Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans – 2018 Edition
Science & Technology

Dr Alveera Singh (34)

Postdoctoral research fellow, Africa Health Research Institute

AHRI (Africa Health Research Institute) and SANTHE (Sub-Saharan African Network for TB/HIV Research Excellence) postdoctoral research fellow Alveera Singh is a young woman whose research on infectious diseases in South Africa is making its mark.

“I am passionate about research, especially in work that will help to develop new treatment strategies for infectious diseases such as TB and HIV,” says Singh. “These terrible diseases remain a huge problem globally, and are decimating communities in South Africa. Through my education and training, I feel research is the best way I can use my energy in the fight against them.”

Singh, who received her PhD in Applied Science from the Durban University of Technology (DUT) in 2016, always knew what her path was going to be. “For me, a scientific career was always on the cards. I knew early in life that I wanted to make a difference to the lives of people affected with infectious diseases,” she says.

Her PhD research examines compounds in local medicinal plants that are able to kill different strains of the bacterium that causes TB, highlights the value of traditional knowledge and provides potential new tools in the fight against this deadly pandemic. Singh’s current research looks at understanding the role of certain immune cells during HIV infection, which she hopes will lead to the development of new treatment strategies.

Singh has secured funding support from esteemed organisations such as the National Research Foundation, the Technology Innovation Agency and SANTHE. She has co-authored several peer-reviewed publications in international journals such as the Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics, Tropical Biomedicine, and the African Journal of Biotechnology. She has also been an invited speaker at numerous local and international conferences.

Her 10-year plan is to become a leader in HIV and TB basic scientific research and assist in training the next generation of South African scientists. “For me, education forms the backbone of a nation; good education would go a long way to ensuring the success of all South Africans.” — Aaisha Dadi Patel