Physicist on a roll

By Drum Digital
21 November 2013

Paitence is working on developing a tool to treat HIV.

Growing up, Patience Mthunzi (36)  saw herself as a medical doctor, now she is now a leader in biophotonics in SA.

She was the first South African to graduate from Scotland's St Andrew's University with a PhD in physics. And is currently teh only senior scientist for the biophotonics research group at the National Laser Centre of teh Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Last year Patence was awarded teh the bronze rank of the Presidential order of Mapungubwe. Patience's story is a remarkable one of determination and perserverance .

She and her older sister, Zandile were raised by their lae grandmother Alinah Mthunzi in Orlando West, Soweto.

Their father wasnt a part of their lives and the family was supported by their single mother, a cashier. Her first job was as a research assistant at the Institute fo Communicable Diseases.

Patience is determined to find a way to treat cancer and HIV through biophotonics.

She is also encouraging other young people in her field and is mentoring four students, two of whom are studying towards a PhD.

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