Gizelle van Niekerk (MSc student of Prof Langmi) recently attended the 14th Green Chemistry Postgraduate Summer School (GCPSS) in Venice, Italy together with other notable contributors from IUPAC, UNESCO, IYCN, SASOL and Yale.

Micke Reynders was the MSc winner of the UP Postgrad Research Day (VYT) competition. Congrats Micke! She will represent UP virtually in the international competition.  Please support by watching and sharing her 1-minute video:

Dr Frikkie Malan and Shalene Bothma (PhD student of Prof Rademeyer) recently attended and contributed to the 44th International Conference on Coordination Chemistry held in Rimini, Italy (28 Aug - 02 Sept). A wide range of topics was covered in 7 parallel sessions!

Professor Patricia Forbes was elected as the International Local Section Representative on Member Networks Committee, for the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Dr Parveen Beebeejaun-Boodoo won one of two awards for the best presentations for VCCA-2022.

Prof Henrietta Langmi receives prestigeous award

Prof. Henrietta Langmi was awarded a highly prestigious grant from Horizon Europe. The Horizon Europe funding scheme is the EU's key funding programme for research and innovation. 

Prof. Langmi is part of a 13-member consortium of partners from six countries; specifically, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, the United Kingdom, and South Africa. The consortium received a perfect score of 15 out of 15 from all the evaluators, and the project is set to run from 2022 – 2026 (4 years). Prof. Langmi was awarded an impressive R 3.3 million for her crucial role in the project which will focus on the lab-scale development of MOF materials for hydrogen storage. 

Future Professors Programme

Dr Nolwazi Nombona as one of only five candidates selected by UP for the  DHET Future Professors programme.

Honours students shine

The Honours class of 2022 recently showcased some of the research conducted during the first semester during the Honours Project Presentations. Topics from most divisions in chemistry were included. Well done to you all!

Making light work

A UP-led team is using the momentum of light to trap particles. This optical trap has been used with collaborators to demonstrate a hidden property in light that remains unchanged even when it passes through turbulence. More: @NaturePhotonics (Forbes group)

Air Quality

Professor Patricia Forbes was appointment by Minister Barbara Creecy of The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, as a member of a panel of experts to review national air quality standards.

Repository of natural products

The Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (NAS) at the University of Pretoria is at the forefront of biodiscovery research, allocating R26m in funding from the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) to create a library of natural products.

According to Professor Vinesh Maharaj, Deputy Dean: Research and Postgraduate Education and leader of this project, the DSI funding will be used to create a library of natural products in Africa and significant progress has been made with equipment having been installed.

“Due to its geographical position, South Africa is reported to be the third most diverse country globally. Approximately 10% of the world’s known species and 15% of known coastal and marine species are found in South Africa. This presents a unique resource for discovering novel natural ingredients for the pharmaceutical, food and cosmetic industries. However, due to the diversity of the genetic resources, a systematic study of this can only be done by creating natural product libraries that are ready for high throughput screening campaigns, which are now at the forefront of the pharmaceutical industry in the search for new medicines.”

The DSI is funding creating a unique repository of natural products as part of the NAS Biodiscovery research housed in the Department of Chemistry. Read more here.

The kickstart workshop on CO2 conversion to value chemicals takes place on 8 April 2019 at the Furture Africa campus. This is a South Africa / France Science and Technology Research Collaboration  project (Protea). Read more here.

Professor Egmont Rohwer, who heads the University of Pretoria’s (UP) Mass Spectrometry and Chromatography Laboratory in the Department of Chemistry, was recently awarded the prestigious Georg Forster award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany. Read more here.

PhD candidate Madelien Wooding is among a group of 14 women who were awarded fellowships by the L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Regional Programme. She received a research grant at a ceremony in Nairobi attended by representatives of public authorities and UNESCO, scientists, academics, intellectuals, thought leaders and organisations promoting gender equality. The title of her project is "Chemical communication between the malaria carrying mosquito, anopheles arabiensis, and its human host". Read more here.

Prof. Patricia Forbes presented a plenary lecture at the International Symposium on Luminescence Spectroscopy conference in Brest, 19 – 22 June 2018, entitled “Quantum dot based photonic sensor materials for emerging chemical pollutants in water”. 

Prof. Marile Landman presented an RSC sponsored, invited lecture at the International Conference on Pure and Applied Chemistry in Mauritius, 2 – 6 July.

At the International Conference on Organometallic Chemistry, which is taking place in Florence, Italy, from 15 – 20 July, Prof. Marile Landman will present an oral lecture, while Prof. Peet van Rooyen, Dr Frikkie Malan and Dr Roan Fraser will present posters.

Spring School on Solar Energy and Photosynthesis

The Departments of Physics, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Genetics & Microbiology are hosting a multidisciplinary spring school on solar energy and photosynthesis at the University of Pretoria during the October recess (1 – 5 October 2018).

For more information click here.

Going with the flow in pharmaceutical manufacturing

Nicole Neyt, a PhD student in the Riley Research Group, housed in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Pretoria (UP), recently won the first prize in the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)’s Twitter poster conference, in the category of engineering, for her work in flow chemistry. Read more here.

UP-SUNCOI community project

The UP-SUNCOI (University of Pretoria-Stellenbosch University Community Outreach Initiative) project was launched on 26 May 2018. This project is a joint initiative between the University of Pretoria and Stellenbosch University. This project was piloted this year with the intent of becoming a compulsory component of the Chemistry Honours programme in future.  On 26 May 2018, 79 Gr. 11 and 18 Gr. 12 school pupils from the Prosperitus Secondary School in Eersterust attended this event held in the laboratories on the Groenkloof Campus. Read more here.

New collaboration agreement signed

A new collaboration agreement was signed between the University of Würzburg, the NGO Förderverein Uni Kinshasa, and the University of Pretoria. The Excellence Scholarship Program BEBUC aims at raising a new generation of excellent young professors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Read more here.

Dr Dan Molefe was invited to present his research at the Chemistry Department of the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University on the 06th March 2018. The topic of his presentation was: “Heat stabilizing flexible PVC with layered double hydroxide derivatives.”

Prof Patricia Forbes presented a plenary guest lecture at the 2018 SACI Postgraduate Colloquium on 2 February 2018 at the Durban University of Technology in Durban with the title “The sample preparation conundrum”,

During the period of January 2018 to August 2018, Dr Roan Fraser will be completing a portion of his post-doctoral research at the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague. He is currently conducting research on the synthesis and application of Fischer carbene complexes and, in collaboration with Dr Werner Cordier from the Department of Pharmacology, exploring the bioinorganic properties these complexes exhibit. The complexes are already displaying activity and selectivity against the MCF-7 breast cancer cell line. 

Nick de Beer was recognised as Best First-year Lecturer in NAS by NAThouse. He received his reward during the Dean’s breakfast on 1 December 2017. Read more here.

The combined Departmental Teaching and Research Indaba, took place on 6 November 2017. It was a day filled with sharing of experiences and ideas as well as planning for the next academic year.

Inauguration - Prof Vinesh Maharaj

Professor Vinesh Maharaj gave his inaugural address as HOD of Chemistry on 25 October 2017 in the Senate Hall. The event was attended by the Prof Stephanie Burton and Prof Jean Lebuma.

The title of the address was ““Natural Product Chemistry - The key to unlocking natural treasures through Bioprospecting”. 

Christine Mundy presented a lecture on “Cognitive Load Theory: Changing how we think about thinking” at SCIBER space in NAS on 13 October 2017.

- Author Anita Botha

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