in South Africa.
Luyanda is based at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape. The focus of her internship is the microbiology of acid mine drainage-impacted wetlands. She enjoys developing her laboratory and writing skills, as well as the ability to network with professionals in the environmental sector. Learning further molecular methods and advanced technologies in microbiology through this internship will provide Luyanda with more practical skills in pursuing her studies further and making her mark as an environmental microbiologist.
Luyanda would like to obtain a PhD in Microbiology and intends to own her own pharmaceutical company one day in order to innovate secondary uses for waste materials, and possibly even to follow her dream of producing her own line of skin care products. Luyanda believes in adding value and contributing wherever she can and is excited about the future. She is honoured to be a part of such groundbreaking research in her own country.