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10 September 2018 Photo Anja Aucamp
Health forum celebrates 50 years of research
Throughout the years many renowned researchers shared their work via the Faculty Research Forum in the UFS Faculty of Health Sciences.

Fifty years ago, visionaries in healthcare established a research forum. Throughout the years, many renowned researchers shared their work via this platform. On 30 and 31 August 2018, the Faculty Research Forum in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Free State (UFS) hosted their annual event, and celebrated the forum’s 50th anniversary. The programme was characterised by high-quality presentations covering a range of relevant topics, with exhibitors displaying current and innovative technology in the health sciences field. 

On the shoulders of giants

According to the Faculty of Health Sciences Dean, Prof Gert van Zyl, the Faculty Research Forum is a highlight on their calendar. “We owe all our gratitude and appreciation to the founders of the forum, as well as 50 years of researchers who share their research with us each year.” This year was no exception, with interesting and relevant presentations. Evaluations committees comprising external and faculty adjudicators awarded prizes to research articles and student presentations. The level of work showcased once again proved that health science research on campus is alive and well – contributing to the study field. 

Small success

During the FP Retief Lecture, keynote speaker Prof Tahir Pillay shared his passion for new diagnostic probes for laboratory medicine using nanobodies and next generation technology. Prof Pillay is Chief Specialist, Professor and Head of the Department of Chemical Pathology at the University of Pretoria. He is also involved with the National Health Laboratory service, Steve Biko Academic Hospital and the Director of the Division of Clinical Pathology and Clinical Pathology training programme. 

A captive audience appreciated his explanation of what alpacas, llamas, and sharks have in common. These animals have small, single-chain, stable antibodies, significantly improving the possibilities in the field of antibody technology – a chance discovery with far-reaching impacts. 

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