Loretta Magagula obtained a BSc in biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, and physiology at Wits, a BSc honours in biotechnology at UP, and an MSc in clinical science and immunology at UCT. She is one of the founding members of Incitech, a Savant-supported venture.

She is doing a PhD in chemical biology at UCT as part of the Biomedical Translational Research Initiative. Her project focuses on identifying and visualising specific breast and colorectal cancer-causing mutations in the South African population, in a field that is almost entirely dominated by Eurocentric data.

Magagula has been awarded several fellowships and bursaries from local and international organisations, including the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, the CSIR, the Carl Zeiss Foundation, the NRF, the Institut Pasteur and the European Bioinformatics Institute. Among other awards, she received the Most Innovative Business Idea award from E-Squared in 2014 and Best Master’s Student of the Year 2016 from the CSIR. Magagula has had tenures at several reputable local and international laboratories and universities, where she has obtained and applied her molecular, cellular, microscopy and bioinformatics skills. She has published and contributed to three peer-reviewed articles and a book chapter in the areas of transcriptomics and genomic architecture.

Outside of her academic career, Magagula co-founded the medical diagnostics start-up Incitech with three other talented young black women. Incitech has been awarded seed capital endowments from E-Squared and the Cape Craft and Design Institute Design Seed Innovation Fund for creating a prototype of her provisionally patented, flagship easy-to-use HIV self-test.

She has also volunteered her time to the Association of Allan Gray Fellows Executive Leadership Portfolio, where she has organised events and programmes supporting the leadership development of her peers and the education of young South Africans.

This is an adaptation from an article entitled, “Loretta Magagula” on the Mail & Guardian website.