School of Chemistry & Physics

Mr Musa Buthelezi is congratulated by his supervisor, Professor Naven Chetty.

Biochemical-Physical Mechanisms of Light-Tissue Interactions Investigated in MSc

Mr Musawenkosi Doctor Buthelezi is one step closer to achieving his dream of becoming an academic doctor – having successfully completed his MSc degree in Physics.

His dissertation, supervised by Professor Naven Chetty and Dr Oluwabamise Adeleye, investigated the biochemical mechanisms of light-tissue interactions using tissue phantoms developed in the laboratory at UKZN.

‘I wanted to study the effects of a Helium- Neon and Argon lasers on melanin machinery in certain tissue (in this case the human testes and brain) as this mechanism is important for many aspects of medicine and in particular the treatment of cancer cells with low pulses,’ he explained.

‘Lasers are widely used nowadays for cosmetic purposes such as blemish removal, for evening out the complexion and for hair removal,’ said Buthelezi. ‘However, many laser practices do not take the pigmentation or actual skin colour into account. This could account for higher cancer risks when undergoing such procedures.’

‘I hope that my research contributes to improved public awareness of the dangers and benefits of lasers as well as improved treatment of cancers through less invasive therapeutic techniques.’

Buthelezi paid tribute to his supervisors for their support and guidance as well as Mr Mpumelelo Hlongwane who provided accommodation in Pietermaritzburg when needed. He also thanked his mother and extended family for their encouragement throughout his studies.

He chose UKZN because of the support it gives to its students, the facilities available, its international reputation and because it is in his home province.  He is keen to proceed with PhD studies in the future.

‘Musa overcame many obstacles to complete his degree and achieve his dream of earning a master’s,’ said Chetty.  ‘He showed great tenacity to complete the degree while holding down a demanding full-time job. His achievement is a sterling example of how hard work can overcome disadvantage and convert it to success. I wish Musa well on his new journey.’

‘It is very important never to give up even when you face difficulties along the path to achieving your dreams,’ said Buthelezi.

Words: Sally Frost

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal