The organic chemistry initiatives at Stellenbosch University mainly focuses on the synthesis and the preparation of both novel and previously known molecules for application and use as functional materials, as enzyme probes and inhibitors, and as ligands for new catalysts.
Relevant Research Groups
Research Summary: We are interested in functionalizing the resorcinarene skeleton as a ligand for transition metal based organic transformations, with the aim of developing new selective catalysts that can be used in synthetic organic chemistry.
Research Summary: I run a multidisciplinary research group with interests in medicinal chemistry, chemical education and the philosophy of science, education and chemistry. The focus of medicinal chemistry is the rational design and synthesis of novel compounds as potential anti-malarial drugs and other tropical diseases. My interests in chemical education and philosophy of chemistry and education are complementary to one another. The primary endeavour is to develop curricula, tools and educational aids with a solid foundational philosophy in order to better prepare the next generation of chemists.
Research Summary: Professor van Otterlo's research thrusts are mainly focused on the utilization of modern synthetic methodologies for the synthesis of functional organic molecules. The main research areas are (a) The development of novel synthetic methodology; (b) Medicinal chemistry: the synthesis of bioactive molecules and utilization of chemical biology and (c) Synthesis of novel functional materials based on carbon.
Research Summary: My broad research interest is to use a multi-disciplinary approach to understand the mechanisms behind the cancer preventative properties of natural dietary compounds. Specific compounds have included polysulfanes from garlic, isothiocyanates from coniferous vegetables and flavonoids which are found in a variety of edible and medicinal plants. I have a fundamental training in synthetic organic and medicinal chemistry but have worked for many years in the biological sciences. I therefore work at the interface of chemistry and biology where I use synthesis as a tool to understand the chemistry occurring between a small molecule in its biological environment. To this end we have synthesised a number of “tagged” analogues of bioactive natural compounds which we have used as tools to track and probe their mechanism in cancer cells.