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29 January 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Anja Aucamp
Prof Francis Petersen speech
“We can create an institution that operates and lives in the times of embracing and celebrating diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence by ensuring that students own their time at university,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

25 January 2019 marked the official welcoming of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) first-year students, as they moved into their respective residences and were warmly welcomed on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. This day also marked the start of the registration process for first-year students.

According to first-year Psychology student Keisha Claasen, who moved into her residence earlier on 25 January, her first experience of the UFS was daunting but exciting, as she had never been in a similar environment. According to Given Gwerera, who dropped his son off at the Karee residence earlier the day, “the UFS is an institution with great culture and an overall good academic record.” He further explained that he trusts his son to make full use of the opportunities presented to him, as he has a cool head on his shoulders.

On the evening of 25 January, an eager group of millennials, joined by their parents, took the first sip from their cup of varsity life as they assembled on the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus to meet the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, members of Rectorate, the deans of all faculties, and the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the UFS.

“2019 will be a year of continued change; the UFS is thrilled about the prospect of bringing about opportunities for adaptation and realignment to the future,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

He further explained that the university prides itself in moulding its students into well-rounded individuals who will develop into globally competitive graduates as required in a diversity of landscapes. Prof Petersen urged first-years to remain open to the technological developments that go with globalisation, because of its permanent effects on society today.

First-years were further advised to take advantage of the rich pool of academic research and knowledge that is characteristic of the university and is piloted by UFS scholars, by engaging with and learning from them.

The inspiring night concluded on a colourful note, as the audience enjoyed an artistic laser show in front of the Main Building. Caption:

“UFS academics conduct research that forces the world to take note,” said Prof Francis Petersen at the official first-year welcoming ceremony on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

News Archive

UFS cardiac team does pioneering work
2017-10-29

Description: ' 000 Cardiac Pioneers Tags: Cardiac Pioneers 

“With the use of endomyocardial biopsies, the team hopes to treat viruses unique
to Southern Africa, as well as other underlying causes of dilated cardiomyopathy.”

Photo: iStock

Members of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Cardiac team had various achievements at national and international level this year. The Robert WM Frater Cardiovascular Research Centre in the Faculty of Health Sciences has commenced with a pioneering research project regarding idiopathic dilating cardiomyopathy.

With an Afrocentric research focus, Prof Francis Smit, Head of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the UFS and Head of the Frater Centre, describes dilating cardiomyopathy as a heart muscle disease that is quite common, particularly among people of African descent. The disease weakens the heart muscle, which in turn leads to heart failure.

“To date there is no curable treatment for this condition, and 50% of patients who have shown heart failure, died within a period of five years. The causes of this condition have been unknown in the majority of patients. But over the past few years major strides have been made, where virus infections of the heart muscle, or myocarditis, have been identified as a possible underlying cause. Various genetic diseases are also linked to it,” says Prof Smit.

According to Prof Mokoali Makotoko, Head of the Department of Cardiology, more than 1 500 new cases of heart failure are identified at the Universitas Academic Hospital annually, of which approximately 30% are attributed to cardiomyopathy. “With the use of endomyocardial biopsies, the team hopes to treat viruses unique to Southern Africa, as well as other underlying causes of dilated cardiomyopathy.”

The study is a project that flows from Prof Makotoko’s PhD. The project is being run with Prof Heinz-Peter Schultheiss of the Charité University and the Institute for Cardiac Diagnostics and Therapy in Berlin, Germany.

 "More than 1 500 new cases of heart failure are identified at the Universitas Academic Hospital annually, of which approximately 30% are attributed to cardiomyopathy."

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