Quinton Tam

Parasitic Disease Researcher

Dr Quinton Tam studied microbiology and parasitology at the University of Johannesburg and currently holds a PhD in parasitic disease research. His studies into the diseases that plague Africa inspired him to delve deeper into the topic and its impact on animals, people, economics and society.

“I don’t think that many people realise the huge impact that any type of disease has on the economy of a nation,” says Tam. “Not only because of the direct influence on human health, but the financial burdens placed on hospitals and governments to combat these diseases. I am quite shocked at how little people know about the significance of monitoring agricultural, environmental and social practices so there is a continuous food supply and health for the human race.”

Tam is committed to helping others learn more about these issues so that they become aware of their impact on the world and have the courage to take responsibility.

“I see a strong connection between science and spirituality but for too many centuries religious people have tried to explain God and religious texts using theology,” says Tam. “I am a Christian and I believe that the only way for theology to become relevant again is to pair itself up with science.”

Tam hopes to work for an organisation such as the UN and to concentrate on research where he can make connections between how diseases impact human health and food security, and how humans impact the environment and cause disease. He also wants to see more young people turning to science instead of celebrity.

“There are many celebrities in the world who have contributed almost nothing to society and yet young people have more respect for them, just because they are famous and rich,” says Tam. “Young people need to be encouraged to see science and reading as fun because the contribution of scientists to the world cannot be underestimated.” — Tamsin Oxford