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Research niche and analytical support areas

Research niche areas:

Biocatalysis and Actinomycete biology - The aim is the discovery and production of novel enzymes with novel reaction mechanisms have been identified as one of the key focus areas that would assist with the realisation of the development of such bio-based processes. Novel enzymes from the industrially-relevant group of bacteria, the actinobacteria (including the filamentous actinomycetes), is the focus of this research niche area, with the underexplored biodiverse environments of South Africa serving as a source for novel strains.

Chemoprevention - The aim is the development of basic strategies for cancer intervention studies by using various model systems that will provide information on the mechanisms of cancer induction and/or inhibition of neoplastic growth, toxicity, dose-response selection and suitable time points to establish anti-cancer agents effective in chemoprevention studies.

Oxidative stress in health and disease development - The main aim is to address the involvement of oxidative stress and/or redox imbalance in disease development and health promotion by focusing on the indigenous herbal tea, rooibos, and other medicinal plants as an innovative measure to prevent and/or delay the onset of lifestyle diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Specific attention is paid to promote and ensure Research uptake of the research outcomes. The development of various innovative plant bio-based products and its application to improve human health are also included in this niche area.

Wastewater remediation and re-use -  This niche area focuses on: i) remediating industrial effluent such as winery, tannery, textile and sugar industry wastewater via biological and physicochemical processes (e.g nanotechnology), ii) conducting fundamental and applied research, iii) applying strategies to reduce the volume and toxicity of primary and secondary industrial wastewater sludge, and iv) generating energy or other value-added products and/or recovering resources from wastewater or wastewater sludge. The ultimate goal of the industry-based projects is to ensure uptake of technologies that have first shown promise at the laboratory, and then at pilot-scale.

Analytical platforms

Biomarker Development - The aim is the development and validation of biomarkers to monitor the efficacy of intervention in clinical trials of chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular conditions. Dietary compounds exhibiting potential to prevent chronic diseases, physiological molecules related to apoptosis, cell proliferation and cellular oxidative status as well as fatty acids, will be investigated as possible biomarkers of exposure and effect.

Proteomics  - The main aim here is to establish, develop and consolidate proteomic research in the Institute and different Focus areas across faculties at CPUT. To become an important role player in biotechnological advances, sophisticated techniques in biological research should be establish on a continued basis.