The primary focus of VuyoLab revolves around Mycobacterial Biochemistry, where we employ novel bioactive agents to investigate the biochemical processes of mycobacteria, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis-infected macrophages and macrophages themselves. Additionally, we examine the response of various cell types, such as astrocytes, liver cells, heart cells, lung cells, and kidney cells, to mycobacterial infection. Most importantly, the group's primary research major interests are in the exploration of marine microbial bioactive agents, in combination with a diverse array of complex chemical scaffolds and magnetic ion nanoparticles (mions) used to probe/identify weaknesses in mycobacteria and host cells for the development of novel preventative antitubercular agents and treatment strategies.
Our endeavours are complemented by cheminformatics that enable us to investigate even more novel mycobiochemicals as a response to Mtb treated with repurposed drugs, marine drugs, and their mions-stabilized forms. Through these investigations, we aim to expand the TB nanomedicines platform, leveraging the unique properties and potential of these agents for more effective tuberculosis treatment.
We are a multidisciplinary research group with a mission to create an environment where scientists in training and visiting scholars who are interested in pathogen biochemistry are inspired to innovate without fear. It is envisaged that this strategy will promote and fast-track the discovery of new disease-preventative strategies and therapies. Our collaborations are multidisciplinary and include organometallic chemistry, marine biologists and computational chemistry experts. We also work very closely with other research units attached to the South African Medical Research Council.