JUST IN: Student graduates with a PhD while Studying for Masters’ Degree due to “Superior Thesis”



Ghaneshree Moonsamy, a Master’s Degree student at the Durban University of Technology, this week graduated with a PhD due to the superior quality of her thesis.

​A jovial Moonsamy stated that her supervisors were more than impressed by her Master’s thesis that they asked her to apply for a degree conversion.

“Due to the content and quality of my Masters, my supervisors suggested that we attempt to apply for a degree conversion from a master’s to a doctoral degree. I was successful in this application and was the first student to ever do this at DUT,” she said after being conferred with a PhD in Biotechnology this week.

She could not hide her excitement and revealed that the journey was not easy.

“It’s still surreal, I am unsure how I feel about it because it has been such a monumental journey. So many extreme highs and terrible lows. I am so glad to have made it to the finish line,” she remarked.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (SCIR), Senior Researcher said her study was based on the development of a production process for a probiotic microorganism, used in abalone aquaculture.

“Abalone, or “perlemoen” is a seafood delicacy that is cultivated primarily in land-based aquaculture systems.

The South African abalone industry in particular, is under severe pressure due to illegal harvesting and poaching of this seafood delicacy.

In addition to the illegal harvesting, the growth of the abalone is extremely slow, and as a result, supply seldom meets global demand.

Probiotics can be used in abalone production as a mechanism to boost growth rate and limit disease proliferation,” she said.

“This study focused on the development of a bioprocess technology for the production of Vibrio midae, a probiotic of value in abalone aquaculture. In this study, a cultivation process, medium composition and product formulation were tailor-made to produce this probiotic in a high efficiency production process. The demonstration of this technology at full manufacturing scale resulted in a patented technology, and has highlighted the attractiveness and commercial feasibility of this production process,” she added.

Moonsamy was thankful to her parents for constantly encouraging her to soar to new heights and revealed that she intends to use her skills to make a positive impact on society.

She is currently pursuing another Master’s degree in Management in Innovation Studies at the University of Witwatersrand.

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