Department of Biochemistry
The Department of Biochemistry has a number of active research groups, each making a significant contribution to biochemistry and science as a whole (refer to our latest publication list). Our research laboratories house state of the art research instrumentation and facilities and are managed by highly trained technical staff, all essential for maintaining a high standard in biochemical research. Our postgraduate students gain valuable laboratory experience in basic and the latest research techniques enabling them to combine both knowledge and experience successfully.
The Department is also host to a Research Chair in Mechanistic Modelling of Health and Epidemiology as part of the South African Research Chair Initiative (SARChI).
FIELDS OF RESEARCH
The Department does internationally competitive research and our postgraduate programmes focus specifically on research in the fields below.
Systems biology and bioinformatics
The theory of control analysis is integrated with computer simulation and experiment and applied to prokaryotic and eukaryotic metabolism in order to better understand its regulation and control.
Natural products and their biological effects
The effects of biologically active natural products on cytochrome P450-dependent enzyme systems and other steroid binding proteins, as well as on eukaryotic signal transfer and gene expression, are studied on a fundamental level.
Plant bioinformatics and molecular systematics
Molecular genetic and bioinformatics methods are used to elucidate the phylogenetics of plants.
Applied research for industry and medicine
Applied research is done on antimicrobial peptides, malaria, plant hormones, plant resistance and pathogen detection, and to develop membrane applications for the monitoring and improvement of water quality, e.g. in industrial effluent treatment.
Enzymology and drug discovery
Information on the mechanism of enzymes and their importance in physiological systems - especially those active in cofactor biosynthesis - is used to develop new antimicrobial agents.