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Master’s student in Environmental Health at Mandela University, Yolanda Mngcongo, has won third prize at the recent South African Falling Walls Lab Science competition with her research on using nanotechnology to curb nosocomial (healthcare-associated) infections.

From left, third prize winner Yolanda Mngcongo, Mandela University master’s student in Environmental Health, the winner PhD student Alisha Badal from Wits University, who will represent South Africa in Germany, and second prize winner Kate Da Silva, also a PhD student from Wits University. (Photograph Wits University)

Both first and second prizes went to PhD students at Wits University.

Hosted by DAAD Johannesburg, along with Wits University, Falling Walls Lab is a world-class pitch competition showcasing African excellence and promoting international research innovation cooperation.

Selected students from various academic institutions present their idea, research project, business plan, entrepreneurial idea, or social initiative to peers, a high-calibre jury, and the public.

Yolanda’s research focuses on applying nanotechnology to one of the major public health concerns of nosocomial infections in healthcare settings and on developing a self-cleaning NanoRobot that will vacuum the pollutants from the air and clean them off the surfaces.

These infections were not present during the time of admission and may occur in healthcare settings, such as in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and ambulance settings, and may also appear after discharge.

Her supervisors are Dr Steven Mufamadi, Research Chair for the DSI-Mandela Nanomedicine Platform and Wouter Le Roux, senior researcher at the CSIR.

Falling Walls Lab is organised by the Falling Walls Foundation and funded by Berlin’s Natural History Museum (global finale), and Google and Springer Nature (International Labs). It is supported by Sartorius, the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Contact information
Ms Elma de Koker
Internal Communication Practitioner
Tel: 041-504 2160