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Workshop to launch newly-initiated nanotechnology platform

2014/08/26 10:00:19 AM

The School of Chemistry and Physics in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science recently held a workshop

Workshop to Launch Newly-Initiated Nanotechnology Platform

                                           Attendees at the Nanotechnology Workshop.

The School of Chemistry and Physics in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science recently held a workshop as part of the newly initiated Nanotechnology Platform.

The Nanotechnology Platform Workshop, co-ordinated by Dr Vincent Nyamori with a few of his colleagues through the School of Chemistry and Physics, was a closed call for University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) academics and research staff who have an interest in the field of nanotechnology.

The primary aim was to bring together researchers from across the world in the field of nanotechnology to work on one platform and advance the nanotechnology community at UKZN. It is hoped that this workshop will allow UKZN participants to collaborate and work on agreed theme(s) to generate the platform within the global nanotechnology sphere that will be recognised nationally and preferably internationally too.

The workshop was officially opened by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, Professor Deogratius Jaganyi.

It was facilitated by well-versed researchers in the “nanofield” including Professor Barry Sanders (Director, Institute for Quantum Science and Technology, University of Calgary); Dr Zivayi Chiguvare (Director Renewable Energy and energy Efficiency Institute, Polytechnic of Namibia); Professor Suprakas Sinha Ray (Chief Research Scientist and Director, DST/CSIR Nanotechnology Innovation Centre), Professor Neil J Coville (Centre of Excellence for Strong Materials, School of Chemistry, University of the Witwatersrand), Professor M Maaza (Chairman NANOAFNET), Professor Ijeoma F Uchegbu (Chair in Pharmaceutical Nanoscience, Department of Pharmaceutics, UCL School of Pharmacy) and Dr Anthon P Botha (TechnoScene (Pty) Ltd).

The 44 participants, who included researchers from the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science and the College of Health Sciences, were encouraged to identify niche nanotechnology research areas and build strong teams of collaborators relating to chemistry, physics, materials, engineering, medicine and nanomaterials science, among other fields.

In addition, the aim of the workshop was to understand how other platforms and centres operate and if possible strengthen ties with various national centres involved with nano-research and link-up with existing SARCHi Chairs. UKZN’s Dr Vincent Nyamori said: ‘The final results of the programme were to devise the strategy for the way forward for the platform. The facilitators visited the various laboratories and facilities available at the University and were very impressed.’

Dr Louis Jimenez of the Antiviral Research Group said: ‘Congratulations for such a great effort to develop the first nanotechnology workshop at UKZN. I appreciate the opportunity to be part of a novel productive environment for the University.’

Professor Maaza, said: ‘I wish to express my congratulations for all the arrangements and the benefit in sharing with you the birth of the UKZN nano platform. It is indeed inspiring to see such a high profile and multidisciplinary singular and original research.’

Nyamori said: ‘The workshop gave us an opportunity to see our common goal, and an insight on how we can coalesce to the various efforts and interests within the field of nanotechnology, from fundamentals to applications, and end on one stage, the UKZN nano-platform. The detailed report and the outcome of the workshop are still being processed and we hope this will gives us the direction to the next step on this new and very interesting venture.’

Leena Rajpal

UKZNdaba

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School of Chemistry and Physics Hosts Annual Nanotechnology Platform Workshop

October 2016

Dean and Head of the School of Chemistry and Physics, Professor Ross Robinson, addresses delegates at the Nanotechnology Platform Workshop.
Dean and Head of the School of Chemistry and Physics, Professor Ross Robinson, addresses delegates at the Nanotechnology Platform Workshop.


The School of Chemistry and Physics hosted a successful UKZN Nanotechnology Platform Workshop at the Graduate School of Business on the Westville campus.

The UKZN Nanotechnology Platform is a cross-campus multidisciplinary group of researchers within UKZN who have an interest in the field. The workshop was aimed at creating awareness of current on-going projects within the Platform and to provide an opportunity for other researchers at UKZN to be involved in presentations.

The event attracted about 90 participants from the College of Health Sciences and the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science.

The UKZN Nanotechnology workshop is usually a closed university workshop, but this year it hosted two external prominent guests: Professor Derek Gray of McGill University in Montréal, Canada, and Professor Viness Pillay of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

Gray’s research interests are in polymer, colloid and surface chemistry, with an emphasis on the surface properties of wood, pulp and paper. Discoveries from his research group have included the first reported formation of liquid crystalline cellulose derivatives, and the first preparation and self-assembly of cellulose nanocrystals to give chiral nematic suspensions and ordered films.

Pillay is a Professor of Pharmaceutics at the University of the Witwatersrand where he holds the NRF/DST Research Chair in Pharmaceutical Biomaterials and Polymer-Engineered Drug Delivery Technologies. He is also Director of the Wits Advanced Drug Delivery Platform (WADDP) Research Unit.

A leading researcher in nanotechnology, he holds a NRF B rating and has the largest patent suite in South Africa in the area of advanced drug delivery.

Apart from their presentations, the two visiting academics also assessed and advised the Platform on its directions and future endeavours.

The rest of the presentations, both oral and poster, were from staff and postgraduate UKZN students involved in nanotechnology research. Platform Project Leaders also gave an update on their current project.

Prizes were awarded to the best student presentations courtesy of the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science. The winners were: Ms Kelyshea Naicker (MSc oral), Mr Samson Akpotu (PhD oral), Ms Ntombizodwa Vundla (MSc Poster) and Mr James Amaku (PhD Poster).

The workshop was organised by Professor Vincent Nyamori and Professor Bice Martincigh of the School of Chemistry and Physics.

Said Nyamori: ‘The workshop gave us an opportunity to reflect on our common vision which was Nanotechnology for Sustainable Development.

‘Also, this being the Platform’s second year, the event offered us an insight on how we have progressed and coalesced our various efforts and interests in order to collaborate towards a world class nanotechnology hive.’

Leena Rajpa

UKZNdaba






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