A South African lady, Ghaneshree Moonsamy, achieved an extraordinary feat when her thesis that was supposed for a Masters degree in Biotechnology at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), was converted into a Ph.D. thesis. This was because of the superior quality of her thesis, and she has become the first student to achieve this in the school’s history.
Moonsamy, who will be conferred with her Ph.D. in Biotechnology at the Fred Crookes Sports Center, Steve Biko Campus in Durban said, “Due to the quality and content of my Masters, my supervisor was of the opinion that we attempt to apply for a degree conversion from a master’s to a doctoral degree. I was successful in this application, making me the first to do this at DUT”.
Despite the time spent to complete this thesis, Moonsamy said she is proud of this remarkable achievement she achieved. “I still can’t believe my eyes. I am in doubt about how I feel about because it has been such a monumental journey. There have been so many extreme highs and terrible lows. But I’m delighted to have made it to the finish line”, she said joyfully.
The ‘Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (SCIR) Senior Researcher revealed that her thesis was based on the development of a production process for probiotic microorganisms, used in abalone aquaculture. “Abalone”, or “perlemoen” is a seafood delicacy that is cultivated primarily in the land-based aquaculture systems. The South African abalone industry has been under severe pressure for months, due to illegal poaching and harvesting of this seafood delicacy. In addition to this illegal act, the growth of the abalone is extremely slow and as a result, supply rarely meets the global demand. Probiotics can also be used in abalone production as a mechanism to boost its growth rate and limit disease proliferation”.
“This thesis focused on the improvement of a bioprocess technology for the production of Vibrio midae; a probiotic of value in abalone aquaculture. In this thesis, a cultivation process, product formulation, and medium composition were tailor-made to produce this probiotic in a high-efficiency production process. The demonstration of this technology at full manufacturing scale led to a patented technology, and has highlighted the attractiveness and commercial feasibility of this production process”, she highlighted.
Moonsamy said her journey to stardom was not always easy especially on the personal front. But nevertheless, she persevered. “I would have preferred if I had completed my doctorate degree in a shorter duration. However, I discovered that everything happens in its own time – in God’s time”.
She expressed gratitude to her supervisors, colleagues, and parents. “From a tender age, my parents have been constantly instilling the value of education, hard work, determination, and perseverance. This success is the accumulation of those factors in my life. My team at CSIR and supervisors have been very helpful”.
For Moonsamy, it’s just the beginning of breaking barriers, as she is currently pursuing another qualification – a Masters degree in Management in Innovation Studies – at the University of Witwatersrand. “My future goals are to use the skills set that I have acquired and the ones that I am yet to acquire to make an effective impact and useful contribution to the society. I feel strongly about the potential of our country. That the change we desire, science and technology will deliver it. I’m passionate about training, education and all things STEMI related. And I wish to execute my mission statement of “purpose, people, passion” to the best of my ability”, she further said.