Lynne Pilcher

Prof LA Pilcher

Tel:             +27 (0)12-420-5384

Email:         [email protected]

Office:        Room 1-35 Chemistry Bld

Position:     Associate Professor

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

NRF rating:   C2



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, 151, 284, 708 and 709


In 2019 Lynne Pilcher was recognized as the best lecturer in the physical sciences cluster; in 2017, she was awarded the SACI Chemistry Education medal; and in 2014 she received the prestigious UP 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. 

Research Interests

Lynne Pilcher is leading tertiary chemistry education research projects.  Current projects include (1) self-regulated learning in first-year chemistry in the online environment and (2) incorporating systems thinking in Chemistry education with a focus on organic chemistry.  These projects build on ongoing projects in the use of blended learning in first- and second-year organic chemistry.

As an established researcher in synthetic organic chemistry, Lynne Pilcher’s education research builds on an understanding of what is required of a skilled organic chemist. She is still involved in the supervision of projects in organic synthesis for solving biological problems.  Lynne Pilcher’s research is not limited to a particular class of organic compounds and as new target molecules were identified the relevant practicalities of doing chemistry with a new class of compounds had 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 for her current research in tertiary chemistry education.

Organic chemistry projects have included (1) the synthesis of mycolic acids – the wax esters from the cell wall of M.Tb – in collaboration with Verschoor (Biochemistry) to develop TB diagnostics, (2) the synthesis and mechanistic studies on the reactions of purine compounds with a view to elucidating the role of adenine in kinase reaction mechanisms and (3) the improvement of existing TB, HIV and Malaria drugs through nanomedicine in collaboration with Balogun (CSIR).

Please visit our Tertiary Chemistry Education research group website.

Publications and Conference Presentations


Journal Articles in Chemistry Education

  1. Reynders, M.; Pilcher, L. A.; Potgieter, M. “Teaching and assessing systems thinking in first-year organic chemistry” J. Chem. Educ. 2023, 100, 3, 1357–1365, DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.2c00891
  2. Pilcher, L. A.; Potgieter, M.; Fletcher, L. “Blending online homework and large class tutorials to provide learning support for introductory organic chemistry.” African Journal for Research in Science Mathematics and Technology Education, 2023, DOI: 10.1080/18117295.2022.2155771 (IF: 0.7)
  3. Pilcher, L. A. “Embedding systems thinking in tertiary chemistry for sustainability” Physical Science Reviews, 2022,  (IS: 1.5)
  4. Tekane, R.; Pilcher, L. A.; Potgieter, M. “Blended learning in a second year organic chemistry class: students’ perceptions and preferences of the learning support.” Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2020, 21, 24-36. DOI: 10.1039/c9rp00099b. (IF 3.3)
  5. 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
  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.

Keynote/Plenary Conference presentations in Chemistry Education

  1. Opening plenary presentation at the Tunisian Chemistry Conference Contribution December 2022, Monastir, Tunisia “Systems thinking in tertiary chemistry for sustainable development.”
  2. Invited lecture at the IUPAC International Conference on Chemistry Education in July 2022, Cape Town. “A journey in embedding systems thinking in tertiary chemistry”
  3. Plenary Award lecture at the 43rd SACI National Convention, Pretoria, December 2018 “Blended Learning: Contrasting the influence of online and face-to-face tutorials in organic chemistry”


Selected recent articles with applied synthetic organic chemistry

  1. Matshe, W. M. R.; Tshweu, L. L.; Mvango, S.; Cele, Z. E. D.; Chetty,A. S.;  Pilcher, L. A.; Famuyide, I. M.; McGaw, L. J.; Taylor, D.; Gibhard, L.; Basarab, G. S.; Balogun, M. O.* “A Water-Soluble Polymer-Lumefantrine Conjugate for the Intravenous Treatment of Severe Malaria” Macromolecular Bioscience, 2023. (IF 5.8).
  2. Buyens, D. M. S.; Pilcher, L. A.; Cukrowski, I. “Coordination Sites for Sodium and Potassium Ions in Nucleophilic Adeninate Contact ion-Pairs: A Molecular-Wide and Electron Density-Based (MOWED) Perspective” Molecules, 2022, 27, 6111. (IF 4.9)
  3. Kabwe, K. P.; Nsibanda, S. A.; Lemmer, Y.; Pilcher, L. A.; Forbes, P. B. C. “Synthesis and characterisation of quantum dots coupled to mycolic acids as a water-soluble fluorescent probe for potential lateral flow detection of antibodies and diagnosis of tuberculosis” Luminescence, 2022, 37(2), 278-289.  (IF 2.5)
  4. Buyens, D. M. S.; Pilcher, L. A.; Roduner, E. “Towards a Molecular Understanding of Cation-Anion Interactions and Self-aggregation of Adeninate Salts in DMSO by NMR and UV Spectroscopy and Crystallography” ChemPhysChem, 2021, 22, pp. 2025-2033. (IF 3.1)
  5. Fru *, P. N.; Nweke, E.; Mthimkhulu, N.; Mvango, S; Nel, M.; Pilcher, L.A.; Balogun M.O. “Anti-Cancer and Immunomodulatory Activity of a Polyethylene Glycol-Betulinic Acid Conjugate on Pancreatic Cancer Cells” Life, 2021, 11(6), 462. (IF 3.0)
  6. Khazir, J.; Mir, B.A.; Chashoo, G.; Pilcher L.A.; Riley, D. Synthesis and anti-cancer activity of N-9- and N-7- substituted 1,2,3-triazole analogues of 2,6-di-substituted purine.  Medicinal Chemistry Research 2020, 29(1), 33-45. (IF 2.0)
  7. Tshweu, L.L.; Shemis, M.A.; Abdelghany, A.; Gouda, A.; Pilcher, L.A.; Sibuyi, N.R.S.; Meyer, M.; Dube, A.; Balogun, M.O. “Synthesis, physicochemical characterization, toxicity and efficacy of a PEG conjugate and a hybrid PEG conjugate nanoparticle formulation of the antibiotic moxifloxacin” RSC Advances, 2020, 10, 19770. (IF 3.4)
  8. Khazir, J.; Mir, B.A.; Chashoo, G.; Maqbool, T.; Riley, D.; Pilcher L. “Design, Synthesis and anticancer evaluation of Acetamide and Hydrazine analogues of Pyrimidine” J. Heterocyclic. Chem. 2020, 57(3), 1306-1318. (IF 0.8)
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
- Author Lynne Pilcher

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