My name is Halalisani Mahlaba, but everyone calls me Lisa for short. Born and bred in a small town called Pietermaritzburg, Kwa-Zulu Natal. My high schooling years were where I found my interest in the Science Field. In 2011, I joined the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (Pietermaritzburg Campus) and registered for a BSC in Biological Sciences. I went on to do my Honour’s and Master’s degree in Biochemistry, working on stem cell research.
My friend, who survived breast cancer, first introduced me to Genetic Counselling just last year. I had no idea such an awesome career exists. I’ve always known that I’ve wanted to apply my science knowledge to help people more personably and not just from the lab benches. Genetic Counselling was the perfect career to do just that, merging science and people. I am grateful and excited for this new journey as a first-year full-time student. I feel it will be a fulfilling and purposeful career; I can see its fruits already.
I am currently involved in a cystic fibrosis (CF) research project at the Red Cross Hospital. We aim to better understand research participants’ knowledge of the CF genetic disease, their experience, and expectations being enrolled in a diagnosis study. The bigger picture of this study is to describe and document the spectrum of CF disease in South Africans and investigate more sensitive measures to diagnose CF and CF-related diseases in the SA setting.