Louis-Stéphane IV Le Clercq
I am queer and I am a molecular biologist.//
I am Molecular Biologist, who completed a Bachelors of Science (B.Sc.) degree majoring in Medical Sciences at the University of Pretoria. This theoretical and practical training in diverse fields such as applied cellular biology, embryology, histology and histological techniques, genetics, hematology and immunology.
Upon graduation I completed a B.Sc. Honors degree, based on intensified theoretical and practical training. I was not initially selected for the program after the interviews but got in by groveling, but I must have done something right because in the end I was “less trouble than they thought I’d be!” (direct quote). Sadly I wasn’t “suited to the departmental eco-system” (another quote) and then “elected” to continue my training with a research and dissertation based Masters of Science (M.Sc) degree – in a different department – as further, post-graduate specialization. During this period I worked mostly independently on the full genome of a dsDNA virus, as well as some gene specific work, using novel Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) platforms.
After graduation I spent two years applying to PhD programs and attending interviews. Professors tended to lose their enthusiasm to assist me after an interview or phone call so it would seem my three-times over “Alumni” status by virtue of previous degrees and the Academic Honorary Colors couldn’t grant me access to a PhD position anywhere at my institution.
I then applied to do a post-graduate internship, administered by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and National Research Foundation (NRF), where I was placed within the Molecular Genetics research facilities of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). For the 1st time in my life I actually felt at home in a lab/department and the “imposter syndrome” went away.
Fast forward and I am an enrolled candidate of the postgraduate development program, performing thesis research towards the conferment of the Ph.D. degree in Genetics, via the University of the Free State, with a focus on genetic and epigenetic footprints that correlate to behavior and aging – in the same place I did my internship!
It is envisioned that I would then proceed with post-doctoral research at a national or internationally accredited institution in one of many fields of interest.