Research Focus Areas

Cellular Physiology


Cancer Cellular Physiology:

The microtubule cytoskeleton, as well as carbonic anhydrase IX (overexpressed in a variety of tumors) represent highly validated anticancer targets. Since the field of anticancer drug design is rapidly evolving with new developments constantly being described internationally, our research focus is placed on the a) in silico design of potential anticancer agents targeting both the microtubule cytoskeleton and carbonic anhydrase IX, b) the chemical synthesis thereof in liaison with a pharmaceutical company and 3) their evaluation for improvement of anticancer treatment. The basis of research is focused at improving treatment systems to enable anticancer drugs to only affect cancer cells and at low dosages with less frequent treatment intervals for potential use in anticancer therapy with possible diagnostic and/or prognostic value.


Cellular Bone Research

The Cellular Bone Research group is focused on discovering novel components present in food stuffs that may be developed as nutraceuticals for the treatment of degenerative bone diseases such as osteoporosis. Nutraceuticals may offer a cost effective alternative to reduce drug dependency. We have tested the effects of several naturally occurring compounds, such as fatty acids, phytoestrogens, plant-derived small molecules, etc., on osteoclast and osteoblast cell lines in vitro, to elucidate whether these compounds have bone protective effects and what mechanisms of action they use to elicit these effects. 


Ultrastructural Morphology

The focus of the applied morphology research group is to study vascular complications specifically coagulation abnormalities in acute and chronic diseases. We use specialised techniques to investigate the biophysical as well as the biochemical changes in conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and prostate cancer.


Molecular mechanisms of non-communicable diseases

The aim of our research is aligned with the national guidelines for science and technology which emphasizes the need for basic science research to be integrated with applied sciences that will ultimately benefit the well-being of South Africans. Hence, we are creating a database of prevalence data related to single nucleotide changes in genes involved in pathological processes and genes associated with higher susceptibility to NCDs. In addition, we evaluate epigenetic changes, specifically microRNA levels as potential biomarkers in NCDs. The ultimate goal is to contribute to biomedical technological advancement and its application in the clinical setting, to improve diagnostics and enhance treatment strategies and improve prognosis.


Metabolic Disorders

Consumption of high-energy diets has been implicated in the increasing global prevalence of metabolic syndrome. Interventions during periods of developmental plasticity can cause epigenetic changes which program metabolism for positive or negative health benefits later in life. Conventional pharmacological agents tend to be monotherapeutic and inaccessible to a significant proportion of the populace. Phytochemicals from medicinal plants are considered as a natural and safe intervention with a lot of potential in the fight against the public health burden of metabolic disorders that are impacting significantly on the health systems globally. The Metabolic Disorders Research group focuses on the potential therapeutic or prophylactic efficacy of phytochemical compounds against the development of high-energy diet-induced metabolic dysfunction. Using neonatal and adult animal experimental models, we test the potential of a variety of phytochemicals to ameliorate the development of metabolic disorders including diabetes mellitus, oxidative stress, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and dyslipidaemia.


Exercise and Sport

Research concerns selected aspects of sport, exercise, fitness and wellness that include development of specific biometric abilities, fitness testing and monitoring, injury prevention, nutrition and nutritional supplementation, management.


Focus areas:

  • Student-athlete monitoring of health, well-being, and sports performance.
  • Activity, fitness and pain levels of the aging populations
  • Employee Well-being, Wellness, and Physical Activity
  • Performance improvement and interventions
  • Functional Anatomy
  • Sports Injuries
  • Exercise guidelines, prescription, and exercise testing in patients with rheumatological diseases
  • Doping in sport
  • Fluid replacement during activity
  • The influence of activity and exercise on pregnancy
  • Fitness and activity levels of the Elderly
  • The epidemiology and associated risk factors for injuries in endurance athletes
  • Medical encounters in endurance sports such as running and cycling



The Neuroscience Research Group brings together researchers, clinicians and students in an exciting and complex field that focuses on various aspects of the central nervous system. The group is characterized by its rich diversity and interdisciplinary nature, and aims to focus on translational research which bridges the laboratory to the clinic.

The group is made up of researchers and clinicians whose passion is the pursuit of a greater understanding of the mysteries of the human brain. We invite students and staff working in the neurosciences to join us in our goal to produce multidisciplinary research of an international standard on various aspects of basic and applied neuroscience.


The group aims to:

  • produce multidisciplinary research of an international standard on various aspects of basic and applied neuroscience 
  • provide professional neuroscience services to the private and public sectors as well as individuals 
  • contribute to high-quality education and training of the private and public sector, graduate students and professionals in the field of neuroscience

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