Where science meets heart

In the first of our blogs about interesting careers in tissue engineering, we chat to Aurelie Enkonzaa, a young analytical chemist.

Aurelie Enkonzaa is an enthusiastic, goal orientated young woman who qualified as an analytical chemist at Cape Peninsula University of Technology in 2021.  She works as a laboratory assistant in the laboratory at Vitanova, the connective tissue bank of South Africa, in Delft in the Western Cape.

She has a very important role: that of ensuring that all donated tissues are made suitable for transplantation through chemical processing and stringent quality control procedures.

Although a career in science may seem daunting and beyond most people’s reach, the reality is that science is crucial in so many aspects of our everyday lives, and tissue donation is no exception.

Young women like Aurelie are paving the way for other women to consider a career in this field of science and make a difference. Her exceptional work ethic and ability to work long hours without a break are an inspiration to her colleagues – men and women alike!

Vitanova, the connective tissue bank of South Africa.

The science behind tissue donation

As Aurelie is demonstrating, working in tissue donation is a great application of a science qualification.

More scientific advancements mean improved transplants, while better grafts mean better outcomes for patients. Not to mention that safe handling of donated tissue safeguards patient safety.

Says Aurelie: “I chose to work in tissue donation because it is the epitome of selflessness and humanity. It all comes down to giving to others when they have nothing to offer back. I believe I can put my skill set and qualification to good use at Vitanova to help grow and advance the field of tissue donation.”

She looks forward to the future of science: the continuous optimisation and improvement of processes, and the expansion of tissue availability with the use of cutting-edge technology to speed up and simplify operations.

Inspiring more women to work in science

Aurelie encourages other women to consider careers in science. “Although it can sometimes be challenging to maintain a work-life balance, and interlink theoretical knowledge with experimental approaches, it is inspiring to work in this field where every day is an opportunity to learn while caring for others.“

To relax and cope with the pressures of her job, Aurelie enjoys doing things with her hands like crafting (including making bracelets), cooking and baking, gardening, and taking care of her space.

Aurelie’s role model is her mother. “I am truly inspired by my mom because she’s a strong, hardworking, and intelligent woman who never gives up regardless of difficulties. She taught us how to live life and make wise choices, be disciplined, and have morals.
Emma and Sandra Venter, Awareness & Recovery Manager, Vitanova
She is a generous woman who always gives more than she receives. She sets an inspirational example that teaches me about loving and caring for others unconditionally.”

Changing the world

This talented young chemist says that she would change people’s perception of others if she could. “We should never look down on people. The only time you look down on someone is when you are helping them to get up.”

Wise and inspiring words from a wise and inspirational woman. Watch this space, because this is not the last time you will hear of Aurelie Enkonzaa!

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