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School of Pharmacy - Research Interests and Current Projects

The School of Pharmacy comprises of the disciplines Pharmacology, Pharmacy Practice, Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry and supports research programmes in each of these disciplines as well as interdisciplinary projects.  The use and evaluation of traditional plant medicines and the implementation and enhancement of service learning have developed as strong interdisciplinary foci at UWC.  Research expertise and projects in pharmacy ​however encompasses the spectrum of pharmaceutical sciences and includes all aspects, from the molecule and molecular interaction (drug design and pharmacological characterisation), through preformulation, formulation and drug delivery to drug/medicine utilisation and pharmaceutical care.  The above expertise and experience in medicine registration has also lead to the establishment of the interdisciplinary structured Masters in Regulatory Sciences.


Dr Halima Samsodien


1.         Physico-chemical aspects of APIs and excipients for improved pre-formulation and formulation studies.

2.         Polymorphism, cyclodextrin inclusion and co-crystallization of active pharmaceutical ingredients.

The systematic conversion of selected drugs into various solid forms, namely polymorphs, solvates, co-crystals and cyclodextrin inclusion complexes to establish whether these forms might present any pharmaceutical or technological advantages over the untreated drugs. This involves the isolation and complete physicochemical characterization of the modified forms, including quantitative assessment of their in vitro aqueous solubility in relation to the untreated drugs.


Dr Admire Dube


Development of novel targeted nanoparticle drug delivery systems and bioactive nanoparticles, to improve therapeutic outcomes in communicable and non-communicable diseases.

1.      Development of targeted nanoparticle drug delivery systems for application in communicable (tuberculosis, malaria, HIV) and non-communicable diseases (diabetes)

2.     Design of novel bio-integrated polymeric nanoparticle systems for chemotherapeutic applications in communicable and non-communicable diseases


Dr Naushaad Ebrahim


Transdermal permeation studies with emphasis on traditional medicinal compounds and the development of percutanous absorption models for medicinal plants. Focus is placed on liposomal carrier systems and permeation enhancers.

Industrial related research

Dr Rafik Bapoo


Drug delivery systems for modified release of poorly soluble drugs with emphasis on solid dosage forms and their quality control.​

Dr Reinhardt Uebel (   - External supervisor​.

Pharmaceutical Chemistry

Dr Jacques Joubert


1.            Drug design and development, and computerized molecular modelling studies of novel polycyclic (Amantadine, Memantine and Pentacycloundecane) neuroprotective entities with ion channel (Ca2+), enzyme (neuronal Nitric Oxide Synthase and Monoamine Oxidase-B), receptor channel (NMDA) and/or antioxidant inhibitory activity.

2.            Neurodegenerative disorders including; Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Stroke.

3.            Fluorescent polycyclic ligands as valuable tools in neuroimaging for mechanistic insights into neurodegeneration and neuroprotection.


Prof Sarel Malan


Drug design and molecular modelling – novel entities with ion channel or neuroprotective activity, and pro-drugs;  Influence of chemical structure and conformation on physicochemical properties and membrane permeability of drugs.

1.     Drug design and molecular modelling – novel entities with antimicrobial, ion channel or neuroprotective activity, and pro-drug design.

2.     Influence of chemical structure and conformation on physicochemical properties and membrane permeability of drugs.

Dr Denzil Beukes


Research interests are focused in the area of marine natural products with specific focus on discovery and structure elucidation, medicinal potential, ecological role, biosynthesis and taxonomic application.  Current research projects include:

1.      Discovery and structure elucidation of marine natural products from marine algae, invertebrates and microorganisms

2.      Exploring marine natural products as anticancer, antimalarial and antimycobacterial leads

3.      Evaluating the chemotaxonomic potential of marine algal natural products

4.      Development of methods for the analysis of crude natural product mixtures

Erika Kapp


1.    Drug design and development of novel polycylic compounds as possible reversers of drug resistance.

2.    The use of polycyclic scaffolds to improve membrane permeability of privileged structures.

Pharmacy Practice

Prof Nadine Butler


The pharmacist's role in the practice environment.

  1. Community pharmacists’ perceptions/attitudes towards teenage use of post-coital contraception
  2. Brain bilaterality of pharmacist.
  3. Role of empathy as a tool for pharmacists as counselors


Dr Kim Ward


Medicine accessibility and drug supply chain management focusing on the downstream end of the supply chain, including distribution, dispensing and medicine use.

1.         Expanding the clinical roles of pharmacists in the private sector to address public health problems (e.g. management of sexually transmitted infections)

2.         Interprofessional collaboration: Optimising the professional relationships between doctors, pharmacists and nurses to achieve desired therapeutic outcomes.

3.        Accessing medicine in Africa and South Asia – investigating the regulatory, financial, payment, organizational and behavioural barriers.


Mariam Akleker (Parker)


Pharmacy education and experiential learning in health education and interprofessional collaboration;  Health system administration, particularly with respect to Human Resources;  Patient counselling

  1. Teaching and learning in health sciences
  2. Service-learning in Pharmacy
  3. Service-sector collaboration
  4. Legislative matters in Pharmacy practice.

Prof Praneet Valodia

( - External supervisor​

Pharmacoeconomics / Health economics; Outcomes Research; Medicines Pricing Policy.

1. Pharmacoeconomics / Health economics

·   Pharmacoeconomic evaluation of new chemical entities. 

·   Development of predictive models in pharmacoeconomics

·   Development of costing methods for health care - currently focusing on cancer care

 2. Outcomes Research

·   Development of methods to measure outcomes of health care interventions.

3. Medicines Pricing Policy

·   Formulation of medicine policy.

Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacy

Prof George Jimboyeka Amabeoku


Traditional Plant Medicine Research

Evaluation of neuropsychopharmacological properties of traditionally used medicinal plants using basic pharmacological methods

Prof Pierre Mugabo


  • 1.         Clinical studies: HIV/ AIDS and Tuberculosis. The focus is on Pharmacokinetics of antiretroviral drugs and anti-TB drugs, treatment outcomes of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (including MDR/XDR-TB). The effect of HIV on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of these drugs is assessed.

    2.         Basic pharmacological studies: Study of cardiovascular effects of drugs. Both in vivo (using Wistar albino rats) and in vitro (isolated perfused rat heart) are conducted".


Prof James Syce


Traditional Plant Medicine Research

1.      Biopharmaceutics of Herbal Products (Modification of solid herbal extracts (e.g. to improve stability, dissolution, etc.), development of modified active herbal extracts & solid oral dosage forms, investigation of the pharmacokinetics of flavonoids (& other marker phyto-constituents) in solid herbal dosage forms, and the development of solid oral dosage forms of flavonoid-containing SA indigenous plant material).

2.       Preclinical Studies of Traditional Plant Medicines (Determination of anti-asthmatic, anti-diabetic,  anti-inflammatory and anti-TB effects of plant extracts using cell culture models,  isolated animal tissue and online HPLC bioassays)

3.        Clinical Trials (Phase 1 pharmacokinetic and Phase I/II safety and efficacy trials  of solid oral dosage forms of indigenous South African herbal products claimed to have anti-HIV, anti-diabetic and anti-asthmatic properties).

4.        Regulation of herbal medicine (Development of guidelines for clinical trials, pharmaceutical quality specifications and registration of herbal medicine; development of Herbal Pharmacopoeia)  

Prof Angeni Bheeki


1.         Testing guideline implementation strategies among healthcare professionals in chronic disease management

2.         Exploring a clinic-based role for pharmacists

3.         Implementation of service-learning in pharmacy training

4.         Use of systematic reviews in therapeutic decision-making​

Current Projects

  • Strategies for guideline implementation and clinic-based role of pharmacists in chronic disease management

  • Institutionalisation of service learning in undergraduate pharmacy training programmes.


Dr Mea van Huyssteen


Exploring the concept of the professional identity of pharmacy students and pharmacists.

Implementation of service-learning in pharmacy.

Motivational interviewing: a way of talking with patients.

Current Projects

  • Evaluation of a middle-tier electronic ART register: impact on data quality and data use to inform further implementation in PEPFAR supported districts;  

  •  Assessment of retention in HIV care between testing and treatment in public health facilities from 2011 to 2012 in the Cape Winelands and West Coast districts, Western Cape, South Africa.


Dr Kenechukwu Obikeze


Basic Pharmacology: Cardiovascular effects of drug substances using in vivo and in vitro techniques.

Therapeutics: Evidence-based therapeutics using systematic reviews.

Pharmacoepidemiology: Post-market surveillance studies

Current Projects

  • The isolation and identification of potentially cardioactive compounds from Tulbaghia violaceae

  • Cardiovascular effects of compounds isolated from Tulbaghia violaceae in spontaneously hypertensive rats.

  • Cardiovascular effects, molecular docking and chemoinformatic properties of compounds from L. leonurus. 

Dr Renier Coetzee


Therapeutics and clinical pharmacy - Using medication use evaluations as a tool to conduct research in rational medicine use.

Evaluating the efficacy and outcome of clinical interventions.


Prof Michelle Viljoen

Research interests and expertise:

1. HIV / Aids clinical studies.

2. Pharmacogenetics (SNPs affecting drug enzymes) especially CYP 450 system

3. Pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of ARVs.

4. Pharmacovigilance of ARVs but also other drugs

5. HPLC (UV and MS /MS) development of methods to determine plasma levels of ARVs.

6. Descriptive, retrospective and prospective studies from patient records focusing on clinical aspects of treating HIV;  Renal dysfunction in patients on TDF, Anemia or macrocytosis in patients on AZT, Hypertriglyceridaemia and s-amylase, pancreatitis in patients on LPV/r etc.​

Pharmacy Administration and Policy Regulation

Mr. Rafik Bapoo (

Mr. Rudy Maart (​ 

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