The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), through its Strategic Health Innovation Partnerships (SHIP) programme, has awarded the University of Venda (UNIVEN) Chemistry Department a grant to boost local tuberculosis (TB) research while also accelerating capacity development at the University. The project is led by UNIVEN’s Prof Isaiah David Ipfani Ramaite, attached to the Department of Chemistry in the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Agriculture.

Photo above: Some of MSc students who will be working on this upcoming TB Research Project L-R: Ncina Mogolla and Khodani Ganeli

This research project is valued at approximately R2.4 million over a period of three years. The grant will support a project titled ‘TB Drug Discovery capacity development project.’ Prof Ramaite is the Principal Investigator (PI) and he will be supported by the University of Cape Town’s Drug Discovery and Development Centre (H3D). Prof Kelly Chibale leads the centre – this is in line with SHIP’s capacity-building agenda to support partnerships between historically disadvantaged individuals, established researchers and institutions.

The project will extend the scope of ongoing research on synthesising novel heterocyclic compounds that are being tested for activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the causative agent of TB. Selected active compounds have been identified as starting point. Research is ongoing to chemically modify them to generate derivatives with a potentially improved activity profile toward a hit-to-lead optimisation campaign.

In his response to this good news, Prof IDI Ramaite expressed that this investment is of enormous value for the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Agriculture and the University because it will equip our prestigious University and postgraduate students with necessary resources to undertake focused research related to the disease that is still a leading cause of fatalities globally. He continued to mention that the provision of aid for capacity building is indeed a cherished initiative and is in line with our institution’s new Strategic Plan which is to position the institution for impact and relevance.

L-R: Prof IDI Ramaite, Hlamulo Phophi, Ncina Mogolla, Lesedi Rambevha, Prof Teunis van Ree and Ntumbuluko Mashele


Issued by: Department of Marketing, Branding & Communication
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525 /8710
Date: 29 March 2023

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