Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Division of Molecular B​iology and Human Genetics


​​​​​​​ABOUT US

The Drug Discovery and Metabolism Research Group are a team of collaborative researchers who share a passion for drug discovery and development of translational medicinal approaches. The team consists of three independent research teams.​


The VuyoLab combines the benefits provided by marine microbial bioactive agents with desirable chemical synthetic scaffolds and nanoparticles for application in the development TB drugs.

The aims of the group are to:

  • Identify novel antimycobacterial bioactive agents including bacteriocins from microbial symbionts associated with marine sponges and invasive ascidians.
  • Fabricated bioactive agents onto magnetic ion nanoparticles and their bimetallic counterparts. 
  • Investigate the utility of bioactive nanodrugs in treating Mycobacterial tuberculosis-infected macrophages.

The goal is to help expand the TB nanomedicines platform. The major focus and the area of application in the VuyoLab is on the use of either polypeptides and small molecules derived from marine sponges, bacterial symbionts associated with invasive ascidians and marine sponges and other novel extremophilic bacteria for use in developing novel bioactive agents against pulmonary TB. 


We are multidisciplinary research group that accommodates individuals with expertise on different aspects of drug discovery, development and delivery. Our mission is to create an environment where scientists in training and visiting scholars who are interested in drug development strategies are inspired to innovate without fear. It is envisaged that this strategy will promote and fast track the discovery of new drugs leading to their commercialization. Members of the group are encouraged to embrace bioentrepreneurship and learn all there is to know about commercialization.

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. ​



​Tuberculosis is the deadliest disease of all diseases cause by pathogenic bacteria. That despite the disease being treated by combination regimens of up to four antibiotics. Increasing incidences of drug resistance further complicate efforts to eradicate the disease with existing drug regimens. These are just some of the reasons why there's urgent need for development of new antibiotics with novel mechanism of action. Leveraging on the recent advances in genomics and sequencing, our drug discovery strategy focuses more on exploiting vulnerability of essential pathways for discovery of new hits against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Therefore, our research is more focused on the following areas: 

  1. Identification and validation of vulnerable drug targets in Mycobacteria
  2. Investigation of the metabolic mechanisms that enable Mycobacterium tuberculosis to survive the host chemical defenses.
  3. Application of genomic tools to generate innovative Mycobacterial model organisms suitable for target mechanism-based whole-cell screening.
  4. Early drug development and evaluation, through screening of mixtures and pure compounds against different mycobacterial strains.


The Ndivhuwo is interested in drug discovery against triple negative breast cancer, a very aggressive breast cancer with poor prognosis.  The research group is focused on screening compounds from different sources with a much closer look at phytochemicals extracted from Cape Town Fynbos plants. Different cell lines of breast cancer are used as model to screen the various compounds as potential inhibitor compounds for the development of the anti-cancer. ​


Quick Links