As part of the activities related to the FemBioBiz Acceleration Programme, SANBio is profiling female bioscientists and bioentrepreneurs working in the innovation space.
Dr Eugénie Kayitesi is a lecturer and researcher at the University of Johannesburg in the Biotechnology and Food Technology Department. She holds a BSc (Honours) and MSc (Agriculture) Food Science and Technology, as well as a PhD in Food Science. Dr Kayitesi has expertise in various research areas of Food Science and Technology.
The unifying theme in her research is the use of both traditional and modern food processing technologies to improve the nutritional quality, functional and health promoting properties, as well as safety of plant-based foods. Particularly, her interest is in adding value to under-researched, underutilised and indigenous food crops. “Studies on underutilised and indigenous food crops are of strategic importance in terms of food security especially among rural communities in Africa,” she states.
Dr Kayitesi’s passion is to inspire young aspiring researchers through mentorship to achieve their academic and career goals. She believes that education is the most powerful weapon which can be used to change the world (a famous quote from Nelson Mandela), and empowering young African men and women is a long term strategy to change Africa. She has successfully supervised two postdoctoral fellows, graduated three MSc students and seven BTech students and is currently supervising three PhD, five MSc students and several BTech students.
Dr Kayitesi has over twenty articles under her name in international peer-reviewed food science journals. She has also contributed to six textbook chapters and presented in several local and international conferences. She is a reviewer for Journal of Nutrition and Food Science, African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, Journal of Quality Assurance and Safety of Crops & Foods and Food Control. She was part of the organizing committee and co-chair of the scientific committee of the 2016 Autumn International Conference on Food Safety and Security (FSaS).
She was awarded 2015 Food Science Educator of the month by the Institute of Food Technologists and also received an African Women in Agricultural Research Development (AWARD) fellowship in 2009. AWARD is a highly competitive fellowship programme that offers tailored, two-year fellowships designed to fast-track the careers of African women scientist/students and professionals showing leadership potential to deliver pro-poor agricultural research and development that benefits the rural communities, especially women. She is, impressively, also a winner of Technology Entertainment Design (TED) global fellowship.