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HEALTH SCIENCES

Meet the Staff

Natashia Muna - Language Development Lecturer

I started working at the upper campus Writing Centre in 2011, while completing my Ph.D. on the sociogenetics of a local termite species. At that time I had no idea that four years later I would be running a writing centre! I have always loved writing though, so the Writing Centre was a natural fit for me and over the three years I worked there as a consultant, I developed a deep understanding and appreciation for the importance of the work we do and an awareness of the need for explicit teaching around science writing. In 2014, as a postdoctoral research fellow working on population genetics of a local figwasp, I become a part-time lecturer within the Academic Development Programme (ADP) of CHED, focusing on academic literacy within science. In 2015 I was appointed as a full-time lecturer with the Language Development group and tasked with starting and running the FHS Writing Lab – a project that I’m extremely excited to be a part of! My research interests include behavioural ecology, population genetics, academic and scientific writing and modes of teaching and learning. I am currently working on a project looking at the teaching of visual literacy within science. You can follow me on twitter @natashia_muna and my blog, The Fridge: Food For Thought

 

Taahira Moola - Consultant

I am currently completing my Master of Medical Science in Haematology, focusing on the differential expression of miRNAs in HIV-associated B-cell lymphomas and will continue towards a DPhil in Health Sciences Education investigating how health scientists communicate to the public. I have a passion for and thrive on making a difference in people's lives, especially through education having obtained my PGCE in 2013 with vast experience on teaching the Sciences. I believe that education coupled with the acquisition of 'Beyond the Textbook' skills is the key to empowerment for the future leaders of South Africa in which I strongly advocate through being a part of the NPO, The Humanitarians. Working at the Writing Centre allows me to empower students to communicate science and increasing their writing skill set. I am also involved conceptualising and implementing programmes promoting Academic Development at Residence level. Both these experiences allow me to further empower disadvantaged communities. Aside from those aspects, I am an IT-freak but love a day at the beach and enjoying nature. Follow me @tyRa_Moola/@2Techno2Teach and/or the NPO @HumanitariansZA, for more information on the work we do.

 

Karis Moxley - Consultant

I am currently working towards a Ph.D. in the department of Molecular and Cell Biology. My research in the field of marine biotechnology focuses on improving land-based farming systems for abalone, known locally as “perlemoen”. The aim of my project has been to develop an artificial diet for juveniles in order to improve their survival and growth rate in the nursery phase. Previously, my MSc research focused on the potential of marine bacteria to biodegrade priority pollutants typically present in coastal marine waters. My academic career has afforded me the opportunity to develop strong written communication skills which are important for the dissemination of accurate information within the scientific community. I have a long-standing passion for the English language and thoroughly enjoy the writing process. I love to share my wisdom and enthusiasm for writing with anyone who cares to listen, so working at the Writing Lab provides me with the opportunity to do this in a structured and meaningful way. I find working with students very rewarding (the “ah ha!” moments are addictive!) and I look forward to assisting anyone who needs a guiding light as they navigate their way through the journey of becoming a successful academic writer.

 

Abraham Dabengwa - Consultant

My passion for learning about our natural environment has taken me into a fascinating journey from evolution, ecology, sociology and some philosophy. I am working towards an Ecology Ph.D at the Biological Sciences department where I am investigating past environments. This multidisciplinary study will help me to understand ecological processes in space and time, specifically the interactions among climate, vegetation, mammalian herbivores, fire and humans in the last 2000 years at the KwaZulu-Natal Province. I also hold an MSc in Resource Conservation Biology from the University of the Witwatersrand and have a background in environmental science, conservation, and forest and wildlife management. I have been exposed to social issues regarding natural resource use, human-wildlife conflicts, applied and pure ecological research. I think communication is key to success in any discipline and that writing has a role in framing thinking. I love to read to understand but I also have an eye towards teaching. Working at the Writing Centre affords me the opportunity to accomplish both, particularly learning from other writers, which make me conscientious of my own. We all have a story to share be it work or personal. I believe that writing must be considered a bridge and not a wall, a source of pleasure not fear. This maxim constantly helps me clarify my thinking through the writing process.

 

Emmanuel Nwosu - Consultant 

I recently completed my Masters’ Degree in Biomedical Engineering and am presently working towards a Ph.D in the same discipline. My research interest is focused on using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and image processing tools to understand the effects of HIV and early antiretroviral therapy (ART) on vertically HIV-infected children’s brains and neurodevelopmental skills. My journey through science and academic writing has been taxing and challenging, and yet rewarding. It has inspired me to sit through several academic writing courses, just to improve my writing skills and I am still keen to learn more. Through this journey I have realized how “little” support, guidance and academic mentoring have helped improve my writing skills and have turned poor writers into professional academic writers. Being aware of the initial fears and challenges beginners in academic writing face, I want to be a part of other people’s journeys to find their voice in scientific writing and help them achieve excellence and confidence in academic literacy. At the Health Science writing lab we help people create their space and find their voice in academic writing by offering the right support and guidance.