Danie Pienaar

Dr DP Pienaar

Telephone     +27 (0)12 420-5442

Email             [email protected]

Office            NS1 4-50
Position        Senior Lecturer
Academic qualifications:    PhD (Organic Chemistry, Wits), BSc (Biochemistry, UP)


Undergraduate: Organic Chemistry

Postgraduate: Chemo-Enzymatic Synthesis, Green Organic Chemistry, Biocatalysis

Modules: CMY127, CMY154, CMY215, CMY284, BSc (Hons) projects

Research interests

Having spent over a decade working in industry as a Research Scientist in modern Organic/Polymer Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology companies, through extensive experience gained in S/M and large enterprises, my academic research activities remain focussed on doing applied, cross-disciplinary work in the fields of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry. Of particular interest is the development of greener organic synthesis procedures which, when combined with highly efficient biotransformations, can result in more environmentally friendly, sustainable processes/practices for the manufacture of  important Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients and value added products, in general.

Selected publications

Journal articles

Grill, B.; Glänzer, M.; Schwab, H.; Steiner, K.; Pienaar, D.; Brady, D.; Donsbach, K.; Winkler, M.; “Functional Expression and Characterization of a Panel of Cobalt- and Iron-dependent Nitrile Hydratases”; Molecules 2020, 25, 2521.

Pienaar, D. P.; Butsi, K. R.; Rousseau, A. L.; Brady, D.; “A green, economical synthesis of β-ketonitriles and trifunctionalized building blocks from esters and lactones”; Beilstein J. Org. Chem. 2019, 15, 2930.

Pienaar, D. P.; “Value added products from renewable esters and lactones by implementing green chemistry and biocatalysis”; Trends in Green Chem. 2018, 4, 30.

Pienaar, D. P.; Khorasani, S.; de Koning, C. B.; Michael, J. P.; “(±)-3-Benzyloxy-1-(4-methoxybenzyl)-piperidine-2-thione”; Acta Cryst. 2013, E69, o21.

Pienaar, D. P.; Khorasani, S.; de Koning, C. B.; Michael, J. P.; “3-Hydroxy-1-(4-methoxybenzyl)-

piperidin-2-one”; Acta Cryst. 2013, E69, o51.

Pienaar, D. P.; Mitra, R. K.; van Deventer, T. I.; Botes, A. L.; “Synthesis of a variety of optically active hydroxylated heterocyclic compounds using epoxide hydrolase technology”; Tetrahedron Lett. 2008, 49, 6752.

Botes, A.; Mitra, R.; Pienaar, D.; “Epoxide hydrolases: Process applications”; Innovations in Pharmaceutical Technology, 19 April 2007, 90.

Lemmerer, A.; Michael, J. P.; Pienaar, D. P.; Sannasy, D.; “(2E)-2-(1-Methylpiperidin-2-ylidene)-1-phenylethanone”; Acta Cryst. 2007, E63, 98.

Michael, J. P.; de Koning, C. B.; Pienaar, D. P.; “A Versatile Synthesis of (±)-Deoxyfebrifugine, an Antimalarial Alkaloid Analogue, and Related Compounds”; Synlett 2006, 383.

Pienaar, D. P.; Modro, A. M.; Modro, T. A.; “1-Oxo-2,8-diaryl-2,5,8-triaza-1λ5-phosphabicyclo[3.3.0]octanes as Substrates for the Preparation of Bis(2-arylaminoethyl)amines”; Synthesis 2000, 1315.

Recent Conferences

21st Edition of International Conference on Green Chemistry and Technology (Edinburgh, Scotland, November 2018).

Green Chemistry Conference & UNIDO - Global Chemical Leasing Award (Vienna, Austria, November 2018).


Pienaar, D. P.; Brady, D.; Maboya, J. T.; “Enantioselective methods for preparing pharmaceutical intermediates” - South African Patent Application No. 2022/03797 – University of the Witwatersrand (2022).

Pienaar, D. P.; “Greener methods for the enantioselective chemoenzymatic synthesis of duloxetine and analogues” –Provisional 2021/03408 P1 – University of the Witwatersrand (2021).

Pienaar, D. P.; Conradie, A. V.; “Methods for producing alkenes and derivatives thereof” –WO2016164812 A1 - Patent – Invista Textiles (2016).

Academic Collaborations

University of the Witwatersrand, Schools of Chemistry, Molecular & Cell Biology, and Pharmacy, South Africa.

University of Manchester, Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, United Kingdom.

Technische Universität Graz, Institute of Biotechnology, Austria.

- Author Dr DP Pienaar

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