About the participants

Participants in the Colloquium included seven early to mid-career practitioners, and four graduate and PhD students, selected from applications received earlier in 2016. Brief biographic notes about the participants appear below. They attend all the Colloquium seminars and related events during their sessions, and wrote reflections about presentations or the subsequent discussions.

Participants in the first session of the Colloquium started their own blog. To go there, click here.


bade-finalManisha Bade

Manisha Bade holds a Master of Science degree in physiology from Kathmandu University in Nepal where she currently teaches physiology to undergraduate students studying medicine, dentistry, physiotherapy, nursing and human biology. She has completed the online LifeSciTRC Vision and Change Scholars Program of the American Physiological Society, and recently presented a paper at the IBRO APRC Associate School of Neuroscience in Selangor, Malaysia. She was a participant in the Creative and Social Brain Sessions of the Brain Colloquium.

Dr Sahba Besharati

Sahba Besharati is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand. She completed a collaborative PhD in neuropsychology at Kings College London and the University of Cape Town (UCT), having previously trained in psychological research and clinical neuropsychology at UCT. She has published in several leading international journals such as Brain and Cortex. Dr Besharati’s research integrates neuroimaging, neuropsychological and experimental methods to investigate disorders of self-consciousness following brain damage, and the development of self-awareness during childhood and infancy. She is particularly interested in the recent interdisciplinary approach of a social, cognitive and affective neuroscience.


Dr Samira Boulbaroud

Samira Boulbaroud is an Assistant Professor in the Polydisciplinary Faculty of the Moulay Sultan Slimane University in Morocco. She was a participant in the Brain Studies and Cognitive Brain sessions of the Colloquium.


Dr Tanya Calvey

Tanya Calvey holds a BSc (anatomy and physiology), a BSc (Honours) in human biology and evolution, and a PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand. Her PhD thesis, completed in 2015, was on mammalian brain evolution, and analysed the cholinergic, catecholaminergic, serotonergic, and orexinergic neural systems in 13 mammalian species. This research was published in the Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy, and presented to the 11th meeting of the Society of Neuroscientists of Africa as well as the 44th Annual Conference of the Anatomical Society of Southern Africa. Tanya now lectures in the School of Anatomical Sciences of the University of the Witwatersrand. She is currently conducting clinical research, funded by the Medical Research Council of South Africa, on addiction, the comorbid psychiatric disorders, and neuropsychopharmacology, and is developing a research group. She has presented her addiction research to the 2nd Africa and Middle East Congress on Addiction in Morocco. In her free time, Tanya enjoys long walks in nature with her Rottweiler, Uriel Tiger; tending to her vegetable garden; yoga; and listening to live music with friends. She was a participant in the Brain Studies Session of the Colloquium.


Yehudit Korin

Judith Korin holds an MA in Political Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, obtained with Honors. She also studied at the Theatre Laboratory in Tel-Aviv and the Akko Theatre Centre, and initiated and directed the Zamarin Participatory Theatre, an independent group of outdoors actors who performed location-specific shows at historic sites around Israel from 1998 to 2015. Judith was a political activist in Israel in the period 1996 to 2011. She was a member of conference of the Meretz Party; a member of the directorate and conference presidency of Meretz; the organiser of an Arab-Jewish tolerance conference; project manager of Mati Hameshulash, a small business development centre in the Arab-Israeli region of ‘Hameshush’, Baka Al-Garbiyah; and a member of the steering team of the ‘Arab-Jewish voyage to Auschwitz’ in 2003. She also served as a joint coordinator of the Network of Arab and Jewish Coexistence and Partnership Organizations in Israel, and a member of the national directorate of the Peace Now Movement in 2000-2002. Judith is interested in developing a framework for a research project focusing on brain activity, political decision-making, ‘inner voices’, and ‘collective voices’ in the individual and in groups, based on the theories of Voice Dialogue and the Dialogical Self. She was a participant in all four sessions of the Colloquium.


Phenyo Motswai

Phenyo Motswai is a research psychologist (registered with the HPSCA) working in the field of neuropsychology. She is employed at the psychology department of 1 Military Hospital where she conducts research that assists in the academic advancement and service delivery of the neurological rehabilitation multidisciplinary team. Her academic qualifications include: BSc Human Physiology, Genetics and Psychology; BSocSci (Hons) Psychology; and MA Research Psychology – all obtained at the University of Pretoria. She is also currently enrolled for a PhD in Psychology (University of Pretoria) focusing on the growing field of the neuropsychological effects of aging with HIV. Phenyo was a participant in the Social Brain Session of the Brain Colloquium.


Dr Marietjie Oosthuizen

Marietjie Oosthuizen is a zoologist who holds a PhD from the University of Pretoria. Her post-graduate studies were focused on comparative studies between solitary and social African mole-rats, first investigating their chronobiology, then moving onto their endocrinology and neuroanatomy of reproduction. This research has been published in national and international journals. Marietjie is now a Research Fellow in the Department of Zoology and Entomology at the University of Pretoria, conducting research, supervising postgraduate students, and lecturing. Her current research  concentrates on the influence of sociality on learning, memory and neurogenesis, and exploring the effect of social status within a social group on these parameters. She is involved in a study investigating the immunohistochemistry and ligand binding of oxytocin and vasopressin in solitary and social mole-rat species. These studies have now been expanded to other rodent species that presumably include solitary and social species within the same genus. In her free time, Marietjie enjoys bird and wildlife photography as well as travelling. She was a participant in the Social Brain Session of the Colloquium.


Dr Zachary Walker

Dr Zachary Walker is an academic, author and speaker.  He is a faculty member at the National Institute of Education (NIE) in Singapore, which is ranked 10th in the world in education by the QS World University Rankings. At NIE, Zachary currently serves as the Chair of Pedagogical Development and Innovation in his Academic Group, and a member of the NIE Taskforce for the 21st Century Teaching and Learning Framework. Zachary was named a Think College Emerging Scholar (2012), a Millennium Milestone Maker by the World Academy for the Future of Women (2015), and was awarded the John Cheung Social Media Award for Innovation in Teaching and Pedagogy (2015). Zachary’s current work focuses on how to best use mobile technology to impact teaching and learning while preparing students for today’s world. He has delivered talks to education leaders and higher education faculty in North America, Central America, Europe, and Asia. In addition to his interests in education and business, Zachary enjoys playing tackle chess, doing cold yoga, and catching rhinos with his bare hands. He was a participant in the Creative Brain Session of the Brain Colloquium.



Ngala Elvis Mbiydzeyuy

Ngala Elvis Mbiydzeyuy is a graduate student in the Department of Physiology at Kampala International University, Uganda. He obtained a BSc (Honours) from the Department of Human Physiology at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria. He is currently conducting a research project entitled ‘The Neuroprotective and sensorimotor effect of Zinc and Omega-3 PUFA in mouse model of Parkinsonism induced with methyl-4-phenyl-1, 2, 3, 6-tetrahydropyridine’ in the Department of Physiology, Biochemistry and Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Yaounde, Cameroon. Among other things, the study assesses the impact of agrochemicals on cognition and degeneration. Ngala’s career goal is research in the field of cognition and neurodegenerative disorders. As a result, he has received a Biochemical Society UK scientific outreach grant for promoting neuroscience education, hands-on practical work on the science of neurons, experimenting on information transfer in the brain, and promoting career prospects in neuroscience in Cameroon. As a teaching assistant, Ngala teaches modules of physiology to medical students at Kampala International University in Uganda. His experience in teaching neurophysiology to Higher National Diploma Physiotherapy students at the St Louis University Institute of Health and Biomedical Sciences in Cameroon brought him into contact with Attention Deficit and Learning Disorders. This forms the basis of his goal of understanding what altered signals in these sets of people make their learning and memory processes different from those of others. With an unflinching zest for reading and writing, Ngala writes about various aspects of behavioural and cognitive processes, because they play an important role in defining him as a species (https://neurosciencecameroon.wordpress.com/). He was a participant in the Brain Studies and Cognitive Brain Sessions of the Colloquium.


Imaan Tamimi

Born in Kenya and bred in Tanzania, Imaan recently graduated from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom with a BSc in Biomedical Sciences. During her time there, she discovered a love of research, specifically in neuroscience, and spent long hours in the university’s Zebrafish lab. Following this, she participated in an intensive neuroscience workshop on Drosophila in her home country of Tanzania, which also kindled her interest in improving scientific literacy in Africa. She has first-hand experience of all the things that go wrong in the laboratory, and has learnt to come up with ways to solve it or to just put it aside and move on. Her first paper, presented in Sheffield, was entitled ‘Neuroscience in Africa: natural feeding behaviour in Drosophila’. With more exposure to scientific research in Africa at the 4th Scientific Conference on Health Research and Training, and her international experience and love for research, Imaan hopes to be a useful member of society, and give back to the community while chasing her curiosity. She was a participant in the Brain Studies and Social Brain Sessions of the Colloquium.


Phophi Tshavungwe

Phophi Tshavhungwe is a PhD student in neuroscience at the University of Cape Town. Her current work, conducted under Professor Anthony Figaji, head of the paediatric neurosurgery unit and neurocritical care at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, focuses on drug recovery and biomarkers in paediatric tuberculous meningitis. She holds an MSc in Medical Sciences (Molecular Biology) from Stellenbosch University, and a BSc in Medical Sciences (Medical Microbiology) from the University of Limpopo. She was a participant in the Brain Studies Session of the Colloquium.


Lidia Puerta

Lidia Puerta holds an MSc degree in Nanoscale Engineering from Ecole Centrale de Lyon, INSA de Lyon and Universite de Lyon. She is currently a PhD student at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Her research focuses on on 3D graphene bioscaffolds. Lidia was a participant in the Cognitive Brain Session of the Brain Colloquium.

(c) Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study

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