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Postdoctoral Research Fellows

Roxanne Mohunlal Profile Pic

Dr Roxanne Mohunlal

Roxanne completed her BSc (Hons) in chemistry at the University of Cape Town in 2012 Driven by her passion for science, she then pursued, and recently obtained her PhD in the field of bioinorganic chemistry focusing on malaria research, where she applied an interdisciplinary approach to investigate processes essential to survival of the malaria parasite. Currently, she is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Chemistry under the supervision of Professor Timothy Egan. Her research involves in vitro work with Plasmodium falciparum focusing on lipid trafficking within the malaria parasite and interrogating the mechanism of haemozoin formation. Roxanne thoroughly enjoys the challenges that arise in research as she believes that this nurtures independent and creative thoughts. She is always enthusiastic to get involved in science outreach activities and enjoys teaching. She is an avid reader, practices yoga to maintain her inner zen, enjoys spending quality time with loved ones and is always open to new culinary experiences.

Doctoral Students

Fatima-Zahra Ishmail

Fatima-Zahra Ishmail is a born and bred Capetonian. She obtained a B.Sc. degree with a triple major in: Genetics, Biochemistry and Chemistry in 2016 from the University of Cape Town. She decided to pursue chemistry further by doing a B.Sc.(Hons) degree in 2017 and a MSc (by dissertation) in 2018-2019, both in Chemistry at the University of Cape Town. She is currently working towards a PhD under the supervision of Professor Timothy Egan and Professor Kelly Chibale. Her project focusses on the synthesis and mechanistic studies of Thiourea Pt(II) Complexes for the treatment of the deadly malaria parasite. In addition to her love for research she enjoys spending time with her family, running, trying new foods and exploring her more artistic side through drawing and diy projects.

Constance Mawunyo Korkor

Constance is a 2nd year PhD student specialising in medicinal chemistry. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the University of Ghana before joining the University of Cape Town to pursue an MSc. She was later upgraded to PhD based on academic merit. Her project focuses on elucidating the mechanisms of action of phenotypic whole-cell active antimalarial leads and identifying their molecular targets using proteomics, genomics and drug localisation studies. She is under the supervision of Professors Kelly Chibale and Timothy Egan. Constance is passionate about being part of a trans-national effort to improve the quality of health and wellbeing for all and hopes to contribute meaningfully to healthcare systems around the world. When she is not in the laboratory, she loves to read adventure novels, visit new places and hang out with friends.

Keletso Maepa

Keletso completed his undergraduate degree (BSc) at UCT majoring in Chemistry and Human Anatomy & Physiology. He went on to do his BMedSci honours degree in Pharmacology also at UCT. Currently he is registered for a PhD degree in Pharmacology under the supervision of Prof Timothy Egan (Chemistry), Assoc Prof Lubbe Weisner (Pharmacology) and Dr Jill Combrinck (Pharmacology). His research interests are in understanding how the Plasmodium falciparum strain of malaria detoxifies haem released from the digestion of haemoglobin. With a primary focus of his research project on the interaction of Fe(III) haem with β-haematin active test compounds and their effects on  cellular haem in cultured parasites.

Roxanne Openshaw

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.

Lynn Wambua

Lynn obtained her BSc in Biochemistry and Microbiology at Rhodes University in 2014 and she completed her BSc(Hons) in Biochemistry in 2015. She obtained her Masters degree in 2017 and is currently pursuing her PhD under the supervision of Prof Timothy Egan and co-supervised by Prof Kelly Chibale. Her project focuses on investigating and characterising Plasmodium haem detoxification protein and PI4K structure-function relationships. Lynn is passionate about understanding the complex nature of the malaria parasite and hopes to make a valuable contribution to malaria drug discovery efforts. Outside of science, Lynn enjoys reading and baking.

Master's Students


Leah Amod

Leah completed her BSc in 2018 at UCT with majors in Chemistry and Genetics. She continued her specialization in Chemistry with a BSc (Hons) in 2019 and is currently pursuing an MSc under the supervision of Professor Timothy Egan. Leah has a keen interest in medicinal and analytical chemistry. Her research aims to further our understanding of the beta-haematin crystal morphology as well as develop methods of screening for beta-haematin inhibitors in silico. With this, she hopes to make a valuable contribution to the broader antimalarial community.  Outside the lab, Leah can be found drinking coffee or engaging in unnecessarily intense discussions about film and media.

Claudia Des Fountain

Claudia completed her BSc in 2017, specialising in chemistry and microbiology at Rhodes University. Continuing at Rhodes, she then went on to complete her BSc(Hons) in chemistry in 2018 under the supervision of Dr. John Mack, Dr. Vincent Smith and Distinguished Professor Tebello Nyokong. Her honours project focused on the application of novel BODIPY dyes for photodynamic antimicrobial chemotherapy applications. She is currently working towards her master’s degree under the supervision of Professors Timothy Egan and Roger Hunter. Her research combines synthetic organic chemistry and spectroscopic techniques to probe the mechanisms of action of β-haematin inhibiting quinoline-based antimalarials. She enjoys the challenges she encounters in organic synthesis as much as she enjoys finding the solutions to them. Claudia is passionate about contributing to the greater scientific community with her research in the organic synthesis and medicinal chemistry fields. She is passionate about animals and spends much of her spare time volunteering at animal sanctuaries or spending time with her family and friends.

Larnelle Garnie

Larnelle completed her BSc degree in 2017 at the University of Cape Town with majors in Chemistry and Biochemistry. Thereafter, in 2018, she obtained a first-class BSc (Hons) degree in Chemistry (UCT). Currently, she is pursuing her Master’s under the supervision of Professor Timothy Egan. Her work entails studying the haem detoxification pathway in Plasmodium falciparum using various techniques such as flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy. As an aspiring academic, she is dedicated to solving research problems and is energized by the pursuit of knowledge. In addition to her passion for scientific innovation, she is passionate about teaching and sharing knowledge. As such, she plays an active role in coordinating a student-run tutoring initiative called Help@Science and takes joy in tutoring and demonstrating for the Department of Chemistry. Outside of the lab, Larnelle (a vibrant people’s person) spends time with family and friends and is always up for a Rummikub challenge.