Spanish Scientists to be Based Permanently at UKZN
UKZN’s Catalysis and Peptide Research Unit has welcomed two of its Principal Investigators who have moved from Barcelona in Spain to be permanently based on the Westville campus.
The two scientists, Professor Fernando Albericio and Professor Beatriz de La Torre, have been involved with the CPRU on a part time basis since its creation in 2007.
Albericio, who has accepted a Research Professor position in the School of Chemistry and Physics, is an NRF A-rated scientist and an author of more than 810 publications and 55 patents, with more than 13 000 citations and an index H of 56.
Through his research, the first patent on a broad-spectrum peptide based antibiotic, including TB, was recently filed through the innovation office at UKZN. His research interests cover practically all aspects of peptide synthesis and combinatorial chemistry methodology as well as the synthesis of peptides and small molecules with therapeutic activity. Currently Editor of the International Journal of Peptide Research and Therapeutics and Current Chemical Biology, he received a Doctorate Honoris Causa from the Universidad de Buenos Aires in Argentina and the Vincent du Vigneaud award from the American Peptide Society. He is an active member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts.
De la Torre’s research interests are in the chemistry of peptides, nucleotides, peptide nucleic acids and method development. She is a Senior Research Associate at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra’s Proteomics and Protein Chemistry Unit in Barcelona. She has a long-standing commitment to peptide chemistry and applications of bioactive peptides, and has expanded her activities into the field of proteomics.
Albericio is keeping ties with the University of Barcelona, through which a patent from the Unit is currently filed and the potential commercialisation of the new antibacterial drug is exploited in collaboration with the European Gram-negative Antibacterial Engine ENABLE, see http://www.imi.europa.eu/content/enable).
These international professors will form part of CPRU’s nine academic researchers of whom Professor Per Arvidsson of the Karolinska Institute, Sweden, is employed in a fractional research position. The rest are: Professor Bahareh Honarparvar (Computational Chemistry), Professor Thavi Govender (Synthesis, Pharmaceutical and mass spectrometric applications), Professor Gert Kruger (Synthesis, NMR and molecular modelling), Professor Glenn Maguire (Inorganic chemistry and synthetic ion channels), Professor Tricia Naicker (Chiral synthesis and organocatalysis) and Professor Raveen Parboosing (HIV research).
The bulk of the Unit’s research activities involve drug design and testing against resistant pathogens (HIV and bacteria).