Navigate Up
Sign In

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.


Prof 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 Poornima Ramburrun


Research focus: modification of natural-based polymeric materials as “smart” biomaterial matrices for pharmaceutical drug delivery technologies in regenerative medicine.

Research aim: design and biofabrication of biomimetically-inspired polymeric technologies featuring bioresponsive and controlled-release mechanisms for a range of pharmaceutical actives and growth factors in targeted drug delivery strategies for tissue regeneration applications.

Research objectives:

1.    Hydrogel synthesis and modification for the formation of polyelectrolyte complexes, interpenetrating polymeric networks and ionic-covalent entanglements.

2.    Elucidation of chemical and mechanical transitions occurring in polymeric networks upon processing, blending and crosslinking for fabrication of tissue-engineered scaffolds.

3.    Design of biomatrices for sustained/ controlled release of small-molecular weight drugs, proteins and peptides.

Prof Admire Dube


Research is directed towards the development and translation of nanomedicines for the treatment of tuberculosis.

Current research themes include:

  1. Development of immunotherapeutic nanoparticles for treatment of tuberculosis.
  2. Development of inhalable particulate systems for treatment of tuberculosis.
  3. Mechanistic studies of interactions of nanoparticles with immune cells.
  4. Pharmacokinetic studies of nanoparticles in cells and animals.

Dr Naushaad Ebrahim


Dr. Naushaad Ebrahim’s research scope is translational medicinal dosage form development of nano-systems, focusing on liposomal and phytosomal carrier systems which include the development of percutaneous absorption models for medicinal plants.​

Industrial Research

Prof Marique Aucamp


Research focus: Her research focusses on pharmaceutical preformulation through the investigation of the physico-chemical properties of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and excipients. Altering poor physico-chemical properties of APIs either through solid-state form changes, nano- or micro-encapsulation technology or a combination of both mentioned aspects. To date her research involved metastable forms of drugs and the stabilisation of these forms. The rationale being that if a metastable form can remain in the solid-state form of higher free energy during dosage form manufacturing and typical shelf-life cycles, the problem of poor drug bioavailability due to poor solubility may be addressed. Furthermore, her research also involves encapsulating APIs through various encapsulating techniques that will bring forth advantages such as improved API solubility or stability. Her research actively combines drug particle engineering and solid-state chemistry of drugs as part of preformulation strategies, aiming to improve drug delivery, release and ultimately bioavailability.

Research focus provided as key points:

  1. Physico-chemical properties of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) 
  2. Improvement of detrimental physic-chemical properties through preparation of different solid-state forms of the APIs, ie:                                                            amorphous forms,amorphous solid dispersions, solid dispersions, polymorphs, hydrates, solvates or co-crystals.
  3. Focus on the stability behaviour of different solid-state forms of drugs. Utilising different encapsulating technology of drug particles                                          in order to improve physical or chemical stability, drug release profiles and targeted drug delivery.

Pharmaceutical Chemistry

Prof Jacques Joubert


  1. Drug design and development, and computerised molecular modelling studies of multifunctional neuroprotective entities with ion channel (Ca2+), enzyme      (neuronal nitric oxide synthase, cholinesterase and monoamine oxidase), receptor channel (NMDA), and/or antioxidant inhibitory activity.
  2. Fluorescent polycyclic ligands as valuable tools in neuroimaging for mechanistic insights into neurodegeneration and neuroprotection.
  3. Design and discovery of small molecules (MW < 500 g/mol) active against malaria, tuberculosis or the dengue virus.

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 development of multifunctional neuroprotective molecules with voltage gated and receptor mediated ion channel (NMDA) inhibitory              activity, neuronal enzyme inhibition, and antioxidant activity.
  2. Design and synthesis of fluorescent ligands as tools for imaging and mechanistic investigation in neurodegeneration and neuroprotection.
  3. Design and development of novel molecules with resistance reversal or activity against malaria, tuberculosis or the dengue virus.​

Prof 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

Mrs 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


Prof Kim Ward


Medicine accessibility and medicine supply management focusing on quality assurance of pharmaceuticals, providing equitable pharmaceutical services and the downstream medicine supply challenges addressed through novel distribution models.

  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.

Dr Mariam Parker


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

  1. Patient counselling
  2. Teaching and learning in health sciences
  3. Service-learning in Pharmacy
  4. Service-sector collaboration
  5. 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.

Mrs Tanya Dube



  1. Pharmaceutical Public Health, specifically Rational Medicine Use, including anti-microbial stewardship
  2. Adherence to anti-retroviral therapy and other chronic disease medicines
  3. Community based interventions to improve chronic disease management
  4. Substance abuse


  1. Pharmacy legislation
  2. Pharmaceutical care
  3. Public health

Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacy

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 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

  1. Strategies for guideline implementation and clinic-based role of pharmacists in chronic disease management
  2. 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

  1. Evaluation of a middle-tier electronic ART register: impact on data quality and data use to inform further implementation in PEPFAR supported districts;  
  2. 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.
  3. social accountability in pharmacy education, with particular emphasis on service-learning, professional identity development and identity learning, activity      theory, traditional, complementary and alternative medicine, indigenous knowledge systems, and, medicine use in the community.


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

  1. The isolation and identification of potentially cardioactive compounds from Tulbaghia violaceae; 
  2. Cardiovascular effects of compounds isolated from Tulbaghia violaceae in spontaneously hypertensive rats.
  3. Cardiovascular effects, molecular docking and chemoinformatic properties of compounds from L. leonurus. 


Prof 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.


Rational Use of Medicines

  • Improve prescribing through the use of Medicine Use Evaluations.

Antimicrobial Stewardship

  • Improve the appropriate use of antibiotics in primary health care settings through quality improvement audits.

Health Technology

  • ​Evaluate the use of technology in health education and clinical practice.

Interprofessional Education & Collaboration (IPEC)

  • Establish best practice for IPEC in pharmacy education.

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 onTDF,  Anemia or macrocytosis in patients on AZT, Hypertriglyceridaemia and s-amylase, pancreatitis in patients on LPV/r etc.​
  7. Infectious diseases with special interests in pharmacotherapy of HIV and TB
  8. Pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, pharmacogenetics and pharmacovigilance of antiretroviral agent
  9. Rational use of antimicrobial agents

Dr S. Egieyeh



Computational drug discovery and design, analysis and interpretation of chemical and bioactivity data using

Cheminformatics, Bioinformatics, Machine Learning and Biostatistics techniques in conjunction with relevant in-vitro bioassays in order to discover and design novel drug candidates, especially from natural products, for infectious and non-infectious diseases.

As a formulator at heart, we are also involved in the development of novel drug delivery systems for herbal medicine (particularly exploring the use of nanotechnology as a tool for the preparation of novel drug delivery systems for herbal medicine).

Contact:, +27 (021) 959 3388, +27843477250​

Dr J. McCartney

My research interest focuses on the role of the clinically focused pharmacist in the optimisation of medicine use and the implementation of interventions aimed at improving healthcare outcomes at the primary health care level as well as in hospitalised patients. I am also very interested in pharmacy education, with a special focus on experiential learning programmes in the clinical setting. I have experience in both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies.

Pharmacy Administration and Policy Regulation

Mr. Rafik Bapoo (

Mr. Rudy Maart (​ 

UWC Supports Sustainability
© 2013 UWC | Disclaimer | Sign-in

Contact Centre

University of the Western Cape,
Robert Sobukwe Road,
Bellville, 7535,
Republic of South Africa | +27 21 959 2911