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Stefan Benjamin

Stefan Benjamin Profile Pic Stefan Benjamin completed his BSc majoring in chemistry and microbiology at UCT in 2013. He later completed his BSc(Hons) degree specialising in chemistry in 2014 for which he graduated with a first class pass. Currently he is pursuing his Master’s degree under the supervision of Professors Timothy Egan and Roger Hunter with a project that deals with the synthesis and quantitative structure-activity relationships of quinazoline-containing compounds to probe the mechanism of haemozoin inhibition and antimalarial activity. With a strong passion for synthetic and bioinorganic chemistry, Stefan takes pleasure in getting his hands dirty, learning each day and making a valuable contribution to science.

Jill Combrinck

Jill Combrinck has an undergraduate science degree with majors in chemistry and applied chemistry and BSc(Med) Hons in pharmacology. She is currently registered for a PhD in the Division of Pharmacology supervised by Prof. Timothy Egan (Chemistry) and co-supervised by Assoc. Prof. Pete Smith (Pharmacology). Her research project focuses on the role which haem plays in the mechanism of action of several clinically relevant quinoline antimalarials as well as novel compounds. Jill has a keen interest in the health sciences and the application and development of new techniques and analytical methods.

Nicola Dare

Nicola Dare Profile Pic Nicola graduated from UCT with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 2012 and then went on to Honours in chemistry in 2013 where she passed with a first class degree. She is currently doing an MSc project under the supervision of Prof. Timothy Egan as well as Prof. Susan Bourne from the Centre for Supramolecular Chemistry. The project focuses on using metal organic frameworks (MOFs) as a ‘crystalline sponge’ to crystallise out large molecules such as haem in order to investigate their properties. The project is focussed on looking at structures of haem itself as well as its complexes with known antimalarials. She is passionate about gaining knowledge and understanding around complex problems and strives to use a multi-disciplinary approach by using many different techniques to solve problems that ultimately have direct applications on broader society.

Fabrizio Paolo L'abbate

Fabrizio L'abbate Profile Pic Fabrizio obtained his BSc in 2010 specialising in chemistry and biochemistry. He then went on to complete his BSc(Hons) in chemistry in 2012. He is currently working towards his PhD under the supervision of Prof. Timothy Egan and Prof. Roger Hunter. He is passionate about contributing to the greater scientific community with his research field being in Medicinal chemistry. Fabrizio’s research project focuses on the synthesis and testing of novel β-haematin inhibiting compounds which are important in contributing to our broader understanding of the mechanism of action of antimalarials.

Roxanne Mohunlal

Roxanne Mohunlal Profile Pic Roxanne completed her BSc and BSc(Hons) in chemistry at the University of Cape Town in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Her undergraduate studies also focused on biochemistry and microbiology. Driven by her passion for chemistry and biology, she is currently pursuing her PhD under the supervision of Prof. Timothy Egan. Her research involves in vitro work with Plasmodium falciparum and spans across the field of systems biology incorporating metallomics, proteomics and lipidomics. She applies this multi-faceted approach towards understanding the complexities of the malaria parasite’s biology. Roxanne thoroughly enjoys the challenges that arise in research as this helps her to think out-of-the-box and nurtures independent and creative thoughts.

John Okombo

John Okombo Profile Pic John obtained his bachelor's degree in Chemistry and Biology in 2007 before joining Kenya Medical Research Institute to work on profiling antimalarial resistance along coastal Kenya. He then received a Wellcome Trust Masters Fellowship in 2011 to study Molecular Biology of Infectious Diseases at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He then went on to join Prof Timothy Egan and Prof Kelly Chibale at University of Cape Town in 2014 for PhD training. His project focuses on characterizing dual-functioning antimalarial compounds designed to circumvent resistance. John’s passion stems from the opportunity to ask thought-provoking scientific questions and explore the answers to them.

Roxanne Openshaw

Roxanne Openshaw Profile Pic In 2013, I completed my undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and geology at Rhodes University. I completed my Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Ccemistry at Rhodes University. My Honours project, under the supervision of Distinguished Professor Tebello Nyokong, was based on octacarboxy zinc phthalocyanines with regards to photodynamic therapy, platinum toxicity and their effect on MCF-7 breast cancer cells. For 2015, I will be starting my Masters in chemistry on antimalarial studies based on, “Assay of cellular haemozoin inhibition by β-­haematin inhibitors and their derivatives discovered by high throughput screening” with Professor Timothy J. Egan. Even though I am a girlie-girl I am very passionate about science as I wish to one day be able to contribute to the worldwide research for cures thus being able to help those in need.

John Woodland

John Woodland John Woodland completed his BSc(Hons) at UCT in 2011, specialising in chemistry but also majoring in biochemistry (and some philosophy) along the way. Co-supervised by Professor Roger Hunter, John is interested in combining synthetic organic chemistry, spectroscopic techniques and fluorescence microscopy to probe the mechanisms of action of quinoline-based antimalarials. He is enticed by chemical biology and exploiting the principles of chemistry in order to understand biological systems. John is passionate about communicating science and this has led to his involvement in outreach initiatives within the Chemistry Department as well as participation in local and international science competitions (FameLab SA and the Falling Walls Lab). John’s other passion is music: he plays the organ, directed the UCT Choir for three years (2010-2012) is also a presenter on the local classical and jazz radio station, Fine Music Radio. Outside the lab he can also be caught enjoying quinine in another form (this time with gin, and not for its antimalarial properties).