Biochemistry to Phd Molecular and cell biology
Name: Nxalati Mkhombo
Course/ job: PhD candidate: Molecular and Cell Biology
A levels/ equivalent: Mathematics, Life science, Geography and Physical Science
Undergrad and post grad degrees: BSc (honours) Biochemistry, MSc Biochemistry
Favourite science fact: The typical volume of blood lost during menstruation is approximately 30 mL
Journey in 3 Words: Challenging, fun and rewarding
Briefly describe your role or course: I work on a project that is based on understanding the mechanisms by which contraceptives may change levels of the hormone estrogen, which may then affect how easily women are infected with HIV.
What motivated you to pursue a career in science: I enjoyed science in high school. I have a very curious nature and I am a problem solver at heart. Pursuing a career in science made sense to me because I was merging my passions and personality to contribute to making the world better and impact lives.
Work- Life Balance: Having a work-life balance is important to me. I value my work but it is not the only thing that is important to me, so I am mastering the art of managing myself, instilling boundaries and creating space for everything that makes me who I am to happen in its time.
What advice would you give someone wanting to study the same degree?: Never stop insisting on yourself. It’s not easy (and in a way you can say that that’s what makes it fun) but that’s not a dismissal or to say you can’t do it! So, stay the course and allow yourself to learn.
How did you know a pHd was for you? : Doing my master’s degree reemphasized my love for research. Doing a PhD felt like a commitment I was making to grow as a researcher in a field I am passionate about. It’s also a challenge I wanted to take on.
What is your biggest pet peeve about how the world perceives science: That scientists look a certain type of way (most of the time male and white) and talk a certain type of way. But in actual fact, anyone can be a scientist.
Outside science how would you describe yourself: I am someone who enjoys the outdoors a lot! I love exploring new places and being in nature. I love running, spending quality time with friends and family and reading good books.
When considering your career path, how much has your potential salary affected your decision?
Not much. Up until now I’ve made career decisions based on my career goals, where I want to go and what I want to achieve. It’s been a blessing that those decisions came with a salary that I could use to take care of myself. So, money is important and I want [need] it but it hasn’t been the driving force of my career decisions.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years: Hhhmmmm
I hope this post inspires you to follow your passions and acknowledge that at every stage of your career will involve perseverance, consistency and discipline to help you achieve your desired goal. Never forget that “ no accomplishment is too small and no goal is too high”
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