Lynne Pilcher

Prof LA Pilcher

Tel:             +27 (0)12-420-5384

Email:         [email protected]

Office:        NS 1, Room 4-52

Position:     Associate Professor

Academic qualifications: MSc (Rhodes), PhD (Cambridge)


Organic chemistry from first year to honours depending on the lecture assignment in a particular year.  Care is taken to integrate the theory taught and the practical training.

Modules: CMY 127, 284, 708 and 709

Research interests:

Lynne Pilcher’s research has focused on organic synthesis for solving biological problems. An area of research included the synthesis of mycolic acids – the wax esters from the cell wall of M.Tb – in collaboration with Verschoor (Biochemistry) to develop TB diagnostics.  Another focus has been the synthesis and mechanistic studies on the reactions of purine compounds with a view to elucidating the role of adenine in kinase reaction mechanisms.  Yet another research area is the improvement of existing TB, HIV and Malaria drugs through nanomedicine in collaboration with Balogun (CSIR).  This involves synthesis to link drugs to drug delivery agents and encapsulation in polymers to improve targeted delivery and release.  Having chosen this focus, Pilcher’s research is not limited to a particular class of organic compounds and as new target molecules have been identified the relevant practicalities of doing chemistry with a new class of compounds has to be learnt.  This wide organic research area together with training in natural products chemistry (MSc, Rhodes, 1996), stereoselective synthesis (PhD, Cambridge, 2000) and enzyme mechanisms (Postdoc, Brown, 2001-2), has provided a sound background for the teaching of organic chemistry and her current research interest has expanded to the area of tertiary chemistry education.

In 2014, she received a prestigious University of Pretoria Laureate award for Teaching Excellence and Innovation together with two co-workers for redesigning the third year organic chemistry practical curriculum to train undergraduate students to become researchers.  In particular the third year students grew in their ability to work independently as would be expected of them in a research environment.  This developed their self-confidence and their identity as potential researchers. In 2017 Lynne Pilcher was awarded the SACI Chemistry Education medal for her contribution to advancing the state of teaching organic chemistry.  As a researcher in an education institution she places as much importance in building the academic foundation for the next generation of researchers as pursuing her own research career.


Journal articles

  1. Tekane, R.; Pilcher, L. A.; Potgieter, M. “Blended learning in a second year organic chemistry class: students’ perceptions and preferences of the learning support.” Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 2019, DOI: 10.1039/c9rp00099b.
  2. Potgieter, M.; Pilcher, L.A.; Tekane, R.R.; Louw, I.; Fletcher, L. “Chapter 6: Lessons learnt from teaching and learning during disruptions” in Research and Practice in Chemistry Education, Ed Schultz, M, Schmid, S, Lawrie, G.A., Springer, 2019, DOI: 10.1007/978-981-13-6998-8_6
  3. Mvango, S., Matshe, W. M. R., Balogun, A. O. Pilcher, L. A.; Balogun, M. O. “Nanomedicines for Malaria Chemotherapy: Encapsulation vs. Polymer Therapeutics” Pharm Res (2018) 35: 237.
  4. Buyens, D. M. S.; Mangondo, P.; Cukrowski, I.; Pilcher, L. A.* “Solvent directed regioselective benzylation of adenine: characterization of N9- and N3-benzyladenine.”J. Heterocyclic. Chem. 2017, 54(5), 2946–2950.  DOI: 10.1002/jhet.2894, published online 3 May 2017.
  5. Khazir, J.; Mir, B. A.; Pilcher, L. A.; Riley, D. L.; Chasoo, G.; Islam, M.A.; Saxena, A.; Sampath Kumar, H. M. “Design and synthesis of ring C opened analogues of α-santonin as potential anticancer agents" Med. Chem. Res., 2016, 25, 2030-2041. DOI: 10.1007/s00044-016-1633-8
  6. Pilcher, L. A.; Riley, D. L.; Mathabathe, K. C.; Potgieter, M. “An inquiry-based practical curriculum for organic chemistry as preparation for industry and postgraduate research” S. Afr. J. Chem., 2015, 68, 236-244.
  7. Khazir, J.; Riley, D. L.; Chashoo, G.; Mir, B. A.; Liles, D.; Islam, M. A.; Singh, S. K.; Vishwakarma, R. A.;   Pilcher, L. A.  “Design, synthesis and anticancer activity of Michael-type thiol adducts of α-santonin analogue with exocyclic methylene”, Eur. J. Med. Chem., 2015, 101, 769–779.
  8. Khazir, J.; Riley, D. L.; Pilcher, L. A.; De Maayer, P.; Mir, B. A.  “Anticancer agents from diverse natural sources” Nat. Prod. Commun. 2014, 9(11), 1655-1669.
  9. Khazir, J.; Mir, B. A.; Pilcher, L.; Riley, D. L.  “Role of plants in anticancer drug discovery” Phytochemistry Lett. 2014, 7, 173-181.
  10. Balogun, M.O.; Huws, E.; Sirhan, M.M.; Saleh, A.D.;  Al Dulayymi, J.R.; Pilcher, L.; Verschoor, J.A.; Baird, M.S. “Thiol modified mycolic acids”, Chemistry and Physics of Lipids 2013, 172-173, 40-57.
  11. Beukes, M.; Lemmer, Y.; Deysel, M.; Al Dulayymi, J.R.; Baird, M.S.; Koza, G. Iglesias, M.M.; Rowles, R.R.; Theunissen, C.; Grooten, J.; Toschi, G.; Roberts, V.V.; Pilcher, L.; van Wyngaardt, S.; Mathebula, N.; Balogun, M.; Stoltz, A.C.; Verschoor, J.A. “Structure-function relationships of the antigenicity of mycolic acids in tuberculosis patients” Chemistry and Physics of Lipids 2010, 163, 800-808.
  12. Driver, C. H. S.; Balogun, M. O.; Toschi, G.; Verschoor, J. A.; Baird, M. S.;, Pilcher, L. A.*  “A biomimetic approach to the synthesis of a mycolic motif” Tetrahedron Lett. 2010, 51, 1185-1186.
  13. Lemmer, Y.; Thanyani, S.T.; Vrey, P.J.; Driver, C.H.S.; Venter, L.; van Wyngaardt, S.; Ten Bokum, A.M.C.; Ozoemena, K.I.; Pilcher, L.A.; Fernig, D.G.; Stoltz, A.C.; Swai. H.S.; Verschoor, J.A. “Chapter 5 – Detection of anti-mycolic acid antibodies by liposomal biosensors” Methods Enzymol, 2009, 464, 79-104.
  14. Sharma, K.; Laurens J.B.; Pilcher, L.A.* “Stereoselective synthesis of the urinary metabolite N-Acetyl-S-(3,4-dihydroxybutyl)cysteine”  Synth. Commun. 2009, 39, 1415-1424.
  15. Benadie, Y.; Deysel, M.; Siko, D.G.R.; Roberts, V.V.; van Wyngaardt, S.; Thanyani, T.S.; Sekanka, G.; Ten Bokum, A.M.C.; Collett, L.A.; Grooten, J.; Baird, M.S.; Verschoor, J.A. “Cholesteroid Nature of Free Mycolic Acids from M. tuberculosis.” Chemistry and Physics of Lipids 2008, 152, 95-103.
  16. Paterson, I.; Collett, L.A.  “Remote 1,5-stereoinduction in boron aldol reactions of methyl ketones: application to the convergent assembly of the 1,3-polyol sequence of (+)-roxaticin”  Tetrahedron Lett., 42, 2001, 1187-1191.
  17. Brecknell, D.J.; Collett, L.A.; Davies-Coleman, M.T.; Garson, M.J.; Jones, D.D.  "New non-contiguous polypropionates from marine moluscs: A comment on their natural product status"  Tetrahedron, 56, 2000, 2497-2502.
  18. Collett, L.A.; Davies-Coleman, M.T.; Rivett, D.E.A.  "5,6-dihydro- a-pyrones from Syncolostemon argenteus"  Phytochemistry, 48, 1998, 651-656.
  19. Collett, L.A.; Davies-Coleman, M.T.; Rivett, D.E.A.  "Naturally occurring 6-substituted-5,6-dihydro- a-pyrones"  Fortschr. Chem. Organ. Naturstoffe, 75, 1998, 181-209.
  20. Collett, L.A.; Brown, M.E.  "Biochemical and Biological Applications of Thermal Analysis"  J. Thermal Analysis, 51, 1998, 693-726.
  21. Collett, L.A.; Davies-Coleman, M.T.; Rivett, D.E.A.; Drewes, S.E.; Horn, M.M. "Absolute configuration of a-pyrones from Cryptocarya latifolia and Syncolostemon densiflorus"  Phytochemistry, 44, 1997, 935-938.
- Author Lynne Pilcher
Published by Anita Botha

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