PhD candidate on HIV-1 research
Meet Thulile Khanyile, a lecturer and PhD candidate at the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) where she is investigating various sequential immunization strategies against HIV-1.
Her highest qualification is a Master of Medicine in Hematology and Molecular Medicine also from WITS where she investigated to the use of pulsed laser beams as a delivery system for HIV-1 antiretroviral drugs. She is the co-founder and co-Executive Director of Nka’Thuto EduPropeller NPO which equips grade 8 to 12 learners with innovation, research methodology and entrepreneurial skills with the aim of solving societal problems in township and rural communities.
Thulile is a speaker, writer and enjoys blogging about various issues that interest her as she navigates life within and beyond science. Her contribution to science and research has been recognised widely, and among these honours is an award by the National Youth Development Agency, South African Youth Award (SAYA) in 2017 in the Academic Excellence category; the KZN Young achievers award in the academic development category (2017); and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) Women in Science Award (WISA) in 2015.
Thulile has received research grants such as the NRF Thuthuka, WITS Faculty of Health Sciences seed funding and the Medical Research Council (MRC) – Soweto Matlosana Collaborating Centre for HIV/AIDS and TB (SoMCHAT). She is an Obama Africa Leader 2018, MaSisulu Woman of Fortitude 2018, Golden Key Honours Society Member, National Development Plan (NDP) Ambassador 2017/18, Altron Mentorship Business Mentee 2017/18 & Nedbank Igniter 2016.
Thuli was named in the top 100 Most Influential Young South Africans 2018 by Avance Media. Thulile has participated in various panel discussions as both panelist and at times panel facilitator. She has given numerous invited talks and public lectures as a young thought leader in the innovation, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (iSTEM) fields looking specifically at the role of iSTEM in socio-economic growth and development. She has been featured in local and international print, online, radio and television platforms addressing issues related to leadership, socio-economic growth and diversity (including gender) in iSTEM.
Nka’Thuto EduPropeller, under her joint directorship has reached over of 34 000 learners, increasing their awareness of (iSTEM). It has taught research methodology and innovation skills to 2 400 learners. Additionally, the training of 81 teenagers the business canvas model and design thinking as a tool to create business cases from technology solutions created by the learners themselves. Nka’Thuto has developed 25 business cases which it aims to commercialise with the learners to develop township and rural economies in Africa.
Nka’Thuto aims to go beyond South Africa with the aim of becoming a truly Pan-African organisation. Nka’Thuto EduPropeller has two offices in Johannesburg and Durban. Nka’Thuto currently has over the year created employment for over 17 young people with a current staff complement of 12.