Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Zininga Group

​GROUP LEADER: Dr Tawanda Zininga​​

​​Position: Lecturer

Office:      A101 JC Smuts Building

Phone:    +27-(0)21-808-5870

Fax:         ​+27-(0)21-808-5863


Educational and Professional Background​

Lecturer, Department of Biochemistry Stellenbosch University SA (2020)

PostDoctoral fellow, Department of Biochemistry, University of Venda SA (2016-2019)

PhD Biochemistry (University of Venda, SA, 2016)

Msc Molecular Biology (Staffordshire University, UK,2012)

Honours in Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Sciences (University of Zimbabwe, ZW, 2005)

Research Emphasis

Cell Stress Biology, Protein Folding, Biomarkers, Antimalarial drug design & Discovery​

Research Summary

The Zininga Group focuses on investigating the role of molecular chaperones in protein folding in cells under stress. Our main focus is on the malaria agents Plasmodium spp. The parasites are dependent on a robust protein folding machinery for their survival in stressful environments. We hope to understand the parasite protein folding system and we intend to apply the knowledge to other diseases. 

Selected Publications

Full list of publications on ResearchGate:

Zininga, T. and Shonhai A. (2014) Are heat shock proteins druggable candidates? American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, 10: 211-213. 

Zininga, T., Achilonu, I., Hoppe, H., Prinsloo, E. Dirr, HW. Shonhai A (2016). Plasmodium falciparum Hsp70-z (Hsp110c) exhibits independent chaperone activity and interacts with Hsp70-1 in a nucleotide dependent fashion. Cell Stress and Chaperones, 21(3): 499–513. 

Makhoba, XH, Burger, A. Coertzen, D., Zininga, T., Birkholtz, L-M., Shonhai, A. (2016). Use of a chimeric Hsp70 to enhance the quality of recombinant Plasmodium falciparum S-Adenosylmethionine Decarboxylase protein produced in Escherichia coli. PLOS One 11(3): e0152626. 

Zininga T. Pooe, OJ, Makhado, PB, Ramatsui, L, Prinsloo, E, Achilonu, I, Dirr, H, Shonhai, A. (2017). Polymyxin B inhibits the chaperone activity of Plasmodium falciparum Hsp70. Cell Stress and Chaperones, 22(5): 707-715

Zininga, T., Ramatsui, L., Shonhai, A. (2018) Heat shock proteins as Immunomodulants. Molecules, 23 (11), 2846. 

Chakafana, G, Zininga, T, Shonhai, A. (2019) Comparative structure-function features of Hsp70s of Plasmodium falciparum and human origins.  Biophysical Reviews, 11, 591–602. 

Zininga T, Shonhai A. (2019) Small molecule inhibitors targeting the heat shock protein system of human obligate protozoan parasites. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 20(23): e5930. ​