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Mduduzi Shinga

2019 intern

Mduduzi Shinga wants to bust the stigma around biotechnologies that could hold the potential to address food security concerns amid changing climate. Working with the latest innovation in genetic engineering of various crops, he hopes to contribute towards environmental risk assessment reviews of crop applications to find the best, most sustainable way towards food security and the future of our planet.

With a Bachelor of Science degree in Biotechnology, an Honours degree in Microbiology and a Master of Science degree in Plant Pathology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, he has been placed as a Biotechnician intern at the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI).

We asked him to share more:

What motivated your career choice?
While at university, I learned about the potential of Biotechnology in contributing to food security with minimal environmental impact and I wanted to find out more. Working with the Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) Programme at SANBI means that I am part of a team that safeguards the environment in areas where this technology is suited.
What do you hope to gain from the internship?
I hope to gain a better understanding of Biotechnology and its various applications. With experience, I can contribute towards a better understanding of the different complexities surrounding this field of work.
What excites you the most about the internship?
I look forward to applying my knowledge and skills in the work environment while developing new insights. I believe this will improve and strengthen my skills.
What do you think is the biggest environmental issue the world is facing right now?
Climate change has become the main global threat. Even though developing nations (including South Africa) contribute the least to global warming, these regions are most affected. To address the climate crisis, there needs to be urgent reduction in carbon emissions, improvement of policies or agreements that combat climate change and increasing public awareness so that everyone can participate in addressing this crisis and other related to environmental issues that threaten our planet’s health.
What contribution do you wish to make to the well-being of people and nature?
I wish to use my Biotechnology skills to sustainably advance the South African agricultural system in order to improve and ensure food security. I also want to rehabilitate the degraded parts of our land for the next generation amid climate change.
If you had a chance to change one thing in the world, what would it be?
I would intensify scientific outreach programmes as I believe communicating with the public is of great importance in eradicating misinformation and improving ethical thinking.
Who do you admire the most and why?
I admire nature. I believe it represents the force of life that remains to be explored. Loving and protecting nature is important and wise.
What role do you think your generation could play in creating a better world for all?
We should be more engaged in research because this would facilitate solving our world’s problems. We should also take the time to participate in community programmes such as volunteering in order to improve the lives of other people and the environment.

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