A Greener Method to Purify Biosynthesised Insulin
Dr Kamini Govender’s PhD in Pharmacy successfully developed a rapid, greener, and more efficient method for the purification of biosynthesised human insulin and peptides compared to conventional methods.
It was supervised by Professors T Govender, T Naicker and HG Kruger of the Catalysis and Peptide Research Unit.
‘The study utilised sub/supercritical fluid chromatography to purify biosynthesised human insulin and peptides associated with diabetes,’ said Govender. During the course of the study, she developed research techniques such as routine molecular biology methodologies, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), primer and design, and cloning strategies in E. coli. ‘I also developed numerous methodologies regarding protein research techniques. Challenges such as intermittent load shedding, and COVID-19 caused delays.’
The study resulted in three international ISI publications and was also presented at an international conference (The 7th European Federation of Medicinal Chemists - Young Medicinal Chemists Symposium (YMCS)) and a national one (Royal Society of Chemistry / South African Chemical Institute Young Chemists’ Symposium 2020), where Govender won an award for the best poster. She is currently seeking a post-doctoral position in South Africa or abroad and would like to one day go into academia. ‘In the future I aspire to become a world renowned scientist.’
Govender believes education is a very powerful tool, ‘I was inspired to pursue a career in science as a young girl as very few women were given this opportunity in the past. I was also inspired by iconic female scientists such as Rosalind Franklin and Marie Sklodowska-Curie. I believe women can change the world especially in science. I love research and being in the lab as I find it fun as well as exciting,’ she said.
She thanked her parents and sister for their support throughout her studies.
Words: Nombuso Dlamini