Dorit Hockman and Justin Nono Komguep

Dorit Hockman

Sydney Brenner 2015 2Dr Dorit Hockman received her undergraduate and MSc degrees from the University of Cape Town and did her PhD at the University of Cambridge as part of the Wellcome Trust 4 Year PhD Programme in Developmental Biology.

She joined Trinity College at the University of Oxford as a Junior Research Fellow in 2013 to perform research in the field of vertebrate evolution. As a Sydney Brenner Post-Doctorsal Fellow, she will be expanding her research in this field as a collaboration between the University of Cape Town, the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of Oxford and the California Institute of Technology.

Her research uses the power of comparative embryology and genetics to understand vertebrate evolution and diversification. She is using the lamprey, the most basal vertebrate, as a model to determine the genetic programme for one of the defining features of the vertebrates: the neural crest. The neural crest is an embryonic cell population that contributes to many adult features including the skull, teeth and peripheral nervous system. Knowledge of the “recipe” for making neural crest cells will help in determining the causes of neural crest defects in humans, and will also assist in harnessing the potential of this tissue for therapeutic purposes. 

Justin Nono Komguep

JSydney brenner 2015 1ustin Nono Komguep is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. He completed his BSc, BSc (Hons) and MSc in Biochemistry all with distinction at the University of Yaoundé 1 working on the influence of hemoglobinopathies on antimalarial therapy.

As a result of his work he was awarded a PhD Fellowship of the German research foundation to join the University of Wuerzburg and work on the characterization of secreted products of parasitic helminths and their potency in facilitating infection. In 2013, he was awarded the highest distinction (Summa Cum Laude) for his PhD work that enabled the characterization of novel immunomodulatory parasite factors.

In 2014, under a NRF postdoctoral fellowship, he joined the University of Cape Town to work on the identification of host protective mechanisms against helminths, with a focus on Schistosomes. In 2015, he was awarded a Claude Leon Foundation postdoctoral fellowship to further his work on schistosomes by generating and employing a novel murine model of inducible gene deletion. Currently, building on this, he is generating and characterizing more transgenic murine models to identify, wherever applicable, anti-disease host factors.