Speakers

CharlesDeKoning

Charles de Koning

Organic / Synthetic Chemistry

Biography

Professor De Koning obtained his PhD at the University of Cape Town in 1988. After two postdoctorates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Hawaii, he moved to the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He is currently professor of Organic Chemistry at this university. His research interests lie in the synthesis of nitrogen- and oxygen-containing heterocycles. In 2007, the journal Nature awarded him the Nature Mid-career Creative Mentoring Award, and in 2015, he received the inaugural Faculty of Science Supervisors Award.

Session

TITLE: New synthetic methods for the assembly of oxygen- and nitrogen-containing heterocycles
DATE: 28 August 2016
TIME: 15:40

HaggaSchmalz

Hagga Schmalz

Organic / Synthetic Chemistry

Biography

Professor Schmalz is a professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Cologne, Germany. His research group is interested in the synthesis of complex and – in most cases – bioactive organic compounds. These are often natural products, derived analogues or organometallic compounds. In addition, research topics such as asymmetric metal catalysis, macromolecular chemistry and the development of convenient and creative synthetic methodologies are also undertaken.

Session

TITLE: Biology-driven synthesis of natural products and designed non-natural molecules
DATE: 29 August 2016
TIME: 8:30

WillemVanOtterlo

Willem van Otterlo

Organic / Synthetic Chemistry

Biography

Professor Van Otterlo was born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, educated in Southern Africa and graduated with a PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. After a postdoctoral fellowship in Canada, he returned to the University of the Witwatersrand to take up a lectureship position. He currently holds the Chair of Organic Chemistry at Stellenbosch University, South Africa.

Session

TITLE: Molecular LEGO – using click chemistry to find new kinase inhibitors
DATE: 29 August 2016
TIME: 9:40

RajeshKumarThimmulappa

Rajesh Kumar Thimmulappa

Natural Products

Biography

Dr Thimmulappa is an associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the JSS Medical College in Mysore, India. After completing his PhD in India, he joined Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, as a postdoctoral fellow. He continued to work there for the next 15 years. His major research interest is delineating adaptive cellular responses to environmental stressors (such as air pollutants) to understand their role in disease pathogenesis, as well as developing therapeutics (phytochemicals) to mitigate disease progression, especially chronic respiratory diseases.

Session

TITLE: Targeting Nrf2 signalling by dietary phytochemicals: promising approach for preventing environmental lung diseases
DATE: 29 August 2016
TIME: 10:45

MoiraBode

Moira Bode

Organic / Synthetic Chemistry

Biography

Dr Bode completed a PhD in Organic Chemistry at Rhodes University, South Africa, under the supervision of Professor Perry T Kaye. She undertook a postdoctoral study year at the Technical University Delft, The Netherlands, with Professor Roger Sheldon in the area of biocatalysis. She subsequently worked in small molecule drug discovery at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa before moving to the School of Chemistry at the University of the Witwatersrand in 2011. Her main research interest is the design and synthesis of compounds with activity against HIV.

Session

TITLE: Synthesis and biological activity of compounds acting against HIV-1 reverse transcriptase and protease
DATE: 29 August 2016
TIME: 11:20

BeritSmestadPaulsen

Berit Smestad Paulsen

Pharmocognosy

Biography

In her research, Professor Paulsen has been occupied with various aspects of natural products, both from terrestrial plants, lichen, algae (fresh and salt water) and fungi. A major thrust of her research has been related to the study of medicinal plants. This includes the traditional use of plants (ethnopharmacology), as well as their bioactive compound content and effects. The main focus has been on bioactive pectic substances from plants. More recently, her focus has been on medicinal plants from Mali and South Africa. Her ethnopharmacological and bioactivity studies have been focused on wound healing, malaria, schistosomiasis and diabetes.

Session

TITLE: Bioactive polysaccharides from Malian medicinal plants
DATE: 29 August 2016
TIME: 13:00

AmandaRousseau

Amanda Rousseau

Organic / Synthetic Chemistry

Biography

Dr Rousseau is a senior lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Her research focuses on the design and synthesis of compounds with the potential to display anti-malarial activity. Her recent work has focused on the use of kinase inhibitors to prevent malaria transmission, with a particular emphasis on the use of the parasite’s arsenal of enzymes to synthesise potent anti-folates from advanced precursors in situ. Another area of interest is the use of multi-component coupling reactions to synthesise complex molecules in a single transformation. This strategy is currently being employed in the synthesis of spiroindolones as potential antimalarial agents.

Session

TITLE: Small molecule inhibitors of Plasmodium falciparum
DATE: 29 August 2016
TIME: 13:35

FanieVanHeerden

Fanie van Heerden

Natural Products

Biography

Professor Van Heerden is the holder of the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) Chair of Chemistry of Indigenous Medicinal Plants at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Her research group places special emphasis on activities related to diseases of importance in South Africa, such as malaria, tuberculosis and diabetes, and the development of synthetic methodology for the preparation of biologically active compounds isolated from South African plants or their analogues.

Session

TITLE: South African plants as a potential source of anti-HIV compounds
DATE: 29 August 2016
TIME: 14:10

WilliamJorgensen

William Jorgensen

Computational Chemistry

Biography

Professor Jorgensen is the Sterling Professor of Chemistry at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA, and editor of the Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation. He has combined quantum, statistical and molecular mechanics to model chemistry in solution, including organic and enzymatic reactions and protein-ligand binding. His optimised potential for liquid simulations (OPLS) force fields and TIPnP water models are widely used. His research group is also actively engaged in de novo drug design and synthesis, particularly for anti-infective, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory agents. Free-energy perturbation calculations are at the heart of the group’s abilities for efficient lead optimisation. Among other achievements, he is a member of the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and United States National Academy of Sciences. He received the Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity in Organic Chemistry in 2015.

Session

TITLE: Computer-aided design of potent inhibitors of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase and CXCR4
DATE: 30 August 2016
TIME: 8:30

JustinOmolo

Justin Omolo

Organic / Synthetic Chemistry

Biography

Dr Omolo obtained his PhD in Organic Chemistry at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, in December 2011. He currently works as an organic chemist and principal research scientist at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) in Tanzania. His research interests are in organic chemistry, both phytochemistry (natural products) and synthesis. He is currently carrying out the isolation and synthesis of bioactive secondary metabolites from Tanzanian medicinal plants. He is interested in their antimicrobial, anti-HIV and anti-cancer activities.

Session

TITLE: Plants used by Tanzanian traditional healers for HIV treatment and other opportunistic infections
DATE: 30 August 2016
TIME: 10:45

BenjaminKumwenda

Benjamin Kumwenda

Bioinformatics

Biography

Dr Kumwenda is a lecturer at the University of Malawi’s College of Medicine in Blantyre, Malawi. He completed a PhD in Bioinformatics at the University of Pretoria, South Africa in April 2014. He is currently a United Kingdom Medical Research Council African Research Excellence Fund (MRC-AREF) postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Liverpool. Prior to this, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust’s H3ABionet project for two years. His research interests include the development of robust bioinformatics algorithms and understanding antimicrobial resistance in human pathogens, specifically salmonella. He is also interested in genome-wide association study (GWAS) and next-generation sequencing (NGS) to understand host-pathogen interactions and disease susceptibility.

Session

TITLE: The Malawi online natural products database for scientific research/Transcriptomics analysis of multi-drug-resistant Salmonella Typhimurium
DATE: 30 August 2016
TIME: 11:15

DavisMumbengegwi

Davis Mumbengegwi

Natural Products

Biography

Dr Davis Mumbengegwi leads the Drug Discovery and Development Programme at the University of Namibia Medical Research Council (UNAM-MRC). He focuses on the documentation and validation of medicinal plants, identifying and developing novel therapeutic agents for malaria, cancer, diabetes and diarrhoea, and developing drug delivery formulations. He holds a PhD (Pharmaceutical Sciences) from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom.

Session

TITLE: Valorisation of Namibian indigenous plants
DATE: 30 August 2016
TIME: 11:45

JiojiTabudravu

Jioji Tabudravu

Marine Natural Products

Biography

Dr Tabudravu is a research fellow at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, where he obtained a PhD in Marine Natural Products Chemistry in 2001. He completed his BSc in Chemistry/Biology and a master’s degree in Analytical Organic Chemistry at the University of the South Pacific, Fiji. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the South Pacific Distilleries Prize for best MSc thesis, the John Gibbons Gold Medal in Biology and the Ajax Chemicals Prize in Chemistry. He has also published articles in a number of reputable publications.

Session

TITLE: Extreme drug discovery: Exploring chemical diversity from the deepest, coldest and driest places on earth
DATE: 30 August 2016
TIME: 13:20

OlegReva

Oleg Reva

Bioinformatics

Biography

Professor Reva received his PhD from the DK Zabolotny Institute of Microbiology and Virology in Kiev, Ukraine, in 1995 at the age of 25. He completed a postdoctoral study on bioinformatics at the Medical High School of Hanover in Germany between 2002 and 2004. He is currently an associate professor in Bioinformatics at the Centre for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. He is interested in bacterial genomics, genetic barcoding and molecular docking in biotechnology and medicine. He has published 77 papers and six chapters in books that have been cited approximately 1 500 times. He has an H-index of 20 and a C2 rating from the National Research Foundation (NRF) in South Africa.

Session

TITLE: Genomic insight into biotechnological strains of Bacillus used for plant growth promotion and biocontrol
DATE: 31 August 2016
TIME: 08:30

IanDubery

Ian Dubery

Metabolomics

Biography

Professor Dubery is a research professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. He obtained his PhD degree at the erstwhile Rand Afrikaans University (RAU) and worked as a visiting scientist at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California, USA, the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding in Cologne, Germany, and the Centre for Plant Molecular Biology at the University of Tübingen in Germany. His research focuses on molecular plant-microbe interactions, innate immunity and inducible defence responses in plants, where he uses complementary transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic approaches. He is an internationally recognised scholar. He has published more than 100 authoritative research papers in international journals, and has a B2 rating form the NRF in South Africa.

Session

TITLE: How plants use natural products to defend themselves: a look at the phytoanticipins and phytoalexins of Arabidopsis thaliana
DATE: 31 August 2016
TIME: 09:40

NamritaLall

Namrita Lall

Natural Products

Biography

Professor Lall completed her PhD at the University of Pretoria in 2001. She is currently a professor of Medicinal Plant Science at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Her main research interests include anti-tuberculosis natural product leads from medicinal plants, susceptibility studies of other bacteria to medicinal plants, the cytotoxicity of plant extracts/compounds, the anti-cancer activity of medicinal plants, the anti-tyrosinase (skin pigmentation, skin lightening) activity of plants, and the isolation and purification of bioactive principles from plants. She currently supervises 14 postgraduate students and has published 75 papers in peer-reviewed journals. She has registered one USA patent and five South African patents.

Session

TITLE: Natural skin-care with South African plants
DATE: 31 August 2016
TIME: 11:55

TillOpatz

Till Opatz

Organic / Synthetic Chemistry

Biography

Professor Opatz studied Chemistry in Frankfurt, Germany, and finished his diploma under the supervision of Johann Mulzer in 1997. In 2001, he obtained his PhD under the supervision of Horst Kunz in Mainz, Germany. After completing a postdoctoral study with Rob Liskamp in Utrecht, The Netherlands, he started conducting independent research in Mainz in 2002, which led to his habilitation in 2006. In 2007, he became an associate professor in Hamburg, Germany, and then full professor in Mainz in 2010. His main research interests include method development, as well as the synthesis and structure elucidation of bioactive natural products.

Session

TITLE: A passion for nitrogen: New α-functionalisations of amines
DATE: 31 August 2016
TIME: 14:05

QuintinoMgani

Quintino Mgani

Organic / Synthetic Chemistry

Biography

Dr Mgani is a Chemistry lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. His research interests are natural product chemistry and phytochemical studies. His natural product research focuses on the design and synthesis of natural products with interesting biomedical, agrochemical and industrial applications. His phytochemical studies focus on the investigation of plants for medicinal and/or agricultural use, by the identification of the active components by extraction, isolation and structure elucidation, as well as testing for biological activities. Dr Mgani’s recent synthetic work has focused on value addition to cashew nut shells, an abundant agro-waste from the cashew nut industry in Tanzania.

Session

TITLE: Waste to Wealth: The story of cashew nut shells
DATE: 28 August 2016
TIME: 16:50

PeterGolyshin

Peter Golyshin

Bioinformatics

Biography

Professor Golyshin is a professor at the School of Biological Sciences at Bangor University in Wales and the incumbent of the Chair in Environmental Genomics at the same institution. He obtained a master’s degree in Soil Science and Agriculture at Lomonosov Moscow State University in 1987 and a PhD in Microbiology in 1991. He is a member of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) in the USA and the Society for General Microbiology (SGM) in the UK. His research interests include microbial genetics, microbial physiology, extremophilic Archaea and functional (meta)genomics for mining novel enzymatic diversity. He holds patents for transgenic organisms with lower growth temperature, cellulases from rumen and acidic enzymes from ferroplasma, among other things. He is also the recipient of research grants from six different organisations.

Session

TITLE: Mining new enzymes using activity-centered metagenomics
DATE: 31 August 2016
TIME: 09:05

VineshMaharaj

Vinesh Maharaj

Natural Products

Biography

Professor Maharaj is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pretoria and is leading the establishment of a Bioprospecting Centre at the University. Prior to this, he headed the Natural Product and Agroprocessing Platform at CSIR Biosciences. His major areas of expertise include natural product chemistry, the biological evaluation of extracts, and the isolation and structure elucidation of compounds. He has been involved in collaborative programmes with holders of indigenous knowledge. He also played an important role in developing the technology behind a novel appetite suppressant from the Hoodia plant, identifying an artificial sweetener and negotiating licensing agreements with multinational companies. He recently developed and commercialised a novel mosquito repellent in South Africa and established a community-owned business for the cultivation, processing and manufacture of the product from the indigenous plant.

Session

TITLE: Interfacing Natural Product Chemistry and Biology for the discovery of new drug and herbal products
DATE: 28 August 2016
TIME: 16:15

DashnieNaidoo

Dashnie Naidoo

Natural Products

Biography

Dr Naidoo completed her PhD in Natural Products Chemistry at the University of Natal in 2003. Her research entailed the isolation and structure elucidation of chemically diverse compounds from plants. She was also involved in the biological screening of chemical compounds at the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands. In 2004, she started investigating new routes for the synthesis of biologically active natural products at Ghent University, Belgium. In 2005, she joined the CSIR to study the development and validation of rapid screening tools and the discovery of drug candidates from medicinal plants. She is a member of the National Cosmeceuticals Consortium set up by the Bioprospecting and Product Development Platform of the Department of Science and Technology’s Indigenous Knowledge System.

Session

TITLE: Value addition to Africa’s biological resources through science
DATE: 31 August 2016
TIME: 13:30

JornKalinowski

Jörn Kalinowski

Bioinformatics

Biography

Prof Kalinowski heads the Technology Platform Genomics (TPG) research group at the Center for Biotechnology (CeBiTec) at Bielefeld University in Bielefeld, Germany. The focus of the research group is to support genome and post-genome research by high-throughput technologies. The research group performs research in the field of genomics and post-genomic techniques, such as transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics. Although genome sequencing allows one to derive the parts lists of all cellular functions, it is unable to provide much information on networks and systems. By integrating dynamic data on gene expression, preferably transcriptome information, these networks can therefore be defined more easily. The development and use of defined mutants and biochemical analyses further add to descriptions of systems and networks, as well as their interactions.

Session

TITLE: Transcriptome sequencing for deciphering transcriptional regulatory networks in actinobacteria
DATE: 29 August 2016
TIME: 9:05

MauriceMonjerezi

Maurice Monjerezi

Natural Products

Biography

Dr Monjerezi is an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry at Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi. He is currently Node Coordinator for the Carnegie-funded SABINA network. His research interests are in the application of chemical principles for the sustainable valorisation of indigenous resources, with a focus on food and natural products chemistry.

Session

TITLE: Revitalising natural products research in Malawi – recent steps and studies
DATE: 30 August 2016
TIME: 14:30

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