Dr Mthuthuzeli Zamxaka, National Project Coordinator
Mthuthuzeli Zamxaka is the coordinator of the Nanotechnology Public Engagement Programme (NPEP) and the Hydrogen South Africa Public Awareness, Demonstration and Education Platform (HYSA PADEP), both implemented by the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA), a business unit of the National Research Foundation (NRF). The main objective of these programmes is to make the technologies relevant and accessible to the broad South African public. Initiatives are also aimed at engaging sectors of society such as policy makers, industry and academics in nanotechnology and hydrogen energy debates. Since his appointment in 2010, Mthuthuzeli has overseen the introduction of new resources for both programmes including nanotechnology fact sheets, the NPEP website, monthly and quarterly NanoNews, a range of exhibits and the production of educator and learner manuals.
What few know about Mthuthuzeli Zamxaka is that he completed his a PhD in Microbiology at the University of Witwatersrand. He worked on the mechanisms of tolerance and hyper accumulation of toxic and heavy metals in roots of plants growing in mining waste sites. His study examined the ability of a symbiotic fungus (mycorrhiza) growing on plant roots to tolerate and accumulate heavy metals.
Mthuthuzeli’s passion for science and for developing people aligns to SAASTA’s mandate to build up the supply of tomorrow’s scientists and innovators by engaging the public with the phenomena of science, engineering and technology as well as sharing science and technology advancements with the public, thereby building up their appreciation of the benefits of science so as to improve the quality of life of all people.