Dr Matthew Amoni (MISSING PHOTO)

PhD candidate

Matthew Amoni, now working on his PhD in Belgium, aims to carry out essential research that contributes to his dream of an African textbook of medicine. “The UK has the Oxford Textbook of Medicine, but Africa does not yet have an equivalent.

I hope during my career to contribute somehow to the creation of such literature,” he says. Born in Pretoria, Amoni moved throughout sub-Saharan Africa during his childhood, as his missionary parents carried out their work. “My childhood exposed me to the needs in rural communities and created in me an ethos of working to contribute to society.”

The exceptionally hardworking medical student was able to undertake MBChB studies concurrently with BSc(Med) honours and MSc studies at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and successfully completed them on schedule. He was one of the first medical students to enroll into the MBChB/ BSc honours intercalated programme, a course offered by UCT that promotes future medically-qualified scientists.

He excelled in his honours studies and continued with his MSc while simultaneously completing his MBChB degree. Amoni was awarded distinctions for both degrees. He was then offered a place for PhD studies in Belgium. His research for his MSc studies was in the cardiovascular field, where he explored cardioprotection in disease conditions such as cardiac hypertrophy and diabetes mellitus. During that time, he published two full papers in international peer-reviewed journals and six journal abstracts, as well as presenting papers at an international conference and three local conferences, receiving a best speaker award at one of them.

He was supervised by Dr Asfree Gwanyanya and Dr Roisin Kelly-Laubscher. In addition, Matthew has served as head of research portfolio in the Student Health and Welfare Centres Organisation, a student-run, nonprofit community outreach o r g a n i s a – tion that provides primar y h e a l t h care to u n d e r – privileged communities.

— Tracy Burrows