Bonisile Luthuli

PHD Student, University of KwaZulu-Natal

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Use your imagination and stay teachable.

What do you do?

I am doing a PhD in virology. I study HIV founder viruses, those that initiate HIV infection. Research shows us that not all HIV viruses from an infected person can be transmitted into a new person, but there is a subset of viruses with certain traits that are fit for transmission. Studying and understanding these viruses has a potential to lead to an HIV vaccine that could block new HIV infections.

Why did you choose this field?

It was during my high school years, seeing the devastating effects that HIV/AIDS brought into our community and the countless people who lost their lives from the disease. This propelled me into finding a path that will enable me to play a contributory role towards ending HIV/AIDS.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

When I first set foot on the university premises I did not know about the abundant opportunities that exist to pursue post graduate studies.

Why do you love working in STEM?

The opportunity to contribute to human knowledge and to solving societal problems. Seeing concepts turn into tangible projects with scientifically sound results that influence policy making is unmatched.

Best advice for next generation?

Use your imagination and stay teachable.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

“You are enough.”

NOMINATE a woman in STEM

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