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HEALTH SCIENCES

Meet the Staff

Natashia Muna - Writing Lab Co-ordinator

Natashia began her writing centre work as a student consultant in the upper campus Writing Centre. During her three years as a consultant, she discovered her passion for working with the languages of science and has been the co-ordinator of the Writing Lab since its inception in 2015. 

Natashia’s research interests lie broadly within the literacy practices of scientific disciplines and how the teaching and learning of these literacy practices impact upon student access and success within Higher Education. Currently, she is part of two long terms projects; The Integrated Literacies for Learning in Science (ILLS) project and The Patient Partner Project (PPP), which is part of the Caring Society Consortium. The ILLS project, which has been running since 2014, has focussed on understanding the literacy practices of science that are critical to student success, how the acquisition of these practices are taught or supported within the curriculum and the challenges that students experience in mastering them. Visual literacy within scientific disciplines has emerged as a strong theme within this project. The PPP, which began in 2016, is focussed on how patients, who are considered ‘experts by experience’, can play a significant role in shaping the medical curriculum and teaching students about patient-centered medical care. Communication, which is one of the CanMEDS competencies, is an overarching theme in the PPP.

Natashia has a science background, with a BSc from UCT and an honours degree from Stellenbosch University in Zoology and Biodiversity. She completed her MSc in 2008 and her PhD in 2014, both at UCT, in Molecular and Cell Biology, with a focus on Population Genetics. 

Taahira Goolam Hoosen (Moola) -  Lecturer (Health Sciences Education)

Taahira's academic literacy career started as a writing consultant at the Writing Centre in 2014 until the FHS Writing Lab was established in 2015 where she worked until March 2018. From April onwards she began working full time as a lecturer within the Department of Health Sciences Education where she is also completing her PhD. Her previous qualifications in the Biomedical Sciences (BSc (UKZN); BSc (Med) Hons: Human Genetics (UCT); MSc (Med) Haematology (UCT)) and Education (PGCE: Biology) (UCT)) have allowed her to merge her passion for teaching and learning within the scientific literacies domain.

Her teaching philosophy and approach include empowering students by enhancing and making them aware of both their disciplinary discourse and literacy practices all contributing to creating socially-just clinicians and scientists. Her research interests include understanding the academic literacy barriers and predictors to the academic success of black postgraduate students in the Biomedical Sciences, which is also the focus of her PhD. She is also particularly interested in alternative postgraduate pedagogies. In her spare time, she runs a non-profit organisation empowering our communities through skills development and literacy practices.

Emmanuel Nwosu - Consultant 

Emmanuel is currently a doctoral research student in biomedical engineering in the Health Sciences Faculty. His research focus is on the use of Magnetic resonance Imaging (MRI) and various neuroimaging software tools to investigate the long-term effects of early antiretroviral therapy initiation on brain development in HIV-infected children especially in the formative years of the brain. Besides PhD research, he is interested in science communication, especially within the public domain. He is passionate about writing and communicating academic research in a simple and clear way that most people will understand. Being aware of his initial challenges in the academic writing journey, he is driven by the desire to support science writers who are complete “newbies” or those who wish to improve their academic writing skills in order to communicate their research effectively. Hence, academic writing consulting gives him the opportunity to help scientists communicate research effectively and to bring science back to the public domain.

Nontobeko Mthembu - Consultant

Nontobeko developed a passion for research in health sciences during my Honours year. This was an awakening period in her study career, as she came to discover just how big of a gap of knowledge exists and is yet to be addressed across all fields in health sciences. She is working towards an MSc in Medicine (Clinical Science and Immunology) at the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine in the Department of Pathology, where she is investigating the immune responses against Pneumocystis murina. This is an opportunistic fungal pathogen which causes severe Pneumonia in immunocompromised individuals. The importance of looking into the mechanisms responsible for infection control and clearance are of vital importance, as they may pave the way when developing new treatment and diagnosis interventions. She holds a BSc Medical Science Honours degree in Infectious Disease and Immunology from the University of the Cape Town and has a background in Microbiology and Physiology. She believes that imparting knowledge unto others is the best way to learn, see mistakes and gain a new understanding of concepts previously understood differently. She states that 'true and honest expressions are inspired by our thoughts and communicated best through writing'. She loves writing, especially poetry, but equally, values reading as it is her way of improving my vocabulary and also it helps her to sharpen her skill of critical analysis in any piece of writing. Working at the Writing Lab has brought a whole new meaning to writing and she enjoys learning from all the students that she consults. Her philosophy regarding writing is 'there is a big world waiting to be explored through writing and as a consultant, I would like to go on this adventure with you'.

Kagisho Montjane - Consultant

Kagisho is a postgraduate pharmacogenetic student in the Department of Pathology. Born and bred in the rural mountainous area of Limpopo, his mother tongue is Sepedi. He is a complete science head and believes science can answer every question. Among other things, he has a passion for HIV research and of course, writing takes the cake :-). He is forever in the laboratory generating data for research, if by chance he is out, he will be enjoying the finer things in life like food, wine, nature, fashion and art. He is an enthusiastic writer, willing to teach and always learn from everyone.

Susan Louw - Consultant

Susan's passion for both science and learning/teaching has taken her on a journey through Psychology, Genetics, teaching and has finally arrived at UCT where she is completing a Master’s degree in Genetic Counselling. She states that it is 'an absolutely fascinating field' allowing her to combine her love of people and science, specifically Genetics. She is constantly learning new skills as a scientist and a counsellor. Her research topic focuses on the experiences of participants in genetic research after a sudden infant death in the family.  She has always loved reading and writing, however, she finds that reading is so much easier! Coming from both a science and teaching background, she is very aware of how difficult it can be to bring your ideas and thoughts across through writing, even though your ideas may be brilliant. Working at the Writing Centre affords her this opportunity to give a voice to students through writing. As one of her favourite authors, Terry Pratchett, said: 

‘He'd mastered the first two rules of writing, as he understood them.
1) Steal some paper.
2) Steal a pencil.
Unfortunately, there was more to it than that.’