Umeshree Govender

MSc student: UCT

Scientist Umeshree Govender has a favourite motto: "Don't be afraid to have a good �booty-shake' in a lab coat!� The 24-year-old Govender, who has always dreamed of "saving the world�, has made an impressive start. Using groundbreaking techniques she is battling against a silent killer: bilharzia. The water-borne disease is caused by a worm that lurks inside the body. It can be fatal. In South Africa alone, more than five million people are infected. Govender is currently an MSc student in the division of immunology at the University of Cape Town. To say she's passionate about her work is an understatement: "I spent my last birthday sleeping under my desk,� she laughs. Somehow she still finds time to tutor kids from Khayelitsha and in refugee communities. She has also contributed to a series of open-source science text books. "Intelligence is not a privilege; it's a gift,� she says � quoting a villain in a Spiderman movie. � Ayanda Sitole

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