K-RITH Masters student and Canon Collins Scholarship recipient, Tawanda Mandizvo, attended the recent Canon Collins Scholars’ Conference where he presented on the LightForge system that K-RITH researchers have developed.

The annual conference, which took place in July in Cape Town, was organised by the Canon Collins Trust as a platform for its South Africa-based scholars to showcase their research in relation to the 2015 conference theme, ‘Theories of Change’.

Mandizvo, who is a Masters student in K-RITH’s Balagaddé lab, presented on the LightForge system developed at K-RITH. “LightForge is a highly scalable microfluidic platform for interrogation of tuberculosis strains using Real-Time PCR and High Resolution Melt Analysis on a chip,” he explained.

“We have used this system to identify clinical tuberculosis strains resistant to rifampicin— a frontline drug used to treat tuberculosis, relative to a susceptible strain H37RV, based on mutations in the rpoB gene. This system has the potential to contribute towards a low-cost solution to the diagnosis of multidrug resistant tuberculosis—a critical global healthcare challenge.”

Mandizvo said the highlight of the conference for him was the idea that if the sustainable developmental goals are to be met, research efforts across all fields need to question their relevance towards addressing global challenges.

 *Canon Collins Scholarships support exceptional individuals who are committed to social justice in Southern Africa and for whom a postgraduate qualification is an essential tool in working to create an open and just society.