Chemistry research groups in Zambia
IPICS supports two research groups at Department of Chemistry, University of Zambia:
- Sustainable chemistry and environmental project (IPICS ZAM01)
Sustainable Chemistry and Environmental Project
The sustainable chemistry and environment project at Department of Chemistry, University of Zambia, started in 2011 with support from ISP. The research group consists of the whole Department of Chemistry at University of Zambia, and is coordinated by Dr Onesmus Munyati.
The overall objective of the group is to prepare, characterize and study relationships of nano-structure of multiphase conducting polymers particles for detection of organic chemical pollutants in the environment. Many industrial activities in mining, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and others introduce organic pollutants into the environment. Many of these pollutants have well documented health effects. It is therefore desirable to monitor their entry and persistence in the environment.
Dr Onesmus Munyati, Department of Chemistry, University of Zambia
Natural products research for non-communicable and communicable diseases
This research group at Department of Chemistry, University of Zambia, started to receive ISP support in 2021. The activities are coordinated by Dr James Nyirenda.
Due to the increase in the cost of living and inability by many to procure conventional anti-diabetic and anti-hypertensive drugs and also due to undesirable side effects such conventional drugs bring about, many people in poor countries have turned to nature as a supply of medicine. Natural products mainly of plant origin are used as traditional complementary and alternative medicines (TCAM). Plant natural products have been used for millennia and possess antioxidant, antibacterial, antifugal, antiprotozoan and antiviral properties, some of which have resulted into leads for conventional synthetic drugs.
The government of Zambia is promoting TCAM in addition to conventional therapies so that the economic gap is filled quickly while adhering to the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on TCAM.
The main focus for this research group is to non-communicable diseases (e.g. diabetes, hypertension, breast, cervical and prostate cancer) and for communicable diseases (e.g. zoonotic infections such as corona viruses as well as schistosomiasis, malaria and trachoma).
The group has a two-pronged approach in achieving its goals:
- Establishment of plant-derived active pure compounds useful in medicine.
- Use synthetic chemistry to make such compounds in large amounts for further testing.
Dr James Nyirenda, Department of Chemistry, University of Zambia