ASSAf-Famelab Heat Winner Announced

The quality of borehole water was the subject of the winning presentation at the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)-Famelab Heat held in Pretoria last week.

Clarissa van der Loo, a doctoral student at the University of Johannesburg, discussed organisms found in borehole water and the health dangers lurking in it. 

Van der Loo focused on biomedical technology as undergraduate and obtained a Masters degree in non­tuberculous mycobacteria. After completing her doctoral thesis on organisms affecting water health, she aims to apply her experience and skill-set in the public health arena, specifically in the application of water health in the solving of various human rights issues.

Van der Loo was one of several young scientists from higher education institutions in Gauteng, who competed in the international FameLab competition that aims to promote science in a fun and accessible way by creating a platform for scientists to find their voices and reach public audiences. ASSAf hosted the ASSAf-Famelab Heat. Winners of the heats will compete at national level and the South African winner will eventually compete against winners from over 30 countries on an international stage, at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival in the United Kingdom.

Dubbed the ‘Pop Idol of Science’, the competition is open to anyone aged 21 to 35 and working in or studying technology, engineering, medicine, biology, chemistry, physics or mathematics. 

FameLab was started in 2005 in the United Kingdom (UK) by Cheltenham Science Festival and has quickly been established as a diamond model for successfully identifying, training and mentoring scientists and engineers to share their enthusiasm for their subjects with the public. 

It is implemented in over 30 countries, including the UK, USA, Brazil, South Africa, Thailand, Qatar and Kazakhstan. FameLab South Africa is implemented in partnership between the British Council, the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA), and Science Communication Agency Jive Media Africa.