Converting dreams to reality
University of Leicester Combined Sciences graduate, Thabelo Khoboko, recently
received the prestigious Levi Montalcini African Fellowship, enabling her to
follow a graduate programme in Neuroscience at the University of Cape Town.
Khoboko graduated from this University in 2000. Since then she has returned to
her home, the Kingdom of Lesotho, where she worked as a research consultant
for 18 months conducting developmental research while looking for ways to
realise her longstanding ambition to become a neuroscientist.
Levi Montalcini award, made through the International Brain Research
Organisation (IBRO) has enabled Thabelo to take the next step in her career
path and embark on a postgraduate degree at the Department of Human Biology,
Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town.
current research is investigating the physiology of neural networks within the
basal ganglia with a view to contributing towards the development of effective
therapies against Parkinson’s Disease.
of her undergraduate years at the University of Leicester, Thabelo said: “I
believe my time at Leicester prepared me for the various changes and
challenges that I have faced. I had so
many experiences at the University, and so many people touched my life in
various ways within and beyond academia. It
is all this that helped to shape me, to teach me to endure difficulties and
continue to believe in myself.
can be a hard battle to fight, but I think all too often we take our own
aspirations for granted and forget that the difference between our dreams and
reality is simply a lot of hard work and faith.
“It’s invaluable to have people
believe in you. I never fail to
emphasise the difference people can make in your life.
Throughout my entire time at Leicester, and since, I am convinced that
90 per cent of the changes in my life have been effected by others.
some of the people at Leicester who made such a huge difference to me were
Clare Taylor and Sue Malpass from the Student Welfare Office, Dr Revers Donga
(Department of Pre Clinical Sciences), Dr John Challiss (Department of Cell
Physiology and Pharmacology), and Dr Bob Harris (Department of Biology).
Challiss recalled: “As an undergraduate here, Thabelo impressed me time and
time again by her desire to gain maximum benefit from her studies and her
irrepressible enthusiasm for the neuroscience project she undertook with me.
I am absolutely delighted that she has received this recognition, and
if anyone deserved the opportunity it affords, it’s Thabelo.”
added: “So many friends have been important to me.
Amongst them I would like to mention specially Drs Noelle Njeru (MBCHB)
and Sharmini Rajenthran (MBCHB), my fellow Leicester alumni and the most
amazing females. It goes without saying
that my family was always there as a source of strength.
could go on and on, if only because through all the ups and downs of student
life so many people touched my life. I
am certainly glad to be a graduate of the University of Leicester.”
Levi Montalcini Foundation, established by Rita Levi Montalcini (1986
Nobel Laureate in Medicine) and her sister Paola, enables IBRO to finance
scholarships for two young African women for two years.
The Foundation is committed to the education of African girls and
young women, believing in the key role they can play in the continent’s
Last updated: 21 February 2003 10:55
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