Name: Valerie Corfield
Organisation: Medical Research Council/University of Stellenbosch
Role: Medical Scientist
Country: South Africa
I am a medical research scientist in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Stellenbosch, where my research focus is inherited heart disease. Additionally, for more than a decade, I have been involved in communicating aspects of biomedical science to a wide range of public audiences across South Africa. The methods used are primarily interactive workshops and interactive exhibitions which I have designed and presented, with the help of other scientists and science centre facilitators. The activities involve simple experiments, metaphors, models, role play, drama and comic strip characters. The topics covered include research undertaken in the Centre for Molecular and Cellular Biology,University of Stellenbosch, as well as those of regional and national relevance. These have included HIV/AIDS, TB and drug resistance, skin (health/disease/albinism/ discrimination), DNA (specific inherited diseases/genetic testing/forensics) and substance abuse (particularly methamphetamine). Audiences are primary and secondary school learners and educators, and adult “man-on-the-street” as well as selected target groups- from all socio-economic backgrounds, in rural and urban areas. Currently, I am working on a project to develop new partnerships between science centres and scientists throughout South Africa, to build a sustainable network of biomedical science communicators.