Nanotechnology Platform

School of Chemistry and Physics Hosts Annual 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