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Ms Nerissa Naidoo is off to Belgium.

UKZN Golden Key president, Ms Nerissa Naidoo, will spend six months conducting part of her doctoral research at Ghent University in Belgium after receiving the prestigious INSPIRE Mobility Scholarship funded by the Erasmus Mundus Programme.

Naidoo (25) of Chatsworth leaves for Ghent University in September.  She will be attached to the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology where she will conduct anatomical and biomechanical shoulder work related to two subsets of her doctoral research.

‘Since their academic Department uses 3D-CT imaging reconstruction, I will also be able to learn and apply these novel techniques.’

Her investigation will include a spectrum of disease conditions on the Belgian population’s pathological shoulder computed tomographic (CT) group.

Naidoo’s study is titled: “An Anatomical Investigation of the Subacromial Complex: Intrinsic and Extrinsic Parameters of the South African and Belgian Populations.”

‘The study pertains to the field of Clinical Human Anatomy, specifically the intrinsic and extrinsic factors regarding the subacromial anatomical complex of the shoulder, with the ultimate aim of providing the clinician with reliable reference parameters indicative of underlying pathology which cannot be identified from a mere morphological observation,’ said Naidoo.

‘It comprises three subsets – Footprint of the Rotator Cuff Muscle Complex, Subacromial Architecture and Biomechanical Parameters of the Shoulder – the latter two will be investigated within the South African and Belgian population groups.

‘The novelty of this study lies in its unique applicability to the South African and Belgian population groups,’ Naidoo said, highlighting that in terms of research regarding the superior shoulder region, her area of specialisation remained unpublished in South Africa.

‘Since I have chosen a career in academia, I believe that international exposure will positively influence and determine my success in this field. It will enable me to adopt a global outlook thus raising the profile of this field in South Africa.’

She said she looked forward to her first overseas adventure and working with international post-doctoral students.

The scholarship will cover Naidoo’s travel, health insurance and tuition fees in addition to a monthly stipend.

‘My family and friends are extremely proud of my achievement. They have always motivated and supported me and have played an instrumental role in moulding me into the person I’ve become, for which I am truly grateful.’

Naidoo graduated with a Bachelor of Medical Science degree, majoring in Clinical Anatomy and Physiology in 2011 before completing her Honours in Anatomy in 2012.

She successfully applied to upgrade of her masters to PhD level after the initial study – supervised by Clinical Anatomy Professor, Kapil Satyapal, and Ms Lelika Lazarus – underwent meritorious assessment and demonstrated the potential for expansion.

Naidoo also recently presented a subset of her masters research at the College of Health Sciences (CHS) Research Symposium.  It was titled: “Enthesopathic Patterns of Two South African Female Cadavers.”

In addition to presenting two papers at the symposium, Naidoo also presented them at the 42nd Annual Conference of the Anatomical Society of Southern Africa last year as well as at the School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences Research Symposium.