Contact Us

Head of Department

Position: Head of Department & Associate Professor in Analytical Chemistry
Tel: +27 (021) 959 3053
Fax: +27 (021) 959 1316


Prior to completing my doctorate, I have had 14 years of industrial experience in polymer, pharmaceutical and forensic laboratories during which, I gained extensive experience in spectroscopic, chromatographic and electroanalytical methods of analysis. After completing my PhD in 2001, I took up a Postdoctoral Research position in Prof. Krzystof Matyjaszewski’s group (inventor of, atom transfer radical polymerization, ATRP) at Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, USA), from 2002 to 2004. In April 2006, I joined the Chemistry Department as a lecturer teaching Analytical Chemistry. In 2010, I started the Graphene laboratory, which is one of five laboratories within SensorLab group.


Electro-analytical techniques are characterized by their simplicity, low cost and portability. The combination of electro-analytical techniques with graphene nanocomposites creates a portal for the development of analytical procedures for determining a myriad of analytes that are of importance at the parts per billion level. My research current interest involves the development of graphene and graphene-polymer nanocomposites for electrochemical sensing platforms for determining heavy metals and organic pollutants.  The evolution of this research is now progressing towards paper microfluidic devices (PuFDs) with electrochemical detection for toxic pollutants determinations.

Academic and Administrative Staff

Position: Deputy Head of Department & Professor
Tel: +27 21 959 4031


Lindiwe Khotseng is a Full Professor of Analytical Chemistry and the Group Leader of Nanomaterials for Renewable Energy Technology with four thematic areas solar energy, fuel cell energy, bioenergy and energy storage at the Department of Chemistry, University of the Western Cape (UWC). Prof Khotseng past and present research projects are funded through ESKOM tertiary Education Grant (TESP), National Research Foundation (NRF), BRICS and Technology and Human Resources for Industry Programme (THRIP).

She obtained her PhD from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa in 2004. She is a C2 NRF-rated with h-index = 14 (Scopus) with over 600 citations. She received a DTi Technology award as the THRIP Outstanding Black Researcher, 2013.

Prof Khotseng has published 52 research articles and conference proceedings in the fields of nanomaterials for fuel cell energy and conversion of waste to value-added products. She edited a book “Electrocatalysis and Electrocatalysts for cleaner environment: Fundamentals and applications”, 2022, InTechOpen, (ISBN978-1-83968-128-8) and authored six book chapters: “Application of sugarcane bagasse ash-nanofiller(s) potential in rubber technology: Rubber Materials",2022, , “Electrocatalysis and Electrocatalysts for cleaner environment: Fundamentals and applications: Investigation on synthesis methods for an improved PtRu nanoparticles Supported on multi-walled carbon nanotubes electrocatalysts for direct methanol fuel cells” 2022, “Thermodynamics and Energy Engineering: Fuel cell thermodynamics” 2019, “Electrocatalysis:  Oxygen reduction reaction” 2018,  inTech Open, UK, Biomass and Biofuel Production: The Place of Biofuel in Sustainable Living; Prospects and Challenges, (Volume 5) 2021,  Elsevier, UK, “Direct Methanol Fuel Cells: Applications, Performance and Technology: Electrocatalysts for Direct Methanol” 2017, NOVA, NY.

She serves as a reviewer for 15 international peer-reviewed journals and he has been invited to present as keynote speaker, invited Speaker, and presenter at various national and international conferences, local workshops, and symposiums.
She has supervised 8 PhD and 16 MSc students to the completion of their research projects.

She is a professional member of South African Chemical Institute (SACI), Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) and International Society of Electrochemistry (ISE).

Position: Emeritus Professor
Tel: +27 (021) 959 3304
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3878

ORCHID: 0000-0002-2049-1551

Google Scholar h-index (42), i10-index (122), 5642 citations

NRF Rating: C1


Prof Leslie Petrik is a leading and well-established expert in the field of material science,
nanotechnology, chemistry, environmental remediation, water treatment and beneficiation of
industrial wastes. Overall, her publications include 4 granted patents; 11 book chapters; 202 journal
publications; 311 presentations.
After a period of working in industry, L.Petrik was Senior Scientific Officer in the Catalysis Research
Unit, Department of Chemical Engineering at UCT for 12 years mentoring PG students and
undertaking industrial contract research. Thereafter she held various academic positions at UWC
since 1998 whilst obtaining her MSc in 2003 and PhD in 2008 in Chemistry on a part time basis whilst
undertaking her academic duties. She was appointed to the rank of Professor in 2014 and as Senior
Professor in 2018. Currently, she is also appointed as Adjunct Professor at Cape Peninsula University
of Technology.

Since 2003, L. Petrik has independently developed the Environmental and Nano Sciences research
group, in the Department of Chemistry at UWC, and has supervised and graduated 34 PhD and 64
MSc students and hosted 24 Post doctoral fellows. In 2022 L.Petrik supervises 13 post graduate
students (8 PhD; 5 MSc) registered at UWC, US or CPUT, and 3 Post-doctoral fellows who are
associated with the overall research projects of the ENS group. All students have been supported by
ENS grants and funds raised by L.Petrik. Many young intern students from the Cape Peninsula
University of Technology (CPUT) have received their practical training under L.Petrik’s mentorship
on diverse projects and have completed their NDT Chem Eng qualifications and proceeded to
graduate with their Btech and MTech degrees.

Prof Petrik is grant holder and principle investigator of many ongoing industrial and agency research
projects with many successfully completed local and international research contracts. The ENS group
under the leadership of L.Petrik explores a broad suite of material science topics including nano-
materials for applications in environmental remediation, water purification and industrial issues
including waste reuse. Material science expertise is related to development of nano phase materials
and heterogeneous catalysts, high capacity adsorbents, zeolites, mesoporous materials, anti
corrosion thin films, and other functional nano materials. Furthermore, industrial waste reuse
research includes the production of geopolymers, mine backfill materials and high capacity
adsorbents made from waste. For the past 18 years her research focus has also included water
chemistry and environmental remediation including treatment of industrial effluents such as brine
and acid mine drainage, removal of organics and inorganics from water, water disinfection,
detection and quantification of persistent organic pollutants, as well as decomposition of persistent
organic pollutants in waste water using advanced oxidation processes. Pilot plants at several scales
have been designed, built, commissioned and demonstration studies are ongoing. The patents and
licence agreements in place show the innovations.

L.Petrik has been invited to contribute to various local and international Expert Working Panels
including DST Expert Working Group: Waste Technologies, and the development of the National
Waste Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) Roadmap, the International High-level Panel on
Building a Sustainable Ocean Economy, the National Planning Commission, the International
Development (DFID) Africa Capacity Building Initiative, and has served on served on the International
Coordinating committee of the Joint Institute For Nuclear Research (JINR), Dubna, Russia.

L.Petrik served as core member of the task team to develop a Nanotechnology Strategy for SA , co-
authored the DST commissioned South African National Nanotechnology Strategy, and has played a
leadership role in the establishment of the National Nanoscience Postgraduate Teaching and
Training Platform (NNPTTP) presenting a Master’s degree in nanoscience between UWC and four
other institutions, supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). Since 2009 L.
Petrik has served on the organizing committee of the DST funded biannual “ NanoSchool”, which the
DST organized through the Nano Science Centre at UWC and served as South African
Nanotechnology initiative (SANi) executive member for 6 years. L.Petrik also served as core team
member of the DST SA Fuel Cell initiative (SAFCi) and Strategy Team, and for the South African Fuel
Cell And Hydrogen Economy Baseline Study.

On 23 Sept 2021 L.Petrik was recipient of the Water Legends Award of the Water Research
Commission of South Africa in the category Water Use and Waste Management at their Knowledge
Tree Awards on, in recognition of L.Petrik’s contribution to water science nationally and

On 27 August 2021 L.Petrik received the “Women in Research” award in the University of the
Western Cape’s Research Recognition Awards and was also nominated finalist for the “Innovators
Award” and for the “Best Supervisor” award by UWC
In 2018 L.Petrik won the National Science and Technology Forum NSTF-South32 Water Research
Commission Award for an outstanding contribution to science, engineering, technology (SET) and
innovation. In 2017/2018, L.Petrik was also selected as NSTF finalist in two other categories: NSTF-
Engineering Research Capacity Development Award; NSTF-GreenMatter Award.
In 2016 L.Petrik was awarded the Businesswomen of the Year Award in the Science and Technology
Category and in 2015 was the winner of Water Research Commission Research Awards category:
Transformation and Redress.

In 2013 L.Petrik was awarded the UWC VICE CHANCELLOR'S annual distinguished researcher award,
in the Natural and Medical Sciences

In 2012 L.Petrik was awarded the Distinguished Women Scientist Award in 2012 Department of
Science and Technology.

In 2010 L.Petrik was the winner of the dti THRIP Technology Award: “Quality and Quantity of

Position: Senior Professor with SARChI (Tier 1)
Tel: +27 (021) 959 3054
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3055


Emmanuel Iwuoha is the South African Research Chair Initiative (SARChI) Chair (Tier 1) for NanoElectrochemistry and Sensor Technology and a Senior (Distinguished) Professor of Chemistry at the University of Western Cape (UWC). He has been a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) of UK since 1999 and a Chartered Chemist of RSC since 1990. He received the University of Western Cape Vice Chancellor's Distinguished Researcher Award for 2015. He was a finalist in the 18th National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)-SOUTH 32 AWARDS 2015/16 which recognises excellence within the SET and innovation community. He was a Member of the University of Western Cape (UWC) Governing Council and its Executive Committee from 2005 - 2017. From 2010 - 2018 he was a member of the Senior Appointment Committee of UWC Council. He is the Founder and Director of SensorLab (UWC Sensor Research Laboratories) since 2002; and he was the Leader of the “Development of Catalytic Materials” Research Niche Area (2007-2011) under the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa’s Institutional Capacity Development programme. He led the establishment of the DST’s National Nanoscience Postgraduate Teaching and Training Platform as part of the implementation of the DST’s nanoscience pedagogical strategy. Accordingly, he coordinated the planning, development and implementation of the first interuniversity (involving NNMU, UFS, UJ and UWC) MSc Nanoscience degree programme in South Africa (as well as in Africa), with specialisations in NanoBiomed, NanoChem and NanoPhysics. In November 2013, Prof Iwuoha in collaboration with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) at The Hague, The Netherlands, formed the All-African Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Initiative (AANNI), under the auspices of OPCW’s Article XI of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The programme aims at developing nanoscience skills and nanoscience capacity building amongst scientists in the entire African continent.

From 1998 to 2000 Prof Iwuoha led the interdisciplinary team of scientists that developed the 1990 (baseline) and 1992 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventories of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago using the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) protocol. He also co-authored the country’s 2001 Initial National Communication on Climate Change to the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Prof Iwuoha is an electrochemist, and all his research work are done under the umbrella of SensorLab (the University of Western Cape Sensor Laboratories). His research work relates to the designing and production of ‘smart’ nanomaterials (polymeric, dendritic, graphenated and carbon nanotubes composite systems; as well as multi-metal nanoalloys and quantum dots) for application in the construction of sensors, reactors and energy-generating systems (such as batteries, supercapacitors and solar cells).  In 2017 SensorLab’s research team consist of Profs Iwuoha, Baker, Jahed and Drs Ngece-Ajayi, Ikpo, Ross and Ms Franke as staff, 7 Postdoctoral Fellows, 34 PhDs and 20 MSc.  SensorLab is equipped with two High Resolution NMR Spectrometers (500 MHz solid state spectrometer with triple resonance and double broad band probes and 400 MHz liquid state spectrometer: the solid state NMR is the only one in the country with triple resonance probe); Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS) spectrometer; High Performance Research Grade Rheometer; Liquid Nitrogen plant that serves all spectrometers and electron microscopes in the university; Raman spectrometer; Atomic Force Microscopes; Scanning Electrochemical Microscope (SECM); and Multichannel Electrochemical Workstations; Tube Furnace and Reactors for Synthesis, as well as a suite of electrochemical workstations and a Sensorchip laboratory.

A total of 41 SensorLab outgoing and 20 incoming student research exchanges with universities in Africa, Europe and USA were implemented by SensorLab from 2012 to 2016. SensorLab research PhD students have won at least 13 international PhD fellowships including the L'Oréal-UNESCO Fellowships for Women Scientists from Sub-Saharan Africa for 2012 (G. Mbambisa), 2013 (S. Tombe), 2014 (C. Rassie) and 2016 (U. Feleni); and the DST-TATA PhD Fellowship for 2016 (U. Feleni). The 2012 Award is very significant because it represented the first time a non-medical project won the PhD Fellowship. Also in 2014, the L’Oreal laureate was the only South African winner of the PhD Fellowship.

From 2002 to 2018 Prof Iwuoha supervised/co-supervised 51 PhD (31 South African and 20 Non-South African) and 52 MSc (37 South African and 15 Non-South African) graduates. He has more than 250 ISI-cited journal publications, book and encyclopaedia chapters; i10-index of 138 and h-index of 40. He is currently in the editorial board of Analytical Chemistry (the ACS’s flagship Journal for analytical chemistry), Bioelectrochemistry (the official journal of the Bioelectrochemical Society), and Springer Nature Applied Sciences; and served as the Guest Editor of the Special Volume of the Journal of Nano Research Volume 44 (2016) on “Nanomaterials for electrocatalysis and electrochemical energy applications “. He has Science Direct’s 25 hottest papers, such as those of October - December 2008 (Reactive & Functional Polymers 2008, 68, 1239), April-June 2009 (Bioelectrochemistry 2009, 75, 117-123), and October – December 2012 (Procedia Chemistry, 2009, 1, 1279-1282).

Among many others, Prof Iwuoha gave plenary lectures at the 1995 Heyrovsky Discussions, Prague; the 4th World Biosensor Congress of 1996 in Bangkok; the Caribbean Conference of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering of 2001 in Havana, Cuba; ElectrochemSA Symposia of 2008, 2011, 2013 and 2015; the 10th International Symposium on Kinetics in Analytical Chemistry (KAC-10), Cape Town, South Africa, 2-4 December, 2009; the South African Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Summer School (SANNSS) (theme: “Nanotechnology: Impact on water treatment and the environment”), 24–29 November 2013, Cape Town (Guest Lecturer); the 41st Convention of the South African Chemical Institute (SACI) (“Chemistry for Africa: New Perspectives in the 21st Century“) East London, 1-6 December, 2013; the 5th Southern and Eastern African Network of Analytical Chemist (SEANAC 2014), “From Wet Chemistry to Nano-Chemistry”, Mombasa, Kenya, 9–13 June, 2014; the 8th International Conference of the Kenya Chemical Society (KCS) (Theme: “Applied Chemistry and Technology in Industry”), Nairobi, Kenya, 5-8 May, 2015, the 81st Prague Meeting on Macromolecules (81 PMM): Polymer Optoelectronic, 20-14 September 2017, Prague, Czech Republic, the OPCW Seminar on Chemical Safety and Security Management for the Member States of the OPCW in Africa, 9 – 11 October 2018, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and the 43rd SACI National Convention: Chemistry for a sustainable African economy, 2-7 December 2018, Pretoria, South Africa.      

He made Keynote Presentations at numerous occasions at international conferences including the 13th Topical Meeting of the International Society of Electrochemistry (Advances in Electrochemical Materials Science and Manufacturing), 7-10 April, 2013, Pretoria, South Africa; 7th International Workshop on Biosensors for Food Safety and Environmental Monitoring  (IWBFSEM), Erfoud, Morocco, 19th - 21st November, 2015; the 42nd National Convention of the South African Chemical Institute (SACI 2015), Durban, South Africa, 29 November - 4 December 2015; Electrochem 2015, Durham, UK, 13-15 September 2015; and the 16th International Conference on Electroanalysis (ESEAC 2016), Bath, UK,   12-16 June 2016. Some recent important Invited Presentations he made include those of the 14th Topical Meeting of the International Society of Electrochemistry, Nanjing, China, 29 March-1 April 2014; International Conference on Polymer Composites (ICPC-2014), Surathkal, Mangalore, India, 19-20 December 2014; and the 7th International Symposium on Macro- and Supra-molecular Architectures and Materials (MAM-2014), 23-27 November 2014, Johannesburg, South Africa. He also made many oral presentations in electrochemistry and sensors conferences.

He was a Principal Investigator (PI) in the consortia that obtained the European Union EU FP-7 IRSES SMARTCANCERSENS PIRSES-GA-2012-318053 grant. He is also a PI in the recently awarded European Union EU H2020-MSCA-RISE-2017-INFINITE-CELL-DVL-777968 grant for next generation kesterites-recycled silicon photovoltaic cell. He is a PI in the South African Consortium for the TB-Protec Project 2014-2018 for the development of ultra-sensitive electrochemical biosensors for TB biomarker under the South African Medical Research Council’s (MRC’s) Strategic Health Innovation Partnership (SHIP) programme.

Position: Senior Professor with SARChI (Tier 2)
Tel: +27 (021) 959 3051
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3055


Trending research
The ubiquitous use of pharmaceuticals, both prescribed and over the counter, has resulted in continuous discharge of pharmaceuticals and their metabolites into wastewater. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified pharmaceuticals in drinking-water as an “emerging issue” which requires constant monitoring and re-assessment of guidelines for safe water use. The use of electrochemical sensors as sensitive and selective analytical tools has been established unequivocally for the evaluation and monitoring of analyte species in the environment; in food; in water and the health industry. Semi-conductive polymers and polymer composites may be readily synthesised as electrochemical transducers onto screen-printed electrodes in the design of highly specific and sensitive analytical devices, that are capable of multi-element analysis, are cost effective and remotely deployable for species evaluation and quantitative analysis. The primary focus of the SARChI chair in Analytical Systems and Processes for Priority and Emerging Contaminants (ASPPEC) is the integrated application of analytical tools and technology to develop early warning systems for trace-level detection and quantification of critical contaminants. These systems are primarily electrochemically driven but draw on a wide range of supporting analytical techniques and energy sources for feasible outcomes.  In a revolutionary partnership with University Cergy-Pontoise (Paris, France), Baker is Co-director of the first International Associated Laboratory (IAL) established between SensorLab (UWC) and an esteemed external research, teaching and training laboratory.  Baker was appointed as Fellow in Residence on the Paris-Seine Initiative for Excellence (March-June 2020) to cement this partnership, which will offer internationalisation opportunities for many researchers and students alike. The IAL will pursue the synergy of new and renewable energy sources as a complement for sensor operations in the greater scheme of the Internet of Things.

Research Fields
Analytical chemistry, electrochemistry, environmental science, materials engineering, material science, nanomaterials, nanoscience, pharmaceutics and sensors for priority and emerging pollutants.

Position: Professor in Inorganic Chemistry & Adjunct Professor: Department of Physical Sciences
Tel: +27 (021) 959 3050
Fax: +27 (021) 959 1400


Prof Martin O Onani is a full professor of Inorganic Chemistry and Nano chemistry at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), Cape Town South Africa. He is the head of the Inorganic Division at the Department and holds a C3 NRF scholarly rating of South Africa. He is a holder of SACI SASOL postgraduate medal for innovative PhD work, which produced ordered crystal structures of polymethylene bridged transition metal complexes for the first time since the time of Michael Bruce and this type of work in early 60s.  He has graduated several PhD, MSc and honours students at UWC. His research work is in the area of both inorganic and nanochemistry targeting HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, diabetes, cancer and Catalysis in South Africa. He is the designated chemist for the DST/Mintek NIC Biolabels Platform, which is tasked with the development of diagnostic and therapeutic nanotechnology-based systems. This is a South African national initiative in nanotechnology started over 10 years ago. He has previously served as a lecturer at both the Jomo Kenyata University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Kenya and Walter Sisulu University of Technology and Science (WSU), South Africa. He holds BSc (Hons) from Kenyatta University, Kenya, MSc Kenyatta University and PhD in the then University of Natal, South Africa. He is a member of the Royal Society of Chemists (RSC), South African Chemical Institute (SACI), African Academy of Sciences (FAAS), and Catalysis Society of South Africa (CATSA). Professor Onani has published well over 80 peer-reviewed articles and shared his work in both local and international conferences.  He is also a special reviewer of several journals in Elsevier and Royal Society Chemistry. Prof Onani has also served as an external examiner for a number of universities namely:
(a) Eldoret University (UoE) Kenya
(b) National Research Foundation, South Africa
(c) Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) South Africa
(d) University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) South Africa
(d) University of Sudan (Khartoum)
(e) University of Namibia
(f) King Faud University, Saudi Arabia
(g) University of Limpopo (UL) South Africa
(h) Postgraduate theses, Hons, MSc and PhD.

Publications in the last 4 years

1. S Simon, NRS Sibuyi, AO Fadaka, S Meyer, J Josephs, MO Onani Biomedical Applications of Plant Extract-Synthesized Silver Nanoparticles, .Biomedicines 10 (11), 2792, 2022

2. NRS Sibuyi, KL Moabelo, S Meyer, A Skepu, MO Onani, AM Madiehe , Nanotechnology-Based Strategies for Treatment of Obesity, Cancer and Anti- 20 microbial Resistance: Highlights of the Department of Science and Innovation/Mintek Nanotechnology , .Applied Sciences 12 (20), 10512, 2022

3. SA Odongo, FO Okumu, SO Lugasi, MO Onani, SG Agong, Biogenic Synthesis of Gold Nanoparticles from Physalis peruviana and Application in Wound Healing, Journal of Chemistry Volume 2022, Article ID 9034840, 12 pages. 2022.

4. AM Madiehe, KL Moabelo, K Modise, NRS Sibuyi, S Meyer, A Dube, Catalytic reduction of 4-nitrophenol and methylene blue by biogenic gold nanoparticles synthesized using Carpobrotus edulis fruit (sour fig) extract,. Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology 12, 18479804221108254, 2022

5.  L Ouma, A Pholosi, M Onani, Optimizing Cr (VI) adsorption parameters on magnetite (Fe3O4) and manganese doped magnetite (MnxFe (3-x) O4) nanoparticles, , Physical Sciences Reviews, 2022; DOI: 10.1515/psr-2021-0149.

6. SA Odongo, SO Lugasi, MO Onani, SG Agong, SC Lagat, Biogenically Synthesized Silver/Gold Nanoparticles, Mechanism and their Applications: A Review, , Asian Journal of Chemical Sciences

7. S Kiprotich, FB Dejene, MO, Effects of growth time on the material properties of CdTe/CdSe core/shell nanoparticles prepared by a facile wet chemical route Onani, Materials Research Express 9 (2), 025008, 2022

8. L Ouma, M Onani , Sequestration of Heavy Metal Pollutants by Fe3O4-based Composites, Inorganic-Organic Composites for Water and Wastewater Treatment: Volume 1, 2022;

9. Darius Riziki Martin, Nicole Remaliah Sibuyi, Phumuzile Dube, Adewale Oluwaseun Fadaka, Ruben Cloete, Martin Onani, Abram Madimabe Madiehe, Mervin Meyer, Aptamer-Based Diagnostic Systems for the Rapid Screening of TB at the Point-ofCare, Diagnostics, 11(8) 1352; 1-24; 

10. Mbugua, Simon N.; Njenga, Lydia W.; Odhiambo, Ruth A.; Wandiga, Shem O.; Onani, Martin O. Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry (Sharjah, United Arab Emirates) (2021), 21(1), 28-47. DOI:10.2174/1568026620666200819160213 

11. Mbugua, Simon N.; Njenga, Lydia W.; Odhiambo, Ruth A.; Wandiga, Shem O.; Onani, Martin O, Synthesis, characterization and anticancer activity of new 2-acetyl5-methyl thiophene and cinnamaldehyde thiosemicarbazones and their palladium(II) complexes, Inorganica Chimica Acta (2021), 515, 120036. DOI:10.1016/j.ica.2020.120036

12. Synthesis, characterization and antibacterial activity studies of new 2-pyrral-L-amino acid Schiff base palladium (II) complexes, EA Nyawade, MO Onani, S Meyer, P Dube, Chemical Papers (2020) 74 (11), 3705-3715 

13. Aptamer-conjugated magnetic nanoparticles for the efficient capture of cancer biomarker proteins, A Kiplagat, DR Martin, MO Onani, M Meyer, Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials (2020) 497, 166063 

14. Nanotechnology advances towards development of targeted-treatment for obesity 20 NRS Sibuyi, KL Moabelo, M Meyer, MO Onani, A Dube, AM Madiehe, Journal of nanobiotechnology (2019)17 (1), 1-21.

15. Simultaneous removal of cationic, anionic and organic pollutants in highly acidic water using magnetic nanocomposite alginate beads, I Phiri, JM Ko, P Mushonga, J Kugara, MO Onani, S Msamadya, SJ Kim, Journal of Water Process Engineering (2019) 31, 100884.

16. Structural and optical properties of novel CdSe nanoparticles produced via a facile synthetic route: Studies on the effects of cadmium sources, S Kiprotich, FB Dejene, MO Onani, Surface and Interface Analysis (2019) 51 (7), 722-732.

17. Capping Ligand Influence on the Structural, Optical and Luminescence Properties of CdTe Nanoparticles Prepared by a Simple Wet Chemical Process, S Kiprotich, FB Dejene, MO Onani, Chemistry Select (2019) 4 (11), 3096-3104. 

18. Effects of selenium concentration in the precursor solution on the material properties of cadmium selenide flower-like nanoparticles, S Kiprotich, FB Dejene, MO Onani, Applied Physics A Materials and Processing (2019) 125 (1), 1-12.

Position: Professor
Tel: +27 (021) 959 2217
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3055


Salam Titinchi is a Full Professor of Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis Research Group leader at the Department of Chemistry, University of the Western Cape (UWC). He obtained his PhD from Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee in 2004. He is C2 NRF-rated researcher and serves on the editorial board of Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry journal since 2018. His h-index = 20 (Scopus) with over 1000 citations.

Prof Titinchi has more than 25 years of lecturing in the higher education sector at University of the Western Cape and University of Basrah.

Professor Titinchi’s research interests are focused on the fields of heterogeneous catalysis and coordination chemistry and entail innovative designs for the synthesis of inorganic and hybrid organic-inorganic materials, coordination polymers and organometallic complexes for catalysis applications.  Another part of his research interest is focusing on synthesizing new organic compounds as anticancer agents.  Over the past years, new research directions have been established with a specific emphasis on advanced nano-materials for energy and environmental applications that focus on catalysts for other applications (Carbon Capture & Utilization and surface-modified nano-magnetic particles for water treatment).

Prof Titinchi has published more than 70 articles and conference proceedings in the fields of catalysis and materials as well as organic compounds for medicinal applications. He edited a book “Advanced Catalytic Materials” WILEY, LLC, USA, 2015 and authored three book chapters: “Nano-catalysis and their Application in Water & Wastewater” in “Nanocatalysis: Applications and Technologies” CRC Press-Taylor & Francis, 2019; “Zeolites: Smart materials for novel, efficient, and versatile catalysis” in “Advanced Catalytic Materials” WILEY, LLC, USA, 2015 and “Advanced materials for biomedical application & drug delivery” in “Advanced Materials: Health Care", WILEY, LLC, USA 2014.

He serves as a reviewer for 46 international peer-reviewed journals and he has presented his research work at over 30 international and national conferences. He delivered several invited talks at various symposia at:
  • South African Centre for Carbon Capture and Storage Workshop: Identification and Quantification of the Potential of Carbon Mineralisation for CO2 Emissions Reduction in South Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa, 9 Sept. 2018
  • The 4th South African Carbon Capture and Storage Conference (CCS), Johannesburg, South Africa, 20-21 Oct 2015
  • 1st International Congress on Advanced Materials, Jinan, China, 7-9 May 2011 and
  • The 1st National Conference on Chemistry, University of Basrah, Iraq, 22-23 Feb 2000.
  • He also chaired a session at the International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Technologies (GHGT) Austin, Texas, 5-9 October 2014, and organised international workshops on Carbon Capture at UWC 2014-2019.
  • Carbon Capture & Storage workshop 2019” University of the Western Cape and UK academia and industry under Industry Academia Partnership Programme (IAPP) funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering 4-8 Feb 2019.
  • Carbon Capture and Utilisation workshop, University of the Western Cape - Missouri University joint workshop, University of the Western Cape, South Africa 5-7 June 2017
  • 2nd Carbon Capture workshop, University of the Western Cape, South Africa 2-4 March 2015.
  • 1st Carbon Capture workshop, University of the Western Cape, South Africa 24-26 March 2014.
Prof Titinchi is leading the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between University of the Western Cape and Coventry University, UK (2019) and University of Malaya, Malaysia (2018) to promote joint research and postgraduate students training.

Position: Associate Professor
Tel: +27 (021) 959-3049
Fax: +27 (021)  959-3055


Prof Ajayi is an Associate Professor at the Chemistry Department and a research leader at the Enzyme Sensor Laboratory, SensorLab at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). She teaches Physical Chemistry at second, third year and honours level and is involved in postgraduate research supervisions. Prof Ajayi completed both her undergraduate and postgraduate studies, and later her PhD in 2011. At SensorLab she specialises in research that involves the development of drug (particularly HIV and TB treatment drugs) metabolism sensors and the synthesis of various green method synthesized metallic nanomaterials and finding biological applications for them. Prof Ajayi has published various research articles and has contributed towards the completion of book chapters. She is also a Reviewer Team Member at Biosensors, MDPI Journal and a Material Science Advisory Board Member at Cambridge Scholars Publishing. She is the recipient of grant awards from the South African National Research Foundation and Water Research Commission of South Africa and has research collaborates at South Africa’s Council of Geosciences, Mintek, University of Johannesburg and iThembaLabs apart from UWC’s School of Dentistry and Biotechnology and Information Systems Departments. Internationally, she collaborates extensively in Zambia, Mozambique, Kenya France and the USA. Ajayi has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Missouri, Columbia Campus, USA and the University of Cergy Pontoise in France. She is also an active member of South African Chemical Institute (SACI), International Society of Electrochemistry (ISE), World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology (WASET) and is the current co-chair (2019-2020) at the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS). Currently, Prof Ajayi serves on the University of the Western Cape’s Institutional Forum, and is part of the Research Task Team for University’s Institutional Operational Plan and the University’s Senate Academic Planning Commitee

Early 2017, Prof Ajayi established AmaQawe ngeMfundo a non-profit organization aimed at providing on-site science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) experiments for learners in marginalized communities. Later the same her, she established KasiMaths; a scalable low-cost mathematic HUB for learners in marginalised communities after winning first prize at the prestigious 2017 TechWomen Programme in Silicon Valley. In 2018 Prof Ajayi was named one of South Africa’s Inspiring Fifty Women in STEM in South Africa in recognition of her research work and its translation to the broader community. In 2019, Ajayi was selected as a fellow of the Africa Science Leadership Programme and was also awarded the UWC DVC Community Engagement Award for the same reason. She is also the one of 20 nominated 2019 AIMS Next Einstein Fellow as well and one of two 2019 prestigious NRF Excellence Emerging Leader/Early Career Researcher Awardees.  In 2020 she was also nominated as a fellow of the NRF Future Professors Programme.

Position: Associate Professor
Tel: +27 (021) 959 3058
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3055


Born in Pietermaritzburg and graduated in 1985 with a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Natal.  Awarded a CSIR post-doctoral fellowship in 1986 and 1987 to the Roger Adams Laboratory at the University of Illinois (USA) researching organo- borates and their application to the colour photocopying process.

Joined the University of the Western Cape in 1993 as Senior Lecturer in Organic Chemistry and held the position of deputy Chairperson of the Chemistry Department from 2003 to 2006.  Elected as Chairman of the department in 2007 and appointed as Head of Chemistry in 2010.

The area of specialisation is in the discipline of Organic Chemistry with Natural product isolation/characterisation and the synthesis of pharmacologically active compounds being the current areas of research activity.  Have a strong passion for teaching particularly at under-graduate and foundation levels and have been a recipient of a meritorious Teaching Award at the University of Illinois in 1987 an International Institute of Education (New York) Award in 1990.

Position: Associate Professor, Research, NMR spectroscopist
Tel: +27 (021) 959 4020
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3055


Prof. Antunes joined the Chemistry Department at UWC in 2014 as the NMR specialist (Senior Researcher) following a move from Rhodes University where she completed her undergraduate studies in Chemistry and Geology through to a PhD in marine natural products chemistry. Prof Antunes also has a deep interest in instrumental techniques and their application to solve a variety of problems and research questions which is due to her varied experience in research fields over the years; her PhD and two postdoctoral stints (2003–2006) in marine natural products chemistry – one at Oregon State University under Prof William Gerwick, and a third postdoctoral opportunity in a neuroscience laboratory (2006) in the  analyses of various neurotransmitters from rat brain (under Prof Santy Daya). She then served as a postdoc (2007) to a large group (about 30 postgraduate students) under Prof Tebello Nyokong, eventually becoming the manager of the Nanotechnology Innovation Centre-Sensors (NIC) at Rhodes University (2010–2013).

In addition to her interest in marine natural products chemistry, over the last 10 years her research interests have drawn on the development of a variety of porphyrin and phthalocyanine macrocycles and nanomaterials such as noble metal, magnetic and upconversion nanoparticles for improved diagnosis and treatment of cancer and infectious diseases through application in photodynamic therapy and photodynamic antimicrobial therapy, as well as catalysis. Due to the increased interest in a green economy, since 2015 her research has been adapted to include the preparation of ‘green’ nanomaterials for application in drug delivery and catalysis. Prof. Antunes is a member of the American Society of Pharmacognosy (ASP), the Society of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines (SPP), the South African Chemical Institute (SACI) and the Phycological Society of South Africa (PSSA). She obtained her NRF rating in 2012 and currently reviews journal articles for Nanoscale, RSC Advances, Dyes and Pigments, Journal of Molecular Catalysis A, Phytotherapy Research, Biomaterials, etc. as well as various NRF grants.

Position: Associate Professor
Tel: +27 (021) 959 3052
Fax: +27 (021) 959 1281


Wilfred Mabusela holds a Ph.D. in Analytical Organic Chemistry from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He subsequently, completed 2-years of postdoctoral research at the same university before joining UWC in 1990 as lecturer and becoming associate professor in 2008. He is founder member and former associate director of the South African Herbal Science and Medicine Institute (SAHSMI), UWC, 2003-2014 and as part of related activities, was also co-leader of the Phytochemical core of The International Centre for Indigenous Phytotherapy Studies (TICIPS)- a consortium which was established in partnership with the University of Missouri, USA. He has been a visiting scientist at several institutions in Africa, Europe and the USA.

My research work involves the study of natural products derived from medicinal plants of South Africa. The main objective of the studies is to understand which chemical structures might be implicated in the therapeutic effects associated with the use of these plants as medicine. An effort to describe a broader natural product profile of selected plants is also pursued, as this may be of interest in the context of quality control when a particular plant becomes commercialized in future. Laboratory activities involve the application of modern chromatographic and spectroscopic techniques, such as HPLC, TLC, GC-MS, LC-MS, NMR, UV and IR spectroscopy. Some of the work is conducted in collaboration with other scientists at national and international levels.

Position: Senior Lecturer
Tel: +27 (021) 959 4058
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3055


Dr Candice Franke has been employed as a lecturer within the Chemistry Department since 2016, and was promoted to the position of senior lecture in 2023. She obtained her Bachelor’s as well as Honours degrees in Chemical Science from the University of the Western Cape. Therafter she obtained a Masters in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology from Universitat Rovira I Virgilli in Tarragona Spain. Dr Franke completed her doctoral work on the development of phenotype biosensors for TB drug detection.

Dr Franke is a member of the Sensorlab research group, which focuses on the development of low cost, portable sensors with applications in medical diagnostics as well as energy storage. In this capacity she has attended many national and international conferences and publishes scientific research articles in peer reviewed journals.

She also manages and coordinates the work study programme for the department. This programme allows students at UWC to work in the department as laboratory demonstrators or tutors. This enables students to have some form of financial support during their studies while also developing their leadership skills and training to become well rounded scientists.

Dr Franke is a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), the South African Chemical Institute (SACI), the International Society of Electrochemistry (ISE) and International Younger Chemist’s Network (IYCN). She was awarded the L’Oréal/UNESCO for Women in Science Sub-Saharan Fellowship in 2014. This prestigious award is awarded to only one female in South Africa, along with others in the rest of Sub Saharan Africa, annually for the outstanding scientific contribution of their PhD research.

Currently her research focuses on electrochemical sensor development for the determination of drug metabolism rates in patients suffering from respiratory diseases such as tuberculosis and Covid-19. She is also expanding her sensor research to include microfluidic components for more accurate results and ease of use. Dr Franke is currently supervising Honours, Masters and PhD students, while actively improving the teaching and learning component of the Chemistry department.

ORCID: 0000-0002-2892-1819

Position: Lecturer
Tel: +27 (021) 959 2613
Fax: +27 (021)  959 1316


Position: Lecturer
Tel: +27 (021) 959 2262


I recently joined the Chemistry Department at UWC in January 2018 as a Synthetic Organic Chemist from Rhodes University where I completed my Phd in Chemistry. My Phd at Rhodes entailed the following:
  1. Synthetic Methodology
    Novel applications of Morita-Baylis-Hillman methodology in asymmetric synthesis of a series of varied camphor-derived acrylate esters and elaboration of their medicinal potential.
  2. Medicinal Chemistry
    Design and synthesis of hetetrocyclic ‘cinnamate-like’ AZT conjugates which were to serve as dual-action HIV-1 integrase-reverse transcriptase (IN-RT) inhibitors.
  3. Physical Organic Chemistry
    Kinetic-mechanistic studies of intramolecular trans-esterification reactions of monoacrylate esters using spectroscopic methods.
My current research interests involve the following:
  1. The synthesis of metformin and its analogues to support other research disciplines within the Department.
  2. The synthesis of a variety of novel natural products which possess biological and/or pharmacological activities to support the natural product chemistry discipline within the Department.
  3. The synthesis of novel sulphonamides as anticancer agents to support parallel studies within the Department.
Research activities will be carried out using various chromatographic techniques, NMR, MS, UV, and IR spectroscopy.

Position: Lecturer
Tel: +27 (021) 9593057
Fax: +27 (021)  9593055


I am a fulltime lecturer at UWC since 2011. Currently completing my PhD.

Position: Lecturer
Tel: +27 (021)  959 2254
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3055


Dr Muya is a brilliant scientist with a PhD in electro-analytical chemistry and specialized in electrochemistry, analytical chemistry, nanomaterials and the development of point of care sensor systems in biomedical applications. Dr Muya joined the University of the Western Cape, chemistry department in 2018 as an analytical chemistry lecturer under the SARChi chair (Tier 2) initiative. His research focuses on the fundamental design of sensors (biosensor, immunosesnor, chemical sensor) and synthesis of polymeric derivative materials such as polysulfone, polyaniline, polypyrrole, and polythiophene. These polymers serve as membrane materials for remediation of emerging pollutants, as well as transducer in the constructions of biosensor systems.  In this area the emphasis is to couple the electrochemical techniques to the benefits of spectroscopy (FTIR and Raman) and microscopy (AFM and SEM) for the evaluation of emerging pollutants in wastewater. His research output has been published in top electrochemical diagnostic journals including Water Science and Technology, Electrochemical Acta, Membrane and Technology and Journal of Nanoscience.

Position: Senior Lecturer
Tel: +27 (021) 959 4038
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3055


Dr. Keagan Pokpas joined the University of the Western Cape, Chemistry Department in 2018 as a Nano-Electrochemistry and Sensor technology lecturer under the SARCHI chair initiative. He completed his MSc in Nanoscience with a focus in Nanochemistry in 2014, the first of its kind on the African continent, as a part of the National Nanoscience Postgraduate Teaching and Training Program (NNPTTP). He later went on to receive his PhD in Electroanalytical Chemistry from UWC in 2017 prior to completing a postdoctoral fellowship in SensorLab with a focus on paper-based microfluidics. Dr. Pokpas’ research interest is in developing low-cost, disposable, and integrated devices for early diagnostics and sensing of environmental and medical contaminants that plague the African continent. His research focus has been on the development of metal-graphene nanocomposites for stripping voltammetric applications and trace-metal analysis in environmental water samples. Due to the increased attention in paper-based diagnostics and microfluidics systems for on-site monitoring, Dr. Pokpas’ research interests have expanded to include paper-based microfluidics, paper-based energy systems, conductive ink fabrication, materials printing, and field- effect transistor electronic sensing. His research further covers the interrogation of rheological properties of various samples. Dr. Pokpas has served as a member of the International Society of Electrochemistry (ISE), Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), South African Chemical Institute (SACI) and International Younger Chemist’s Network (IYCN). He is a member and former EXCO member of the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) and steering committee member of the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE). Dr. Pokpas was awarded the African-German Network of Excellence in Science (AGNES) Young Researcher award in 2019 and the 2022 UWC Faculty of Science emerging lecturer award.

Position: Senior Lecturer
Tel: +27 (021) 959 4037 
Cell: +27 847 586 583
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3055


Dr. Natasha Ross graduated with her PhD in Electroanalytical Chemistry in 2013 at the University of the Western Cape. She is an assiduous and dynamic research group leader within the SensorLab of the Chemistry department. Her research niche is developing innovative “smart” nanostructured materials to reduce the cost and improve Lithium ion battery renewable energy storage capacities and perovskite photovoltaic solar cell efficiencies. The contribution Dr Ross has made to science and human capital development is evidenced by her growing research outputs aimed at advancing Renewable Energy Storage and Conversion systems as well as the training and development of post-graduate students under her supervision. Dr. Ross is currently lecturing chemistry at 1st and 2nd year level, Physical Chemistry at Honours level and Advanced Nanoscience course at MSc. Level. She is also passionate about science community engagement and has volunteered at various SAASTA schools’ engagements as well as UWC SEMU Smart project to increase student enrolment and retention. Her work over the years has led to her being listed as one of the top 200 mail & guardian young South Africans in 2021, which bears testimony to her commitment to being a catalyst for change and development in her community and South Africa at large.

Position: Senior Researcher
Tel: +27 (021) 959 3060/ 3056
Fax: +27 (021) 959 1316


Tesfaye received his PhD in Chemistry from K.F. University of Graz (Austria) in 2006 through the OAED scholarship programme. He has been a member of SensorLab-UWC, an applied electrochemistry research group, since end of 2006, where he served the first two years (2006/2007 – 2008) as a Free Standing NRF postdoctoral fellow; an NRF/DST/UWC grant holder postdoctoral fellow for three years (2009 – 2011); and a full-time employee with a Researcher portfolio under UWC-DVC-Niche research area (special projects) from Jan 2012 – Dec 2018. Currently, he is a senior researcher, with additional commitments to teaching of modules in MSc nanoscience, honors and undergraduate chemistry programs.
Technical expertise:
Operation, troubleshooting, improvisation and management of several advanced analytical chemistry measurement systems and corresponding software, among which are subtractively normalized interfacial FTIR, UV/Vis/NIR absorption and fluorescence spectroelectrochemistry, electrochemical scanning probe microscopy, small angle x-ray scattering, dc scan and pulse voltammetry, electrochemical ac impedance spectroscopy, and electrochemical quartz micro-balance.
Additional skills: I use iKhamva site & eTools for modules I am offering, and google sites to develop e-Portfolio as well as an Information communication site for SensorLab-UWC. 

Position: Senior Lecturer
Tel: +27 (021) 959 4029
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3055

Position: Chief Scientific Officer
Tel: +27 (021) 959 2545
Fax: +27 (021) 959 1453

Position: Senior Technical Officer
Tel: +27 (021) 959 3048
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3055

Position: Senior Technical Officer
Tel: +27 (021) 959 3082
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3055
Qualification: BSc (Hons) Chemical Science UWC

Position: Technical Officer
Tel: +27 (021) 959 3081
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3055

Position: Departmental Administrator
Tel: +27 (021) 959 3056
Fax: +27 (021) 959 1316

Position: Administrator (responsible for student queries/applications etc)
Tel: +27 (021) 959 4040
Fax: +27 (021) 959 3029