Home > About H3D > Our Team

Our Team

The H3D team is dynamic, committed and global, with staff members drawn from South Africa and across the world.

Prof Kelly Chibale

Director of H3D

Kelly Chibale is the Founder and Director of H3D.

Read more.
He is also the founding Director of the South African Medical Research Council Drug Discovery and Development Research Unit at the University of Cape Town (UCT). He is a full Professor of Organic Chemistry at UCT, a Tier 1 South Africa Research Chair in Drug Discovery and a Full Member of the UCT Institute of Infectious Disease & Molecular Medicine. Kelly is a Fellow of UCT, the Royal Society of South Africa and the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Kelly obtained his PhD in Synthetic Organic Chemistry from the University of Cambridge in the UK with Stuart Warren (1989-1992). This was followed by postdoctoral stints at the University of Liverpool in the UK as a British Ramsay Research Fellow with Nick Greeves (1992-94) and at The Scripps Research Institute in the USA as a Wellcome Trust International Prize Research Fellow with K.C. Nicolaou (1994-96). He was a Sandler Sabbatical Fellow at the University of California San Francisco in the USA (2002), a US Fulbright Senior Research Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in the USA (2008) and a Visiting Professor at Pfizer in the UK (2008).

Hide this content.

Med Chem

Dr Leslie Street

Principal Research Officer | Malaria Chem

Dr Leslie Street has over 25 years experience as a medicinal chemist in the drug discovery industry.

Read more.

During this time, Dr. Street led many projects targeting the central nervous system (CNS) and identified clinical candidates for various neurological and psychiatric disorders in both the UK and US. At the Merck Sharp and Dohme Neuroscience Research Centre in the UK, where Dr. Street spent 20 years, his group identified the drug MAXALTR for the treatment of migraines. Further, Leslie led projects targeting muscarinic, 5-HT1D and GABAA receptors, where several series of compounds were identified as clinical candidates.

Following Merck, Dr. Street spent 6 months at Renovis Biosciences in San Francisco, and then 5 years at Cortex Pharmaceuticals in Irvine, in Southern California, where he was responsible for directing the medicinal chemistry projects for CNS disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and opiate induced respiratory depression. From this research, several compounds were identified as pre-clinical candidates and a compound successfully completed early phase clinical studies.
Since April 2012, Dr Street has led the medicinal chemistry group at the Drug Discovery and Development Centre (H3D) at the University of Cape Town working on malaria and tuberculosis drug discovery projects.

Hide this content.

Ash Bhana

Mr Ash Bhana

Scientific Officer | Malaria Chem 

Ashlyn Bhana completed his BSc at Stellenbosch University in 2013, majoring in Chemistry, Polymer Science as well as Textile Science.
Read more.

He completed his BSc (Hons) in the following year, where he completed a mini-project within the field of Supramolecular Chemistry. In 2015, he joined GOMOC (Group of Medicinal and Organic Chemistry) at Stellenbosch University and completed his MSc in 2017 under the tutelage of Dr. Gareth Arnott within the field Organic Chemistry, which also encompassed Inorganic Chemistry (Organnometallics), where he did a follow-up project in order to flesh out more substantial results that focussed on the design of sulphur-derived resorcinarene macrocycles to be explored in their use as ligands for metal catalysts.

Ashlyn has since joined H3D as a Scientific Officer working on the discovery and development of potential drugs against malaria.


Dr André Horatscheck

Principal Scientific Officer | Malaria Chem

Dr André Horatscheck joined the MedChem group of H3D in January 2016 as Principal Scientific Officer.
Read more.

He received his Diploma in 2006 from the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin after completing his thesis in bioorganic synthesis with Prof O Seitz. He then joined the Medicinal Chemistry group of Prof J Rademann at the Leibniz-Institut für Molekulare Pharmakologie (FMP) in Berlin-Buch for his PhD thesis in 2007. During this time he worked on two main projects targeting protein tyrosine phosphatases and STAT5 in close collaboration with the institute’s Screening Unit including synthesis and in vitro assays. After receiving his PhD (Dr rer nat) at the end of 2011 from the Freie Universität Berlin, he stayed on at the FMP as a Research Scientist in medicinal chemistry for the Helmholtz drug initiative that formed part of a drug development platform at the FMP collaborating closely with the Max-Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC). In 2013, the platform became part of a newly founded MedChem group with Dr M Nazaré. During this time André led projects on the investigation of halogen-pi interactions, SAR studies and development of clathrin inhibitors and PI3K inhibitors, and prodrug approaches for clathrin inhibitors.

Hide this content.


Dr Candice Soares de Melo

Principal Scientific Officer | TB Chem

Candice Soares de Melo is a Principal Scientific Officer at the Drug Discovery
Read more.

and Development Centre (H3D) at the University of Cape Town. She has worked on several TB programs, with collaborations from HIT-TB and TBDA, focusing on hit to lead and early lead drug discovery. Dr Soares de Melo received her BsC degree in Chemistry from The University of Cape Town (2003), her Hons degree (2004) from The University of Stellenbosch and her MsC degree in Synthetic Organic Chemistry from The University of Cape Town (2006). At the end of 2006, she was awarded NWO (Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek) WOTRO fellowship to carry out her PhD at The Radboud University of Nijmegen in The Netherlands under the supervision of Professor Floris Rutjes. Her research involved the total synthesis and biological evaluation of the natural product Febrifugine and derivatives as potential antimalarial agents. After defending her PhD thesis (2010), she returned to Cape Town where she carried out four years as a postdoctoral medicinal chemist at H3D, working on TB drug discovery programs as part of the South African Tuberculosis Innovation Initiative (SATRII).

Hide this content.


Dr Claire Le Manach

Principal Scientific Officer | Malaria Chem

After graduating as a Chemical Engineer in 2004, Claire continued with a Master in Molecular and
Read more.

Supramolecular Chemistry and a PhD in Organic Chemistry at the University of Paris Sud 11, Orsay. She then focused on designing libraries to inhibit the tubulin/microtubules system using dynamic combinatorial chemistry. She obtained her PhD in 2008, after which she went over to the US for a post-doctoral position at the Center for Drug Design at the University of Minneapolis, Minnesota. After about two years there working on antibacterial projects, she left the cold of the Midwest for South Africa and joined Kelly’s group at the end of 2010 to work as a post-doctoral fellow on the MMV project for 4 years. After a 4-month break spent traveling around South America, she came back to the Cape in 2015 and joined H3-D as a principal as scientific officer where she is currently working on the MMV project.

Hide this content.


Dr Diego Gonzalez Cabrera

Principal Scientific Officer | Malaria Chem

In 2010, he took up a post-doctoral position with Prof. Kelly Chibale
Read more.

focusing on the development of new affordable therapeutic agents for the treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum and blood-stage P. vivax malaria. He was part of the team that discovered the first compound researched in Africa to enter preclinical development. The compound, MMV390048, is a very potent 2-aminopyridine analogue that displays complete cure of animals infected with malaria parasites at low doses, with the potential to become part of a single-dose cure for all strains of malaria (2010-2015).

Diego joined H3-D in February 2015 as a Principal Scientific Officer and is continuing to work on malaria programs.

Hide this content.

Dom Castell

Dr Dominic Castell

Chief Scientific Officer | Malaria Chem 

Dominic Castell joined the Medicinal Chemistry group of H3D  as a Chief Scientific Officer in June 2018.  In his new role he will be working on the development of new antimalarial drugs.
Read more.

He completed his undergraduate studies in Chemical Biology at Stellenbosch University 2011. After finishing his Chemistry Honours degree, he joined the group of Medicinal and Organic Chemistry as an MSc student in 2014, under the supervision of Dr. Gareth Arnott. His MSc project was upgraded to a PhD later that year, which was completed at the end of 2016. The project focussed on the synthesis and application of inherently chiral calixarenes, for their potential use as ligands in asymmetric catalysis.

At the beginning of 2017 he joined the supramolecular research group of Prof. Len Barbour as a postdoctoral research fellow at Stellenbosch University. During this time, his research interests entailed the synthesis development of new stimuli responsive porous materials.


Dr Grant Boyle

Principal Scientific Officer | TB Chem

Dr. Grant Boyle received his BSc and BSc (Hons.) degrees from the then University of Natal.
Read more.

He then continued with MSc and PhD degrees at the same institution which had been renamed the University of KwaZulu-Natal. These studies were carried out in the field of asymmetric catalysis under the supervision of Prof. H. G. Kruger. After completing his studies, Grant took up a position at iThemba Pharmaceuticals (Pty) Ltd. in Modderfontein, Johannesburg in June 2009. He initially worked on various in-house medchem programs in disease areas including HIV, Malaria and TB. He was later moved onto an externally funded anti-tuberculosis project (TB-Nitroimidazoles) which spanned three years. Grant was later involved in contract medicinal chemistry in collaboration with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) in disease areas such as Leichmaniasis and Trypanosomiasis.

Grant joined H3-D in November 2014 as a Principal Scientific Officer (PSO) and has worked on various TB programs within the organization, specifically as part of the team collaborating with Lilly/IDRI.

Grant has authored/co-authored more than 20 peer reviewed journal articles and is named as co-inventor on one patent. He received the SASOL Postgraduate Medal in 2009.

Hide this content.

Jean Dam

Dr. Jean Dam

Chief Scientific Officer | Malaria Chem

Jean joined H3D in August 2018 as Chief Scientific Officer. She obtained her BSc and BSc(Hons) with distinction in Chemistry from the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS).
Read more.

Thereafter, Jean began her MSc in Organic Chemistry under the supervision of Prof Charles de Koning and Dr Moira Bode at WITS in 2012. After promising early results this was converted to a PhD and during this time she was awarded a Carnegie Corporation funded fellowship (part of the Southern African Biochemistry and Informatics for Natural Products network). Jean completed her PhD in 2016. Her PhD research consisted of a medicinal chemistry study developing novel anti-cancer compounds and a synthetic methodology study into a novel synthetic route to access naturally occurring organic scaffolds.

Jean was then awarded a two year International Postdoctoral Fellowship by the National Research Foundation to further build her synthetic skills at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio under Prof Craig Forsyth. This research focused on complex natural product synthesis of Salvanorin A from the mexican sage plant. Trading snow for sea, she is now working as a chief scientific officer on the MMV malaria research project.

Hide this content.

Jessica Akester

Ms Jessica Akester

Scientific Officer  | TB Chem

Jessica Akester completed her BSc at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2013, with majors in Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Read more.

Jessica Akester completed her BSc at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2013, with majors in Chemistry and Biochemistry. In 2014, she obtained her BSc (Hons) degree in Chemistry with a first class pass at UCT and went on to pursue a MSc in medicinal chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Kelly Chibale from 2015 to 2017. Her research focused on the synthesis, structure-activity relationship and solubility profiling of a potential antimycobacterial agent.

Jessica has since joined H3D as a Scientific Officer working on various TB projects.

Hide this content.

Kawaljit Singh

Dr Kawaljit Singh

Principal Scientific Officer | TB Chem

Dr. Kawaljit Singh received his BSc (Hons.) and MSc (Hons.) degrees from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, India.
Read more.

He then continued at the same institute and received his PhD degree in February 2012 under the supervision of Prof. Kamaljit Singh. His project involved developing synthetic methodologies for regioselective synthetic transformations and applications of pyrimidin-2(1H)-one derivatives. After completing his degree, Kawaljit joined the research group of Prof. Kelly Chibale as a postdoctoral fellow in February 2012 at Department of Chemistry, University of Cape Town.

As a postdoctoral fellow, Kawaljit worked on several projects aiming toward the development of novel antimalarial and antimycobacterial agents. He has authored/co-authored approximately 16 peer reviewed journal articles.

Kawaljit joined the MedChem group of H3D in May 2016 as a Principal Scientific Officer and is working on a TB project.

Hide this content.

Lebu Taleli

Dr Lebu Taleli

Post Doc | TB Chem 

Lebu received his BSc in Chemical Technology from The National University of Lesotho, Southern Africa. In 2006, he joined iThemba LABS Radionuclides and Radiopharmaceuticals Production Department in Cape Town, South Africa.
Read more.


He was initiated in an R&D group focused on synthesis and radiolabeling of SPECT radiopharmaceuticals used for diagnosis of several cancers in nuclear medicine. He later specialised in isotopic exchange radiolabeling method for production high quality radiophamaceuticals such as 123I-[MIBG]. He has also worked on-site collaborations with the Biomedical Radiation Department for investigating the use of nucleoside mimics as delivery vectors in radiotherapy.

In 2010, he has spent time at the CSIR Biosciences in Pretoria, South Africa, under the Southern Africa Network for Biosciences flagship initiative project. He was involved in isolation and bioprospecting of natural product medicines that are indigenously used to treat HIV/AIDS and/or opportunistic infections. In 2012, he returned to Cape Town and pursued MSc over 1 year at Stellenbosch University with Prof Willem van Otterlo. He continued his PhD in Chemistry on the synthesis of polymer-bound kinase inhibitor anti-tumour agents under a joined supervision of Prof Bert Klumperman and Willem van Otterlo at the same institution. He completed his doctoral degree in Dec 2017 and Lebu joined H3D in 2018 as a postdoctoral research fellow in medicinal chemistry. 

Lutete Peguy Khonde

Dr Lutete Peguy Khonde

Chief Scientific Officer | Malaria Chem

Dr. Lutete Peguy Khonde obtained his BSc and BSc (Hons) with distinction from the University of Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo) in 2008.

Read more.

Thereafter he worked as a lab assistant and Waste Water Plant supervisor in Heineken Brewery (Kinshasa, DRC) for 2 years. His passion for research brought him to the University of Cape Town where he successfully completed his MSc degree in chemistry in June 2013. He then pursued his PhD studies at the same institution under the supervision of Dr Anwar Jardine. His research entailed the total synthesis of natural thiohistidines (ergothioneine and ovothiols) and metabolic intermediates involved in their biosynthetic pathway as potential antibacterial agents. The intellectual property of this research has been captured in a patent (Lutete named as co-inventor) and publications in peer-reviewed journals.

During his MSc and PhD studies, he was actively involved in teaching and mentoring undergraduate students across UCT. Besides being a chemistry tutor, he served as a numeracy centre tutor (CHAD department) at UCT (2015-2016).

He joined H3D in February 2017 as a postdoctoral fellow in the medicinal chemistry team. He is currently working on various malaria programs.

Hide this content.

Malkeet Kumar

Dr Malkeet Kumar

GOOT Post Doc | TB Chem 

Dr Malkeet Kumar received his BSc (Non-Medical) degree from DAV College, Amritsar, India (2009) and an MSc in Chemistry from The Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, India in 2011.
Read more.

In 2012, he took up a PhD programme with Prof Kelly Chibale at the Department of Chemistry at University of Cape Town, aimed at the development of novel organic and drug-like molecules to serve as potential anti-tuberculosis agents. He completed his PhD degree (Design, Synthesis and Biological evaluation of Verapamil analogues, Reversed Isoniazids and Hybrid efflux pump inhibitors against Mycobacterium tuberculosis) in December 2015 and continued in the group as a post-doctoral fellow in Prof. Chibale’s lab.

As a post-doctoral fellow, Malkeet has worked various medicinal chemistry and drug discovery projects aiming towards the design, development and synthesis of novel antimalarial agents. During his PhD and post-doctoral studies, Malkeet was and is actively involved in teaching and mentoring both undergraduate and postgraduate students in chemistry and lab safety. He has also attended various national and international conferences and workshops in the field of organic and medicinal chemistry.   

Currently, he is part of the joint collaborations of Prof. Chibale’s academic group and H3D for the Lead Generation Programme for tuberculosis drug discovery and development, which is aimed to add to H3D’s pursuit of novel lead molecules for further exploration.

Nishanth Kandepedu

Dr Nishanth Kandepedu

 Post Doc | Malaria Chem

Nishanth Kandepedu obtained his BPharm degree in 2010 and Master’s degree in Pharmaceutical chemistry;
Read more.

a dual degree program from Vellore Institute of Technology, India and École Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Clermont-Ferrand (ENSCCF), France in 2012 with Chancellor's gold medal. He then continued at University Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand, France with Ministère de l'enseignement supérieur et de la recherché (MESR) fellowship and received his PhD degree in November 2015 under the supervision of Prof. Yves Troin and Dr. Isabelle Abrunhosa-Thomas. His project involved the synthesis of Calcitonin Gene Related Peptide antagonists and its application in chronic visceral pain. He is an Associate member of Royal Society of Chemistry (AMRSC), represented France at European School of Medicinal Chemistry, Italy in 2014 and Trans-Mediterranean Colloquium on Heterocyclic Chemistry, Morocco with young scientist grant from IUPAC in 2013.

He joined H3D in February 2016 as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Medicinal chemistry and is currently working with Merck team to develop novel antimalarial drugs.

Hide this content.


Dr Aloysius Nchinda

Principal Scientific Officer | TB Chem

Aloysius T. Nchinda, Ph.D. is a Principal Scientific Officer at H3-D
Read more.

Drug Discovery and Development Centre at the University of Cape Town focused on Medicinal Chemistry, Hit-to-Lead and Lead Optimisation of Antimalarial and Anti-Tubercular agents. Nchinda received his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from Rhodes University in South Africa and in April 2002 he pursued postdoctoral studies at the University of Cape Town. In 2005, Nchinda accepted a Research and Development Chemist position at Fine Chemical Corporation in Epping, Cape Town where he led the process chemistry team, which resulted in the development of two new commercial APIs in the company’s product portfolio.

In late 2009, Nchinda moved to the University of Cape Town as a Chief Scientific Officer in Professor Kelly Chibale’s research group in the Department of Chemistry. In addition to serving as the laboratory manager, Nchinda also served as Project Coordinator. He is also a member of the Royal Society of South Africa and the South African Chemical Institute. Nchinda is a co-inventor of 2 patents and was part of the project team that discovered the first ever preclinical candidate (MMV390048) to come from Africa as a single dose cure for malaria.

Hide this content.

Preshendren Govender

Dr Preshendren Govender

 Principal Scientific Officer | TB Chem

Preshendren Govender obtained his BSc in 2007, qualifying him for the Dean’s Merit List, after which he completed his BSc(Hons) in 2008 at the University of Cape Town (UCT).
Read more.

His post-graduate career continued thereafter by completing a MSc in 2010 with distinction and a PhD in chemistry in 2014, specializing in organometallic and bioorganometallic chemistry, both at UCT. He has a strong publication record and was awarded a University of Cape Town Research Associateship in Science in 2013. In 2014 and 2015, two of his publications were listed as “10 most cited articles” published by the Journal of Organometallic Chemistry between 2012 and 2014.

Recently he completed a two-year post-doctoral position at UCT in the Department of Chemistry. The research performed was left field as he stepped out of his “comfort zone” of bioorganometallic chemistry and investigated aspects of homogeneous catalysis, primarily focusing on hydroformylation of long-chained alkenes. It is during these last two years that he identified his passion for teaching and research. He has successfully co-supervised and mentored a masters student at UCT, who will be graduating cum laude in June 2016, and in 2015 lectured undergraduate students in the Department of Chemistry at UCT.

Hide this content.


Dr Renier van der Westhuyzen

Research Officer | TB Chem

Dr Renier van der Westhuyzen is currently a research officer at H3D,
Read more.

University of Cape Town where he is taking a leading role in hit to lead and lead optimization projects aimed towards discovering new anti-mycobacterial therapies. Before joining H3D, he was a scientist at iThemba Pharmaceuticals (Pty) Ltd a company focused on drug discovery for neglected tropical diseases. At iThemba he was employed as a medicinal chemist working on various TB drug discovery projects. He has also completed two short sabbaticals at Novartis. At the Novartis institute for tropical disease (NITD) in Singapore he was employed as a visiting postdoctoral fellow working on improving the developabillity of an approved TB drug. At Novartis, Basel, he was trained in parallel synthesis. Before joining iThemba he completed his undergraduate studies, MSc and PhD degrees at the University of Stellenbosch. His PhD was completed under the supervision of Dr Erick Strauss and entailed the synthesis and evaluation of bacterial Coenzyme A biosynthesis pathway inhibitors.


Hide this content.


Dr Richard Gessner

Research Officer | Malaria Chem

Richard completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of Cape Town.

Read more.

After completing a PhD in 2008 under the supervision of Prof Kelly Chibale, Richard continued to work as a postdoctorate research fellow in Kelly Chibale’s group at UCT on a World Health Organization (WHO) funded malaria project. In 2011, he was accepted to attend a prestigious drug discovery work experience programme between the National Research Foundation (NRF), on behalf of the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST), and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) working in the fibrosis DPU at GSK, Stevenage, UK with Dr Simon MacDonald. Richard returned to UCT in 2012, and continued to work for a further two years as a postdoctorate fellow in tuberculosis drug discovery as a part of the SATRII (South African Tuberculosis Research Innovative Initiative) team under Kelly Chibale. Since taking up the position of Research Officer in 2014, at the H3-D Drug Discovery and Development Centre, UCT, he is responsible for overseeing TB drug discovery projects that involve multidisciplinary teams (biology/ADME/PK) at H3-D, UCT, with external partners and collaborators (including IDRI, Lilly, GSK, DDU and NIAID) within the Tuberculosis Drug Accelerator (TBDA – a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation initiative).

Hide this content.


Dr Rudolf Mueller

Chief Research Officer | TB Chem

Dr. Mueller has over 15 years of experience as medicinal chemist in drug discovery.
Read more.

During this time, Dr. Mueller identified clinical candidates for various neurological and psychiatric disorders. At Sandoz [Switzerland], Dr. Mueller synthesized peptidomimetics for the treatment of inflammatory diseases/rheumatoid arthritis. Afterwards he developed sugar and amino acid derivatives at Glycon Biochemicals [Germany]. In his more recent position at Cortex [California], Dr. Mueller was responsible for directing chemistry research projects and external CRO chemistry groups. The objective was to identify clinical candidates, based on AMPA receptor modulator technology, for neurological and psychiatric disorders e.g. ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, depression, opiate induced respiratory depression and sleep apnea. Several novel series of positive allosteric AMPA receptor modulators were identified and patented. Of these AMPAR modulators identified, one compound (CX1739) advanced into Phase II to treat respiratory depression, several others, including a water soluble prodrug, advanced into Phase I. CX1632 (S47445) was developed in collaboration with Servier (France), advancing into phase II in 2011. Dr Rudolf Mueller recently joined H3-D as Chief Research Officer with effect from January 2015

Hide this content.


Dr Sandeep Ghorpade

Chief Research Officer, Chemistry

Sandeep Ghorpade joined H3D in September 2014 as a Chief Research Officer,

Read more.

with 11+ years of drug discovery experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Sandeep worked on several lead generation programmes and a lead optimization program at AstraZeneca, India, all mostly focused on discovering new medicines for tuberculosis. Sandeep is well versed with various lead generation approaches, using target-based and whole-cell based screens and also has a keen interest in structure-based lead generation. There he published six medicinal chemistry papers and a patent based on his work in tuberculosis research. Before joining AstraZeneca, Sandeep worked at Glenmark Research Centre on diabetes projects, from which he added another patent to his credit.

Sandeep graduated in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Mumbai and he did his Ph.D. in chemistry at the National Chemical Laboratory, India, where he worked on enantioselective chemoenzymatic synthesis of chiral molecules. He worked as a post-doctoral fellow at University of North Dakota, USA in asymmetric catalysis. Altogether, he has published eight international papers and holds three US patents and several Indian patents from his academic career.

Hide this content.

Sauvik Samanta

Dr. Sauvik Samanta

Post Doc | TB Chem

Dr Sauvik Samanta completed his B.Sc. (Chemistry Honours) and M.Sc. (Organic Chemistry) from Jadavpur University, India in 2005 and 2007, respectively.
Read more.

Before joining Ph.D, he worked as a technical trainee at the CPS (Custom Pharmaceutical Services) unit of Dr. Reddy’s Laboratory Ltd, Hyderabad, India for a short period of time (August - October, 2007). He received his Doctoral Degree in 2014 from the Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India. His Ph.D research work was on Stereoselective syntheses of cyclohexenone, tetrahydropyrone and morpholinone derivatives via via organocatalytic domino reaction and enolate-dianion chemistry. Dr. Samanta was involved in a postdoctoral research (November 2014 - September 2015) at the Faculty of Chemistry, University of Warsaw, Poland as an Erasmus Mundus Postdoctoral fellow, where he worked on asymmetric synthesis of pyridine atropisomers via Suzuki reaction. Then, he joined as a Project Scientist to the Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India (October 2015 - April 2016) where his research topic was Imino-aldol and aldol reaction of morpholinones via Memory of Chirality (MOC). After that, he worked at the Department of Chemistry, University of Cape Town as a Claude Leon Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow (May 2016 – April 2018) on new methodology for aza-quaternary synthesis to Biotechnology and Medicinal Chemistry library Synthesis.

Dr. Samanta joined H3D, University of Cape Town as a Postdoctoral Fellow in July, 2018 and is working with the Celgene team to develop novel anti-tuberculosis drugs.

Hide this content.

Virsinha Reddy

Dr Virsinha V. Reddy

Post Doc  | TB Chem

Dr. Virsinha Reddy completed his BSc in 2006 from Adarsh Senior College Omerga, India.
Read more.

Then, he started his post graduate studies and received his MSc degree in 2009 from The Department of Chemistry, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India with distinction and secured a 3rd rank. Thereafter, he qualified national level exams National Eligibility Test (NET) and Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) in 2010 to get financial support during the PhD tenure. In August 2010, he began his PhD career with Dr. R. Vijaya Anand at The Department of Chemical Sciences, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Mohali (IISERM), India and completed in June 2016. During his PhD research, he was working on metal catalyzed domino electrophilic cyclization approaches toward benzannulated N-heterocycles and related natural products. He has authored/co-authored a total of 8 publications in peer reviewed international journals. “One of his articles was one of the top twenty Most Read articles in July 2015” which has been published by Organic Letters.

Virsinha joined H3D as a Post-doctoral research fellow in mid-2016 to assist the malaria team working on the NITD project to investigate a novel antimalarial candidate. Since March 2017, he is working on DuPont TB series to find potent anti-tuberculosis drugs.

Hide this content.


Dr Greg Basarab 

Head of DMPK

Greg Basarab has worked in various aspects of antibacterial and antifungal infection research

Read more.

for over 30 years at AstraZeneca and at DuPont before joining the H3D. novel mode-of-action antibacterial drugs. Two projects led to the identification of drug candidates that entered human clinical trials including one currently in Phase II trials for the treatment of gonorrhea. He is the primary inventor of the two clinical candidates and the inventor otherwise of over 30 patent applications, 19 of which have been granted. Earlier in his career, he led projects at in three departments of the DuPont Corporation: Central Research & Development, Biochemicals and Agricultural Products working mostly in the antifungal arena and in automated chemical synthesis. Before that, he received his academic training first from the Pennsylvania State University to earn a B.S. in Chemistry and then from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology working in natural products total synthesis to earn a Ph.D. in Chemistry.

Hide this content.


Dr Christel Brunschwig

Principal Scientific Officer | DMPK

Received her Msc and Chemical Engineering Degree from ENSIACET,
Read more.

Toulouse in 2004 and obtained her PhD in Molecular Chemistry from the University of French Polynesia with Phila Raharivelomanana (2006-2009). This was followed by postdoctoral positions at 2iE (Burkina Faso), then at the University of French Guiana (2012-2014) in analytical chemistry and natural products drug discovery.

Christel joined UCT in 2014 as a post doc working on metabolite identification for H3D malaria and tuberculosis drug discovery projects.

Hide this content.


Dr Mathew Njoroge

Principal Scientific Officer | DMPK

Dr. Mathew Njoroge received his B.Pharm degree from the University of Nairobi in 2008
Read more.

and proceeded to do his PhD in Chemistry with Prof. Kelly Chibale at the University of Cape Town. His thesis focussed on the metabolism of novel antiplasmodial and antimycobacterial agents. Mathew spent three years as a postdoctoral research fellow at UCT where he was part of drug discovery teams in malaria and tuberculosis.  Mathew has recently been appointed as Principal Scientific Officer in the ADME team.

Mathew has authored/co-authored more than 10 peer-reviewed journal articles.

Hide this content.

logo placeholder

Dr Dale Taylor

Principal Scientific Officer | DMPK

Dale is a cell biologist by trade, with a background in biochemistry and microbial genetics. His first foray into the malaria field was an Honours degree in Pharmacology looking at reversing antimalarial drug resistance in vitro.
Read more.

He followed this with a PhD, extending his work to the in vivo environment. The research introduced drug/reverser combinations developed in the test tube to the malaria-infected mouse model, and coupled the efficacy findings to drug kinetics using LCMS techniques.

Dale won an NRF Scarce Skills Fellowship to evaluate the potential of new classes of antimalarials in conjunction with scientists in Delhi. Parallel to this, he was seconded to the fledgling H3D DMPK team in 2012 in a part-time capacity to develop LCMS methods for the Medicines for Malaria Venture project to conduct pharmacokinetic evaluations of promising new H3D-produced compounds in rats.

As H3D expanded, his role extended to assisting with in vitro efficacy and selectivity evaluations, correlating kinetic data to antimalarial efficacy studies conducted off-site in infected mice, and carrying out kinetic and dose escalation studies in rodents for novel scaffolds intended to treat tuberculosis.

Dale joined the DMPK team at H3D on a full-time basis in mid-2015.

Hide this content.


Dr Liezl Gibhard

Principal Scientific Officer | PK

Dr Liezl Gibhard is a research professional with experience in
Read more.

biochemistry across platforms in research, development and scientific analysis. She received her BSc (Hons.) and MSc degrees from the North-West University. She then continued with her PhD in Pharmaceutics at the same institution, carried out in the fields of malaria and nanomedicines. After completion of her studies, Liezl took up a post-doctoral position in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Cape Town. Liezl received an NRF Innovation Fellowship to evaluate the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of novel antimalarial compounds administered alone and in dual combinations with artemisinins and derivatives thereof in in rodent models.

Liezl joined the DMPK team at H3-D on a permanent basis in mid-2015.

Hide this content.


Mrs Nina Lawrence

Principal Scientific Officer, DMPK

Nina Lawrence obtained her BSc and BSc(Hons) degrees at the University of Cape Town

Read more.

and later her MSc in analytical chemistry and wine biotechnology from Stellenbosch University. In 2007 Nina accepted a position as a forensic analyst in Toxicology at the Forensic Chemistry Laboratory in Cape Town. Moving to the UK in 2008, Nina took up a position as laboratory and QA manager at Mizkan, which included managing the day to day activities in the ISO certified food laboratories and micro laboratory. In 2009 she went back to academia, where she worked as the laboratory supervisor of the Chemical Analytical Laboratory in the Institute for Wine Biotechnology at Stellenbosch University, where she was involved with wine analysis and multiway analysis of data for prediction and correlation studies to aid in wine making and labelling. Nina has been employed by H3D since 2011 and currently manages the in vitro ADME group. She is a core project member of the H3D projects within TB and malaria and has been part of an external collaboration for the development of a new human PK and dose prediction tool. Nina recently started doing her PhD part time within TB at the University of Cape Town.

Hide this content.


Ms Nesia Barnes

Senior Technical Officer | ADME

Nesia Barnes received National Diploma in Analytical Chemistry at CPUT.
Read more.

She then did her Btech in Quality at the same institution. Nesia worked for Much Asphalt a division of Murray and Roberts as a Laboratory Technician and asphalt mix designer. In 2008 she took up a position as a Laboratory Analyst at Fine Chemical Corporation and in so gained valuable experience working with in-process, raw materials, finished products and narcotics. While working there she developed a love for quality management, and was often helping out the QA Manager with in-house audits, documentation, preparing laboratory for internal and external audits.

In June 2011 Nesia joined the ADME team as a Senior Technical Officer and she is responsible for the analytical work of the ADME assays. Nesia is also responsible for training junior, new staff & Postgrad students on routine & new assays. She ensures that ADME assays are done timeously, Good Laboratory Practices are kept at all times and that assays are done properly.

Hide this content.


Mr Warren Olifant

Chief Technical Officer | ADME

Warren Olifant received his BSc from the University of the Western Cape in 2010,
Read more.

and his BSc (Hons.) degree from the University of Stellenbosch in 2012. Before the completion of his Hons degree in 2012 he took up a position as a laboratory assistant and in so gained some valuable working experience at the University of Stellenbosch working with respected doctors and professors, assisting with various ongoing projects in field of tissue culture and western blotting which spanned for a year. Warren was later involved in research projects , which involved the modulating effects of maternal exposure to nicotine and supplementation with Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) in the offspring in 2011 at the University of Stellenbosch that was based at the Tygerberg campus. In August 2013 Warren joined the ADME group H3D as a technical officer and he spends time making sure that routine work is carried out timeously.

He has future aspirations within UCT and is always looking to grow and learn in order to benefit the company and himself.

Hide this content.

Zama Ngqumba

Ms Zama Ngqumba

Senior Scientific Officer | DMPK

Zama Ngqumba is a Chemist with a background in Chromatography. Her career started in 2012, as an intern at DST-NRF working under numerous projects as the lab technician.
Read more.

She joined the ARC Infrutec/Nietvoorbij campus where she gained extensive training on the HPLC-DAD and other analytical instruments analysing wine. During this time, she took interest on the chemistry of her work and enrolled for an MTech degree: Chemistry at CPUT in 2014. Her project focused on the effect of yeast strains on the sensory properties of wine.  In 2018 she joined the PK team H3D as a Senior Scientific Officer is to provide technical and scientific support to the preclinical team.

Hide this content.

Alissa Myrick

Dr Alissa Myrick

Senior Research Officer | TB Biology 

Alissa Myrick is an infectious disease molecular biologist with over a decade of experience studying the molecular mechanisms of drug resistance in both malaria and tuberculosis.
Read more.

Alissa Myrick is an infectious disease molecular biologist with over a decade of experience studying the molecular mechanisms of drug resistance in both malaria and tuberculosis.

She has been particularly interested in studying the basic biology of efflux pumps and defining their role in modulating resistance. Dr. Myrick obtained her PhD at the Harvard School of Public Health in Prof. Dyann Wirth’s lab where she identified a novel regulatory mechanism for a plasmodial transporter protein known to modulate resistance to quinoline antimalarial compounds. She continued her studies the expression profiles of virulence genes and the natural history of plasmodial infection in Phil Rosenthal’s lab at UC San Francisco and Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.

Dr. Myrick returned to the Harvard School of Public Health as a Yerby Research Fellow to study the molecular genetics of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Eric Rubin’s lab. She developed a heterologous expression system to determine the efflux capacity and substrate specificity of individual mycobacterial transporters. This work is being expanded in an active collaboration with the Balagadde Lab at K-RITH in Durban. Finally, Dr. Myrick spent significant time in optimization of strain-building techniques for proteins essential for growth in M.tuberculosis.

Dr. Myrick will bring her biological expertise to inform drug discovery efforts at H3D.

Hide this content.

Vinayak Singh

Dr Vinayak Singh

 Research Officer | TB Biology

Vinayak (MSc-Biotechnology, PhD-Biochemistry) is an exceptionally skilled experimental biologist with more than 12 years of extensive research experience.
Read more.

He has outstanding knowledge of the field of Microbiology, and of the related fields of Biochemistry as well as microbial Genetics, Genomics and Physiology, especially as they apply to tuberculosis. Vinayak’s exceptional skills as a microbiologist with high-level expertise in antimicrobial drug discovery and development began from his experience at the CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute in Lucknow, India, where he completed a PhD degree in Biochemistry. Next, he joined the University of Cape Town (UCT) where he worked as a postdoctoral fellow (2011-2016) in the eminent lab of Prof. Valerie Mizrahi in the fields of Microbiology, Biochemistry, Microbial Genetics and Metabolomics. At UCT he was solely responsible for the experimental work conducted under the auspices of the More Medicines for Tuberculosis (MM4TB) consortium, a drug discovery consortium led by Prof. Stewart Cole, comprising groups from 25 institutions from Europe, India, the USA and South Africa, funded by the European Union under the Seventh Framework Programme.

Vinayak has been remarkably productive in his PhD and postdoc, serving as the lead researcher on studies that have been published in top international journals and presented at major international conferences. Importantly, he has identified and validated 15 novel tuberculosis drug targets which have attracted significant interest in the global tuberculosis research community. His work is defined by the characteristics of scientific excellence and rigour.

Being an artist of Molecular networks, Genomics and Metabolomics, his main interest at H3D is to deconvolute mechanism of action of potential compounds - to fulfil a broad and acute interest in the discovery of new innovative drugs.

Hide this content.

Antonina Wasuna

Dr Antonina Wasuna

GOOT Post Doc | TB Biology 

Antonina obtained her BPharm degree from the University of Nairobi in 2008 and worked as a pharmacist at the Ministry of Medical Services in Kenya.
Read more.

In February 2011, she embarked on an MSc in Chemistry at the University of Cape Town in the lab of Prof. Kelly Chibale, consequently upgrading to a PhD in 2012. Her doctoral thesis focused on drug repositioning of a natural product for Tuberculosis, in which she applied medicinal chemistry and biology techniques, under the co-supervision of Associate Prof. Digby F. Warner at the University of Cape Town’s Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine.

Lauren Arendse

Dr Lauren Arendse 

Post Doc | Enzymology

Lizbe Koekemoer

Dr Lizbe Koekemoer

 Post Doc | TB Biology

Lizbé obtained her BSc in Chemical Biology and B.Sc Hons in Chemistry (cum laude) from Stellenbosch University.

Read more.

Thereafter she joined Erick Strauss’s Chemical biology group at Stellenbosch, as one of the founding members, where she obtained her MSc (Chemistry) working on elucidating pathways of β-alanine production in Mycobacterium tuberculosis.  This was followed by a brief period in the FMCG industry at Unilever where she worked as an evaluation technologist in the Household care category. After two years of testing laundry products in Durban she returned to Stellenbosch to re-join Erick’s research group for a PhD (Chemistry) and subsequent Postdoc. Her research utilized various chemistry, molecular biology and enzymology techniques to investigate the activity and inhibition properties of pantothenate kinases (PanK), the enzymes which catalyse the first step in the universal biosynthesis pathway of Coenzyme A. She also supervised numerous Honours students and was involved as a tutorial lecturer and in practical course development for selected undergraduate Biochemistry courses during this time.

Lizbé joined the H3D TB biology team in September 2016 as postdoctoral fellow to investigate and implement target specific biochemical assays.

Hide this content.

Ronnett Seldon

Mrs Ronnett Seldon

Laboratory Technical Officer | TB Biology

Ronnett Seldon, a Medical Laboratory Scientist, obtained a Btech degree: Biomedical Technology (Microbiology), from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology,
Read more.

followed by a MSc. Med degree: Clinical Sciences and Immunology, from the University of Cape Town, for the thesis: The Phenotypical Analysis of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Specific CD4 T Cells That Expand During Combined Antiretroviral Therapy in People with Latent Tuberculosis Infection. Her multi-disciplinary laboratory science experience includes Diagnostic Medical Microbiology (diagnostics and supervision of clinical trial laboratory protocols), Mammalian Molecular and Cell biology in the context of pro-angiogenic assay development, Immuno-science in the context of clinico-pathological studies into the immunology of tuberculosis and HIV co-infection, Molecular characterization of clinical M. tuberculosis isolates, and Drug Discovery laboratory science in the context of anti-tuberculosis drug development. She also has extensive BSL2 laboratory, BSL3 laboratory, and data management experience. She has co-authored more than 20 peer reviewed journal articles.

She joined H3D in September 2013 and works within the TB biology group.

Hide this content.


Mrs Sumaya Salie

Technical Officer | Parasitology

She was trained in tissue culture techniques.
Read more.

Sumaya is responsible for the daily running of the tissue culture.

Hide this content.

Tando Ntsabo

Ms Tandokazi Ntsabo

Senior Scientific Officer | TB Biology

Tandokazi Ntsabo completed her BTech degree in Biotechnology from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in 2012, majoring in Biochemistry and Microbiology.
Read more.

She then obtained a BTech degree in Quality from the same university in 2016. As a Laboratory Technologist she has been involved in various studies pertaining to TB drug trials.  She has extensive BSL 2 and BSL 3 laboratory experience. She later joined Desmond Tutu TB Centre at Stellenbosch University as a Senior Laboratory Technologist where she was involved in a clinical research project - Population Effects of Antiretroviral Therapy to Reduce HIV Transmission (HPTN 071 PopART study) one of the largest HIV trials in the world. She looks forward to utilize her knowledge, skills, and abilities at H3D and gain exposure to upcoming technologies while being resourceful, innovative and flexible.


Mr Virgil Verhoog

Senior Technical Officer | Parasitology

Virgil has been working in the division of Clinical Pharmacology for 4 years.
Read more.

He was trained in-house in tissue culture techniques. Virgil is responsible for in vitro antiplasmodial and cytotoxicity testing as well as maintenance of various laboratories. He is a technical officer in the H3D team.

Hide this content.

Vuyelwa Stuurman

Ms Vuyelwa Stuurman

Laboratory Assistant | Parasitology

your content

Dr Joe Eyermann

Head of CADD | CADD

Dr. Joe Eyermann is a computational chemist with
Read more.

structure-based drug design methods to drug discovery. His work has been primarily focused on the design of new anti-infectives. As an early adopter of 3D database searching for use in scaffold hopping to identify new medicinal chemistry leads, he was part of the team which designed the cyclic urea class of HIV protease inhibitors that led to two clinical candidates. His more recent work has involved the design of new treatments for serious gram-negative infections with an emphasis on developing a better understanding of the kinetics of influx and efflux across the outer membrane of gram-negative bacteria.

Dr. Eyermann earned his PhD in inorganic chemistry from Miami University in 1981 and subsequently joined the DuPont Central Research Department where he worked with the research staff for 13 years in applying computational chemistry methods to a diverse range of molecular design projects. Before joining H3-D in 2015, he spent 16 years at AstraZeneca working on the design of novel anti-bacterials, highlighted by the discovery of novel topoisomerase inhibitors which entered clinical trials. Dr. Eyermann has published 45+ peer reviewed papers and is the holder of 10 granted patents.

Hide this content.

Stephen Fienberg

Dr Stephen Fienberg

GOOT Post Doc | CADD

Dr Stephen Fienberg received his BSc (Hons) in chemistry from the University of Cape Town in 2011. In 2012 he started an MSc under the supervision of Prof Kelly Chibale in the field of Computer Aided Drug Discovery (CADD).
Read more.

He upgraded to a PhD the following year with Prof Edward Sturrock joining his project as a co-supervisor. His PhD explored a structure based CADD approach to optimise Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. In 2013 he undertook a fellowship at the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research (NIBR) in Cambridge Massachusetts where he acquired experience in molecular dynamics (MD). He graduated with a PhD in 2017 and has since commenced a Post-doc with H3D.

He is currently involved in joint collaborations with Prof Kelly Chibale’s academic group and the H3D malaria team. Under the mentorship of Dr Joe Eyermann, he has been working on structure based lead optimisation of antimalarial kinase inhibitors.

Hide this content.

Operation and PM

Dr Susan Winks

Operations and Research Project Manager

Susan Winks obtained her BSc with distinction in Chemistry and Biochemistry
Read more.

from the University of Cape Town in 2004 and later her BSc(Hons) degree in 2005 also from the University of Cape Town. She came top of her class for honours, winning herself the James Mohr Medal. In 2006 she moved to Johannesburg where she studied her PhD at the University of the Witwatersrand under the supervision of Prof. Jo Michael. During the following 4 years Susan worked as a Teaching Assistant and lectured chemistry to undergraduates. At the end of 2009 Susan completed her PhD entitled “Vinylogous Sulfonamides in the Total Synthesis of Indolizidine Alkaloids from Amphibians and Ants”.

In 2010 Susan started working as a research scientist at Ithemba Pharmaceuticals Ptd Ltd, a start-up biotech focused on drug discovery for neglected diseases. In 2011 she was promoted to Principal Scientist and with her increased involvement in managerial activities she decided to pursue a part-time MBA through the Management College of South Africa, which she obtained in 2014. Susan joined H3D as a Research Officer in August 2013 and in 2015 she retired from the lab bench to increase her involvement in project management and operations at H3D.

Hide this content.


Ms Alicia Okeyo

Project and Research Operations Manager

Alicia Okeyo obtained her Bsc in Genetics and Applied Biology for the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2012.
Read more.

Hoping to broaden her perspective and feed her passion for multiple disciplines, she went onto obtain a Postgraduate Diploma in Management and then a BSocSci (Hons) in Social Development, also at UCT. She later found her niche after obtain her master’s degree in Programme Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) for the same university. During her studies, Alicia worked as Research intern at the Heinrich Boll Foundation, as well as a freelance monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) consultant.

In 2015 Alicia started working as a Science Communications Assistant at African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI). ACDI is an inter- and transdisciplinary research and training Institute that brings together academics across UCT, NGOs, business, civil society and government to co-produce and test new insights, evidence and innovations that will help to solve Africa's climate and development challenge.

In 2016, having completing her master’s degree, she was promoted to Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at ACDI, with increased involvement in project coordination, research management, contributions to strategy development, and organisational learning and change processes. In the same year, she also set up an independent consultancy, part-time, through which she has collaboratively offered MEL services to several organisations and projects.

Alicia joined H3D as the Project and Research Operations Manager in January 2019, where she will work to improve operations and demonstrate research impact across the breadth of projects within the organisations.

Hide this content.

Amina Sayed

Ms Amina Sayed

Senior Technical Officer  

Amina is responsible for the analytical instrumentation in the chemistry laboratories

Read more.

Deidre van Rooyen

Ms Deidre van Rooyen

Laboratory Administrator

Deidre completed her undergraduate degree in Biotechnology at the University of the Western Cape (2010).
Read more.

In 2011 she obtained her Honours degree in Biotechnology, majoring in Proteomics. She joined the Centre for Proteomic and Genomic Research (CPGR) as part of the DST/NRF Internship Program in 2012 and worked as a team member on a major oncogene project.

In 2014 she accepted a Research Technician position at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), where she spent 2 years managing the Cancer Genomics lab.

Deidre joined H3D in January 2016 and her roles currently include procurement, sample management and laboratory administration.

Hide this content.


Mrs Ayesha Banderker

Senior Financial Officer | Admin


Mrs Elaine Rutherfoord-Jones

Admin Officer | Admin

Elaine first trained as a primary school teacher in Zimbabwe (majoring in English and primary level education) and learned to appreciate the 25 hour day of a teacher!

Read more.

After two years in practice, she decided that was not her vocation and travelled to Cape Town where she completed a BSoc Sci at the University of Cape Town (UCT), which she thoroughly enjoyed, majoring in Industrial Psychology and Public Administration.  This was followed by a brief business course and then she worked for a few years in the Committee office at the City of Cape Town, where she honed her writing and editing skills, writing minutes of Executive Committee meetings, dealing with some very interesting Personnel matters.   Then she had a 10 year break from paid work, bringing up her two sons.  In 2001 she started work as Administrator for the Royal Society of South Africa (RSSA) on the UCT campus, in the PD Hahn building!  This was a fulfilling, but somewhat lonely post, only meeting the RSSA members once a month.  A few years later she then moved over to working for UCT with some contract work for the Science Faculty Office, Post Graduate funding office and then the Chemistry Department.  Elaine started working for Kelly Chibale part time in 2008 and from then on, his research group grew exponentially and the rest is History! 

Hide this content.


Mrs Saroja Naicker

Admin Assistant | Admin