Nanotechnology Platform

Nanohealth

The Nanohealth pillar is a multidisciplinary team focusing on exploiting nanotechnology for the treatment of infectious diseases. There are currently two main research areas: development of sensors for detection of biologically important compounds, drugs and diseases, and the formulation and evaluation of novel aptamer conjugated nanosystems for the targeting of ARV drugs. 

Prof Thirumala Govender

Prof Thirumala Govender

Pillar Leader | Nanohealth

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Development of sensors for detection of biologically important compounds, drugs and diseases

The research deals with fabrication of different sensors for trace level analysis of a wide spectrum of analytes including organic compounds and drugs, and for diagnosing diseases. The focus is on development of novel nanomaterial and polymer based electrodes that are highly sensitive and specific.

Dr Mathew Moodley is currently a Senior Lecturer in the School of Physics and Chemistry at UKZN. His research area is in laser synthesis and characterization of nanomaterials. His interest is on the synthesis 1D and 2D materials in particular, the material of focus is carbon.

In the past, Dr Moodley was senior scientist at the National Laser Centre, CSIR where he was involved in building novel laser sources and non-linear optical devices. He also held a position of group leader in Sensors at the newly formed National Centre for Nanostructured Materials, CSIR before joining UKZN in 2011.

Dr Neeta Thapliyal did her Masters in Chemistry from Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IITR), India during which she was awarded merit scholarship. She then qualified Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) – NET and did her PhD from IITR, India. Following a degree in Patents Law from NALSAR University, India, she gained industrial experience as a Patent Scientist. Currently, she is pursuing Post-doctoral research in the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa under the supervision of Dr. Rajshekhar Karpoormath. She has 20 publications in journals of international repute. Her research interest includes electroanalytical determination of organic species using nanomaterial and conducting polymer modified electrodes.

Dr Rajshekhar Karpoormath is currently a faculty in the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal. He obtained M.Pharm. degree from K.L.E. Society’s College of Pharmacy, Belgaum affiliated to Karnataka University. In March 2004, he was appointed as a lecturer in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry in Dayanand Sagar College of Pharmacy. With an urge to further pursue his research interest, he joined National Chemical Laboratory, CSIR, India as a Senior Research Fellow (June 2005 – July 2006). He completed his PhD from the School of Chemistry and Physics, University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2013. He has more than 50 publications in journals of high repute and presentations in several national and international conferences. His research interests are: target based drug design (HIV, Cancer and TB), methodology development and fabrication of nanoparticles based electrochemical sensors for trace analysis of biological and organic species of interest.

Name University Responsibility 
Dr Geronimo FernandezAptus BiotechSelection of and optimizing stability of the aptamers
Prof K AkamanchiInstitute of Chemical TechnologyGuide the conjugation of the aptamer to the LPN and its characterization
Prof M KhatiCouncil for Scientific International Research (CSIR)Will perform the Circular Dichroism, SPR and ITM studies
Prof Tetsuya KodamaGraduate School of Biomedical Engineering, Tohoku UniversityPerforming in vivo evaluation of the TNF-LPN-APT
Name UKZN SchoolResponsibility 
Dr Brenda MoodleySchool of Chemistry and PhysicsInvestigation of electrocatalytical activity
Prof Dean GoldringSchool of Life SciencesDeveloping an array of disease-specific antibodies
Prof Sabiha EssackCollege of Health Sciences 
Prof Theresa CoetzeeSchool of Life SciencesDeveloping an array of disease-specific antibodies
Prof Thomas MoyoSchool of Chemistry and PhysicsSynthesis and characterization of nanoparticles

Formulation and evaluation of novel aptamer conjugated nanosystems for the targeting of ARV drugs

This study focuses on the identification and characterisation of novel aptamers to target organs where HIV resides. The conjugation of these aptamers onto novel nanocarriers and their in-depth characterisation (physicochemical/ mechanical/ biological/ molecular/ mathematical) are also explored.

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 Dr Louis Chonco is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Virology at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital, Discipline of Health Sciences at University of KwaZulu-Natal under the supervision of Dr. Raveen Parboosing. He obtained an undergraduate degree in Chemistry at the Universidad de Alcala de Henares, Madrid. During his PhD in Molecular Biology, he conducted research in a variety of research labs around Europe, where he successfully investigated potential novel prophylactic and therapeutic strategies for viral infections. Through his initiative, the laboratory adopted novel prophylactic and therapeutic research strategies for addressing HIV infection. His efforts resulted in two highly regarded first-author publications, six co-author publications and a cum laude award for his PhD dissertation.

Dr Rahul Kalhapure is a currently the recipient of a NRF-DST Innovation Postdoctoral Fellowship award in recognition of research excellence and is a postdoctoral researcher in the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa under the supervision of Prof. Thirumala Govender. His M. Pharmacy degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry was granted from University of Pune (2006) following his successful qualification of the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi in India. His PhD in Pharmaceutical Technology was obtained from the Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT) at University of Mumbai

Dr Raveen Parboosing is a Specialist Clinical Virologist. He completed his medical degree and specialist training at the University of KwaZulu Natal. Since then, he has developed an interest in various aspects of Virology research, including clinical, epidemiological and more recently antiviral drug discovery. He obtained a Master of Science degree in Epidemiology from Columbia University, a Master of Medicine (Virology) from UKZN and a Certificate in Statistics form the Royal Statistical Society. He has published 26 peer reviewed publications, and recently established the Antiviral Research Group, with special emphasis on cytotoxicity screening and nanotechnology

Prof Thirumala Govender is currently Professor of Pharmacy in the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Head of the Drug Delivery Research Proto-Unit and Head of the Nano-Health Sector of the UKZN Nanotechnology Platform at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), She was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship and completed a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Pharmacy at University of Nottingham (UK). 

Her PhD research in nanotechnology identified technologies for enhancing drug incorporation into various polymeric nanosystems for targeted drug delivery. Prof Govender’s current research on novel delivery systems focuses on nanotechnology and alternate routes of drug delivery.

 

Name University Responsibility 
Dr Geronimo FernandezAptus BiotechSelection of and optimizing stability of the aptamers
Prof K AkamanchiInstitute of Chemical TechnologyGuide the conjugation of the aptamer to the LPN and its characterization
Prof M KhatiCouncil for Scientific International Research (CSIR)Will perform the Circular Dichroism, SPR and ITM studies
Prof Tetsuya KodamaGraduate School of Biomedical Engineering, Tohoku UniversityPerforming in vivo evaluation of the TNF-LPN-APT
Name UKZN SchoolResponsibility 
Dr Adam SkeltonSchool of Health SciencesMolecular Modelling on aptamers, LPN formation and drug entrapment and release from LPNs
Dr Bahareh HonarparvarSchool of Health SciencesMolecular Modelling on aptamers, LPN formation and drug entrapment and release from LPNs
Dr Barnard OwagaSchool of Chemistry and PhysicsX Ray crystallography studies on aptamers
Dr Brenda MoodleySchool of Chemistry and PhysicsNMR analysis of Aptamers
Dr Frederick BalagaddeK-RITH, Nelson Mandela School of MedicineCharacterization of aptamer-CCL21 protein binding
Prof Guiseppe PellicaneSchool of PhysicsMolecular Modelling on aptamers, LPN formation and drug entrapment and release from LPNs
Dr Hafiza Chenia  School of Life SciencesIn addition to chemical modification will be concurrently examining biological systems (plant, fungi and bacteria) as modifying reagents to modify the lipids for interaction with the aptamer
Prof Irene Mackraj Physiology  School of Health SciencesIn vitro cytotoxicity studies
Dr Karin Pruessner  School of Chemistry and PhysicsIn addition to chemical modification, will be concurrently examining biological systems (plant, fungi and bacteria) as modifying reagents to modify the lipids for interaction with the aptamer. TEM, XRD of LPNs
Prof Mario Ariatti  School of Life SciencesIn vitro cytotoxicity studies
Dr Nisha Singh  School of Life SciencesIn addition to chemical modification will be concurrently examining biological systems (plant, fungi and bacteria) as modifying reagents to modify the lipids for interaction with the aptamer
Prof Onyemaechi Azu  School of Health SciencesIn vivo biodistribution studies, quantification using stereological tools of (any) pathological aberrations in tissues, histo-morphological evaluations
Dr Peter Owira  School of Health SciencesPharmacokinetic evaluation in in vivo studies
Dr Roshila Moodley  School of Chemistry and PhysicsIn addition to chemical modification will be concurrently examining biological systems (plant, fungi and bacteria) as modifying reagents to modify the lipids for interaction with the aptamer
Dr Roshini Govinden  School of Life SciencesIn addition to chemical modification of the lipids, will be concurrently examining biological systems (plant, fungi and bacteria) as modifying reagents to modify the lipids for interaction with the aptamer
Dr Sanil Singh  School of Health SciencesVeterinarian and Head of the BRU who will guide the design of the in vivo studies
Dr Thamsanqa Chiliza  School of Life SciencesIn vitro cytotoxicity studies
Prof Thomas Moyo  School of Chemistry and PhysicsBall milling of ARVs and excipients to modify solubility
Dr Vincent Nyamori  School of Chemistry and PhysicsExploring functionalization of lipids for conjugation to various aptamers and its characterisation