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Dr Adriana Marais went to school in Pietermaritzburg, and studied theoretical physics and philosophy at the University of Cape Town. She completed her MSc summa cum laude in quantum cryptography at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), and was awarded her PhD in quantum biology at the same institute in 2015. She is a member of the Quantum Research Group, established by Prof Francesco Petruccione at UKZN, and plans to continue doing research in quantum biology, specifically studying quantum effects in photosynthesis as well as the origins of prebiotic molecules and life itself.
Dr Marais has been recognised by the Mail and Guardian as one of 200 young South African achievers (2014). She is one of 15 recipients worldwide of a L’Oreal-UNESCO International Rising Talent Grant for Women in Science (2015) and is the 2016 Royal Society of South Africa Meiring Naude Medal awardee for a young researcher. This year, she attended the prestigious 66th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting as one of 400 most qualified young physicists selected worldwide, and will attend the International Astronautical Congress, in Mexico, this month, to present her research on quantum astrobiology.