The research objectives of the Mycochem Group revolve around the generation of biopharmaceuticals by exploring, evaluating and characterizing bioactive compounds from endophytic fungi associated with medicinal plants, fungal symbionts linked to marine sponges and fungi allied to gold mine tailings. Research efforts are directed at discovering structurally diverse compounds for the treatment of TB.

The crude extracts and pure compounds obtained from the symbionts are further utilized to synthesize gold and silver nanoparticles (AuNPs and AgNPs) and further converted to even more efficacious derivatives using semi-synthetic approaches.

To achieve these objectives, several synthetic procedures and analytical chemistry techniques are used. Mycobacterium smegmatis deficient in either mycothiol or ergothionine biosynthetic genes is utilized as a screening model, the susceptibility of mycobacteria in macrophages is also explored while zebrafish is also a model of choice in evaluating the value of our compounds.


Capacity Development

The Mycochem Group in the SAMRC centre for Tuberculosis Research strongly recognizes the growth of the individual in knowledge, skills acquisition and experience, in line with the national imperatives for the development, mentoring and nurturing of young scientists from across the nation and from diverse backgrounds. It is envisaged that this, in turn, will contribute to the growth of the society and the nation. Training and capacitating of individuals from previously marginalised communities and genders are core objectives of the group as we feel exceptional talent exists amongst all of us. Opportunity is a valuable platform for innovation.