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Head of Department: Professor Allen L. Rodgers

Departmental Profile

The research activities of the department reflect the wide range and scope of the traditional sub-disciplines of inorganic, organic and physical chemistry, sustained by analytical, spectroscopic and computational methodology. The four main research focus areas are synthetic and medicinal chemistry, supramolecular chemistry, transition metal chemistry as well as biophysical and structural chemistry. Programmes are devoted to fundamental and applied chemical research, and to interdisciplinary studies in which chemistry plays a key role. Synthetic studies are carried out in organic, organometallic and co-ordination chemistry, in order to develop and apply new methodology, and to prepare biologically active compounds, novel catalysts and components of new materials. These studies also provide tools for analytical and separation science, and models for advanced structural and conformational studies. Molecular structure determination with the aid of spectroscopic and X-ray diffraction techniques are two areas of specialisation in the department. The latter technique is employed extensively in investigations into inclusion compounds, polymorphism and related solid-state phenomena. Computational chemistry is a leading area of specialization supported by several state of the art LINUX clusters. Computer code development and modelling applications of biological and industrial problems play a key role in many of the Department’s research programmes.

The research enterprise of the Department of Chemistry has recently been recognized and significantly enhanced by the establishment of a Signature Theme in Drug Discovery in which several staff members are participating and by the appointment of two of its permanent staff members to DST/NRF South African National Research Chairs - Associate Professor Kevin Naidoo in Scientific Computing and Professor Kelly Chibale in Drug Discovery. These highly prestigious appointments will raise the Department’s international research profile significantly and will contribute substantially to its research outputs.

The Department of Chemistry also has two UCT-accredited research units – the Centre for Supramolecular Chemistry Research, the MRC/UCT Drug Discovery & Development Research Centre and the Scientific Computing Research Unit – which add further prestige to its stature as one of the leading chemistry departments in Africa.


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