Graduation

Doctor of Philosophy

Dorsamy, Vinogrin, BSc, BMedScHons, MMedSc………………………………Obstetrics And Gynaecology
Thesis: The trio of anaemia, parasites and pre-eclampsia in Black African women in South
Africa
Citation: Mr Dorsamy investigated iron supplementation during pregnancy. Low iron levels is a
common cause of anaemia, however it may lead to iron overload and co-morbidities.
Iron supplementation, parasitic infestations, pre-eclampsia and birth outcomes were
studied and found that iron overload leads to underlying inflammation and adverse
birth outcomes. In particular, pre-eclampsia was associated with iron overload. This
information will lead to changes in clinical practice.
Supervisors: Professor J Moodley and Dr CI Bagwandeen

Manickum, Prabashni, BPhys, M(HandRehab)………………………………………………………………… Surgery
Thesis: Lower limb amputations among diabetic patients in Durban. An understanding of the
burden of disease and referral to rehabilitation as well as an evaluation of a training
strategy for the prevention of diabetic foot complications
Citation: This study examined the prevalence and outcomes of lower limb amputations at a
regional hospital in Kwazulu-Natal during the period 2010-2017. Diabetic related
conditions accounted for more than 50% of presenting lower limb amputations.
Limited referral of amputees for rehabilitation resulted in poor functional outcomes.
Interventions for improving patient footcare knowledge and practices at PHC clinics
and an interprofessional team-based approach for diabetic foot management at
hospital level were proposed
Supervisors: Professor TE Madiba and Dr SS Ramklass

Naidoo, Natasha, MBCHB5, FCS (SA)(CollMedSA), MMed………………………………………………… Surgery
Thesis: Surgical site infections at a tertiary South African hospital: Epidemiology and impact
on healthcare resources
Citation: Dr Naidoo investigated challenges posed by surgical site infection at a South African
quaternary hospital. She established the incidence of infection, its associated risk
factors, its impact on hospitalisation costs, and laboratory-based tools for identifying
high-risk patients. Her research contributes towards improving our sparse knowledge
of surgical site infection in the South African context and has the potential to enhance
patient management and healthcare resource utilisation in this setting
Supervisors: Dr Y Moodley and Professor TE Madiba

Oosthuizen, George Valentine Eastland, MBChB(UPret)………………………………………………………..Surgery
Thesis: An audit of bowel repair in trauma patients and an investigation into the management
of suture line failure
Citation: This thesis is a PhD by publication which reviews our experience with enteric/colonic
trauma over the past decade. It focuses on the most important complication of the
management of enteric/colonic trauma, namely anastomotic failure, and builds on
the significant previous body of work from the University of Natal under Professors
Baker, Robbs, Thomson, Madiba and Muckart. It updates our experience and
integrates it into contemporary theory and praxis.
Supervisor: Professor DL Clarke

Smith, Michelle Terry Dolores, MBChB(StellU), MMed……………………………………………….Surgery
Thesis: Defining modifiers and predictors of outcome in patients undergoing emergency
laparotomy for non-trauma
Citation: Acute Care Surgery has seen the extension of damage control surgery (DCS) principles
to the non-trauma patient. Without indications that are specific to non-trauma
patients it may be difficult to emulate these results. Comorbidities were found to
be independent risk factors for mortality and adverse events, as was operative time
exceeding 90 mins. Algorithms were developed to identify high-risk patients that
may be considered for a staged management approach.
Supervisor: Professor DL Clarke

Spooner, Elizabeth, MBChB(Wits)………………………………………………………………………………..Paediatrics
Thesis: Point of care in HIV and TB
Citation: Dr Spooner explored the clinical benefit of Point-of-care testing in HIV and TB, doing
3 studies. TB-LAMP and TB-LAM testing in pre-ART adults showed the accuracy of
TB-LAMP and add-in value of TB-LAM. Rapid CD4 testing in pre-ART adults showed
most benefit in the vulnerable with low CD4 counts. Rapid HIV testing in infants of
HIV-infected mothers at birth and 10-weeks showed accuracy and high acceptability
to mothers and staff
Supervisor: Professor A Coutsoudis

Chamane, Nkosinothando, BSc, PGCert(Ed), BEdHons, MEd…………………………………………….Public Health
Thesis: Experiential Learning Training Programme for HIV Point-Of-Care Diagnostics in
Rural Primary Health Care Clinics, Kwazulu-Natal: A Feasibility Study
Citation: The study aimed to determine the feasibility of implementing a structured
experiential learning training program to improve the quality of POC diagnostics
services in rural PHC clinics of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. A mixed methods
approach was employed to address four research objectives. It was shown that it
is feasible to implement a structured experimental learning curriculum through
mobile learning, however digital inequalities due to resourcing barriers need to
be addressed
Supervisor: Professor TP Mashamba-Thompson

Gengiah, Santhanalakshmi, BA(Psych), BAHons, MA………………………………………………………..Public Health
Thesis: The association of organizational contextual factors and TB-HIV service integration
following exposure to Quality Improvement (QI) interventions in Primary Health
Care (PHC) Clinics in rural KwaZulu-Natal
Citation: Integrated HIV-Tuberculosis service delivery is key to reducing mortality in patients
with HIV. This PhD project demonstrated that quality improvement methods are
effective in improving Isoniazid Preventive Therapy initiation and HIV testing
rates in primary healthcare clinics. Study recommendations included: widespread
dissemination of QI training for healthcare workers; improvement in data quality to
facilitate future QI scale-up; and fostering a culture of using data for improvement
among healthcare workers
Supervisors: Ms MP Loveday and Professor M Taylor

Hlongwa, Mbuzeleni Ndabayakhe, BSocSc, BSocScHons, MA(Wits)………………………Public Health
Thesis: Factors influencing contraceptive use and sexual behaviour among women of
reproductive age in Umlazi Township, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Citation: Universal access to contraception is one of the cornerstones of reproductive
health. However, the degree to which women manage various aspects of their
sexual lives, including the prevention of unplanned pregnancies, continues to
raise important questions. The candidate conducted a mixed-methods study to
investigate predictors for contraceptive use and risky sexual behaviour among
women of reproductive age in Umlazi Township, KwaZulu-Natal, both from a user
and provider perspective
Supervisor: Dr KW Hlongwana

Ibu, Josephine Moshe, BScNurs(UNigeria), MScNurs(UIbadan) ……………………………………..Nursing
Thesis: An analysis of the implementation of the mentor-mother program for preventing
mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the department of defence in Abuja- Nigeria
Citation: The utilisation of sero-positive mothers as peer Mentors in preventing mother-tochild
transmission of HIV in the military health facilities was a strategy adopted by
the Nigeria military in combating the paediatric HIV pandemic. The framework for
implementing the Mentor Mother programme in other health facilities was based on
participants’ views and suggestions. Findings provided effective tools for preventing
perinatal HIV transmission among women and young girls of childbearing age
Supervisor: Dr EM Mhlongo

Marume, Anesu, BSc(UZim), MPubHlth(UZim)…………………………………………………………Public Health
Thesis: Contextualizing the high stunting rate among children below five years in a high
rainfall and agricultural region, Mutasa District, Zimbabwe
Citation: Marume validated the applicability of the WHO growth standards in assessing
child growth in Zimbabwe. The study found the WHO growth standards as overestimating
the burden of stunting and underweight in Zimbabwe while underestimating
childhood obesity. His study revealed presence of multiple predictors of
childhood stunting and deficiencies in the child growth monitoring program. The
results were used in developing a model for prompt identification and management
of childhood malnutrition
Supervisors: Dr S Mahomed and Dr M Archary

Melariri, Herbert Ikechukwu, BMedSc(UPHarcourt), MBBS(UPHarcourt), M-PH(RoehamU)………
Public Health
Thesis: Evaluation of health promotion roles and services offered by health workers in The
Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality of Eastern Cape, South Africa
Citation: The study identified health promotion (HP) measuring indicators, enablers, and
hindrances among healthcare workers (HCWs) at various healthcare levels in South Africa and unravelled that inadequate HP knowledge among HCWs, lack of
coordinated HP training and operational strategy in health care facilities negatively
influenced health outcomes. Furthermore, the study shows that behavioural
changes of HCWs, patients, structural reorganization and reprioritization in health
care systems are vital in enhancing health outcomes
Supervisor: Professor MJ Chimbari

Moabi, Pule Solomon, BACur(UNISA), PGDip(PubHlth)(UNISA), MPubHlth(UNISA)…………Nursing
Thesis: Development of a model to guide the implementation of Simulation-Based
Education in under-resourced nursing education institutions in Lesotho
Citation: The adoption of competency-based nursing education together with simulationbased
learning is a policy directive in Lesotho. Implementing simulation-based
education (SBE) is a worthwhile and yet a costly exercise. Using an explanatory mixedmethods
approach, the study generated a model to guide the implementation of
SBE in under-resourced nursing education institutions
Supervisor: Professor NG Mtshali

Salifu, Rita Suhuyini, BSc(UGhana), MIntHlth(Copenhagen) …………………………………Public Health
Thesis: Barriers and Facilitators to the Implementation of the Collaborative Framework
for the Care and Control of Tuberculosis (TB) and Diabetes (DM) in Ghana
Citation: I explored the perspectives of policymakers, program managers, health facility
managers, and front-line implementers on the implementation of the Collaborative
Framework for Care and Control of Tuberculosis and Diabetes in Ghana. My study
highlights factors that can support/ inform the adaptation of the collaborative
framework to Ghana’s local context to reduce the burden of TB/DM comorbidity
Supervisor: Dr KW Hlongwana

Van Oers, Helena, BA, BA(Hon), MA ………………………………………………………………………………Family Medicine
Thesis: The experience of anxiety and depression and their sequelae in breast cancer
patients: effects of disease and treatment on patient self-esteem, body image, and
the prevalence of hopelessness and suicidal ideation
Citation: The psychological needs of breast cancer patients are frequently under- identified.
This research aimed to examine the psychological effects of disease and treatment
in women diagnosed with breast cancer and determine if these differed from those
experienced by women with other cancers. The importance of this study is the
evidence that breast patients experience greater body image dysphoria, as well as
higher levels of stress with elevated psychological and behavioural responses
Supervisors: Professor L Schlebusch and Professor BM Gaede

Akinpelu, Ibrahim Olayinka, BSc(UIbadan), MSc(UIbadan)………………Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Thesis: Identifying possible antitubercular drug candidates targeting Mtb-FtsZ – A
computational perspective
Citation: Olayinka’s doctoral research focused on the identification of possible antitubercular
leads targeting Mycobacterium tuberculosis filamentous temperature sensitive
mutant Z (Mtb-FtsZ). Using state of the art computational tools and approaches, the
study identified fusidic acid, some trisubstituted benzimidazoles and derivatives
of berberine as possible lead compounds for tuberculosis drug development
targeting FtsZ
Supervisors: Dr HM Kumalo, Dr NN Mhlongo and Dr SI Ndlovu

Fasiku, Victoria Oluwaseun, BTech(FederalUTech), MSc(FederalUTech)…………….. Pharmaceutics
Thesis: Carbohydrate polymer based-free radical releasing gels for biofilm eradication
Citation: Infectious diseases such as bacterial infections are closely associated with
biofilms formed by several bacteria strains. Alternate delivery systems such as
hydrogel have the potential to combat biofilms. Carbohydrate-based gel delivery
systems were prepared and characterized using various in-silico, in-vitro and invivo
techniques. The results confirmed the systems to be biosafe and showed an
enhanced ability to eliminate biofilms; thus, the system can potentially improve
the quality of human health
Supervisors: Professor T Govender and Dr CA Omolo

Ibrahim, Usri Hassan Abdelgadir, BPharm(UKhartoum), MSc(Univ. Medical Sci)………Pharmaceutics
Thesis: Design and synthesis of smart biomaterials for the development of multifunctional
stimuli-responsive antibiotic nano-delivery systems
Citation: The global antimicrobial resistance crisis has exacerbated the threat of bacterial
infections to human life. Dr. Usri designed and synthesized smart biomaterials and
explored their potential to develop biomimetic stimuli-responsive nano-delivery
systems as an innovative strategy to combat antibiotic resistance. Nanosystems obtained were biocompatible with stimuli-responsive drug release and superior
antibacterial activity against resistant bacteria and their virulence factors. These
nanotherapeutics can improve antibiotics delivery and their overall clinical outputs
Supervisors: Professor T Govender and Dr CA Omolo

Karani, Tasneem Fareed, BAHons(Wits)……………………………………. Speech And Language Therapy
Thesis: Crispy, Crunchy and crackly: An exploration of food textural acoustics on the
swallow mechanism
Citation: This study explored the relationship between the human swallow mechanism and
sounds associated with texturally hard foods. literature exploration and expert
consultations depicted the sensibility of food sounds. The pilot study (instrumental
swallow assessments and perceptual questionnaires) indicated links between
swallowing force and timing, enjoyment, and food sounds. This study concluded
that food sounds may be considered to develop safe, enjoyable and potentially
therapeutic foods for individuals with swallowing disorders
Supervisor: Professor M Pillay

Mohammed Osman, Nawras Abdelmoniem, BPharm(UGezira), MPharm……….. Pharmaceutics
Thesis: Surface modification of nano-drug delivery systems for enhancing antibiotic
delivery and activity to combat antibiotic resistance
Citation: Despite the significant progress toward treating bacterial infections, the spread
of antimicrobial resistance is rising and heading towards a “post-antibiotic
era”. Amongst approaches that could be taken to address this issue is surface
modifications of nanocarriers. Surface modification of antibiotic-loaded niosomes
with innovative stimuli-responsive polymers was investigated. These novel coating
polymers were confirmed as a promising strategy for enhancing antibiotic delivery
and activity to combat antibiotic resistance
Supervisors: Professor T Govender and Dr CA Omolo

Paken, Jessica, BCommPath(Audio), MCommPath(Audio)…………………………………………..Audiology
Thesis: Cisplatin-associated ototoxicity amongst patients receiving cancer chemotherapy
and the feasibility of an audiological monitoring program at Grey’s Hospital
Citation: This concurrent embedded mixed-methods study, conducted at a tertiary-level
hospital in KwaZulu-Natal, highlighted cisplatin’s ototoxic effect in cervical cancer
patients, with greater impact on HIV-positive patients and provides clear evidence
for the need of an ototoxicity monitoring programme. This study shows that
through meaningful engagements with- and considerations from- patients and
service providers regarding planning, delineation of responsibilities, and cost
implications, such a program is feasible in South Africa
Supervisors: Professor V Sewram, Mr CD Govender and Professor M Pillay

Pefile, Ntsikelelo, BPhys(UWC), PGDip(PubHlth)(Wits), MMedSc(StellU)……………… Physiotherapy
Thesis: An interprofessional model to guide employment for persons with spinal cord
injuries in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa
Citation: Unemployment among persons with spinal cord injuries (PWSCI) remains high. This
study explored current interventions, factors, barriers, and facilitators influencing
employment outcomes among PWSCI. Study findings facilitated the development
of an interprofessional model to guide employment outcomes for PWSCI. This
model envisaged to guide stakeholders to develop and implement activities that
will promote employment and education outcomes for PWSCI in various care
settings, involving all relevant sectors prioritizing early intervention.
Supervisor: Professor S Naidoo

Pillay, Thiani, BSc(UCT), BScHons(UCT)……………………………………… Speech And Language Therapy
Thesis: An exploration of clinical reasoning in dysphagia rehabilitation
Citation: This study investigated the utility of clinical reasoning involved in the rehabilitation
of people with swallowing disabilities within South Africa through an exploration
of both the literature and the lived experiences of practitioners. Clinical reasoning
is integrally linked to the economic, historical, political and social context it occurs
in. The contextualised clinical reasoning framework was developed to facilitate
the provision of contextually-bound services that are relevant to global practice
realities
Supervisor: Professor M Pillay

Ramchundar, Nireshnee, BPharm, MPharm………………………………………………………………..Pharmacy
Thesis: The management of fractures by traditional health practitioners: The case of Zulu
Medicine South Africa and Māori Medicine New Zealand
Citation: This study aimed to develop a guideline for Zulu traditional herbalists in South
Africa and Māori practitioners in New Zealand to manage fractures using traditional
methods. A comparative study with quantitative and qualitative approaches was
conducted among traditional health practitioners for identified and diagnosed
cases of fractures. A tool adapted from Ayurveda treatment guidelines was
developed based on findings from this study for the management of fractures in
traditional settings
Supervisor: Dr M Nlooto

Adoga, Jeffery Ozaveshe, BSc(AAU), MSc(ULagos)……………………………………………………..Physiology
Thesis: The ameliorative and protective effects of kolaviron against oxidative cardiovascular,
hepatic and renal injury in fructose streptozotocin-induced type-2 diabetic male
Sprague-Dawley rats
Citation: Adoga joined UKZN for his PhD study in July 2019. During this time, he investigated
the effects of kolaviron, a bioflavonoid extracted from Garcinia kola seed, against
oxidative cardiovascular, renal, and hepatic injury in a type-2 diabetic rat model. The
study revealed that kolaviron protected against oxidative cardiovascular, renal, and
hepatic damage in type-2 diabetes and has the potential to serve as a substitute or
adjuvant to existing remedies.

Supervisors: Dr A Nadar and Professor ML Channa

Cele, Sandile Victor, BSc, BMedScHons, MSc…………………………………………….. Medical Microbiology
Thesis: Effects of SARS-CoV-2 mutations on viral fitness, transmission and Covid-19 disease
outcome
Citation: Aim was to understand how SARS-CoV-2 evolution would impact viral transmission
and immunity escape. Participants from an existing study cohort were used,
from which a swab and blood samples were obtained. Our studies demonstrated
that Beta-elicited plasma cross neutralizes ancestral variants, but Beta variant
escapes neutralization by ancestral variant-elicited plasma. Furthermore, an
immunocompromised individual with low CD4 count struggled to clear SARSCoV-
2, allowing it to evolve antibody escape mutations.
Supervisor: Dr A Sigal

de Souza Fonseca, Vagner, BSc(UNEB), MSc(FIOCRUZ)………………………………………………… Virology
Thesis: Development of bioinformatics tools for genomic monitoring of emerging and reemerging
arboviruses
Citation: The emergence and re-emergence of arboviruses illustrate the need for rapid
genomic monitoring to improve the quality of public health responses to viral
outbreaks/epidemics/pandemics. This thesis, therefore, explores the development
and employment of bioinformatics tools and methods to democratize and
decentralize sequencing data management and analysis, allowing the realization
of an automated, real-time, open access, global genomic surveillance system.
Supervisor: Professor TPNA De Oliveira

Faborode, Oluwaseun Samuel, BSc(UIbadan), MSc(UIbadan)…………………………………..Physiology
Thesis: Alzheimer’s disease dementia risk in post-traumatic stress disorder: Identification of
common underlying mechanisms using rat models
Citation: This study investigated the link between Post-traumatic stress disorder and Alzheimer’s
disease by identifying common molecular mechanisms underlying the comorbidity
using rat models. It was demonstrated that the interaction between the two conditions
exacerbated redox signalling, stress response, synaptic dysregulation, and cell death in
the rats’ brains. Thus, this study advances the understanding of the common molecular
changes associated with the heterogeneity and comorbidity of PTSD and AD.
Supervisor: Professor MV Mabandla

Islam, Md. Mazharul, DVM(SUST), MSc(BAU), MSc(SAU)…………………………… Medical Microbiology
Thesis: The diversity of rodent-borne pathogens in Qatar at the human-animal and
environment interface
Citation: The study was conducted to identify the commensal rodents and related zoonotic
pathogens in Qatar. Several systematic reviews and field investigations on rodents
were conducted. Rodents are indicators of presence and dispersal of some pathogens
(flea, mite, cestodes, nematodes, bacteria, and viruses) with public health importance
at the human-animal-environment interface in this country. A One Health framework
was proposed to combat future epidemics with such pathogens in Qatar.
Supervisors: Dr ZL Mkhize-Kwitshana and Dr E Farag

Jokonya, Luxwell, MBCHB(UZim), MMED-N(UZim)………………………………….. Medical Microbiology
Thesis: The antimicrobial activity profiling and biochemical characterisation of paediatric
adamantinomatous craniopharyngioma cystic fluid
Citation: Use of surgical hardware is humans is associated with a high risk of infections.
However, Ommaya shunts inserted into adamantinomatous craniopharyngioma
cyst do not get infected as often as one would expected. In exploring this, our novel
study demonstrated for the first time, antimicrobial properties in the cystic fluid of
this brain tumour and described the cystic fluid biochemical composition that may
be responsible for this antimicrobial activity.
Supervisors: Professor T Mduluza and Professor T Naicker

Mahlobo, Bongiwe Priscah, MVSc(UPret)……………………………………………………………….Immunology
Thesis: Dynamics of T follicular regulatory cells in lymphoid tissues of subtype C HIV-1
infected individuals
Citation: Sub-optimal penetration of antiretroviral drugs and exclusion of HIV-specific T cells
from lymphoid compartments creates a conducive environment for virus evolution
and the establishment of viral reservoir. This study investigated the dynamics
of regulatory CD4+ T cells in lymph node tissues of subtype C HIV-1 infected
individuals and in healthy controls. Findings from this study will inform the design
of novel cure strategies for HIV.
Supervisor: Dr ZM Ndhlovu

Mbano, Ian Maheti, BSc, BScHons, MMedSc……………………………………………… Medical Microbiology
Thesis: Single cell ribonucleic acid sequencing in tuberculosis research
Citation: Tuberculosis remains a global challenge and we need to address deficits in our
understanding of disease pathology and treatment modalities to minimize deaths.
Primarily, we lack a good understanding of the immune response to TB infection.
In this study, we leveraged access to human tissue and single cell sequencing
technology to profile infected lung tissue to uncover cellular subsets establishing
and maintaining the disease pathology.
Supervisor: Dr AJ Leslie

Mitchev, Nireshni, BSc, BScHons, MMedSc……………………………………………….. Medical Microbiology
Thesis: Resistance surveillance, epidemiology, and molecular mechanisms of resistance of
Neisseria gonorrhoeae isolates in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa
Citation: Nireshni Mitchev’s thesis includes one of the first studies to comprehensively
describe the epidemiology and genomic antimicrobial resistance profiles of the
high-priority pathogen, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa,
and Africa, using whole-genome sequencing. In addition, she assessed a variety of
molecular diagnostic approaches to predict antimicrobial resistance, from isolates
and clinical specimens, in this region’s population. These pilot/exploratory studies
provide a baseline for future studies in our local clinics.
Supervisors: Professor KP Mlisana, Dr R Singh and Dr AJ Niehaus

Msomi, Nokukhanya Beryl, MBChB, FCPath Viro (SA)(CollMedSA), MMed…………………….. Virology
Thesis: Hepatitis B virus variants in HBV mono-infected and HIV/HBV co-infected patients
in a high dual infection setting
Citation: This body of work showed that HBV and HIV infection are a syndemic. It identified
factors that drive HBV infection when HIV is a confounder. It also characterized
HBV variants that affect the diagnosis and treatment of HBV and proposed
recommendations to better diagnose and treat HBV infection in a high dualinfection
setting, as the world moves towards the elimination of viral hepatitis as a
public health concern by 2030.
Supervisors: Professor KP Mlisana and Professor R Parboosing

Ngema, Namani Thelma, BSc (Biochem)(UNIZUL), BScHons(UNIZUL), MSc(UNIZUL) …..Immunology
Thesis: Phenotype, location and transcriptional profile of CD8+T cells in lymphoid tissues
Citation: From our review of existing literature, we have shown that cytolytic cells contribute
to the control of HIV-1 infection in blood but little is known whether these cells
are active in lymph nodes. Moreover, we have shown that HIV infection results in
increased frequencies of CD8+T and CD56+ T cells responses in lymph node tissues,
even in the setting of immediate antiretroviral therapy initiation.
Supervisors: Dr ZM Ndhlovu and Professor PT Ndung’U

Omotoso, Bukola Rukayat, BTech (Hons)(LAUTECH), MSc(OAU)……………………………………Anatomy
Thesis: An anatomical exploration of the vertebral arteries in a select KwaZulu-Natal
population
Citation: The doctoral study focused on the anatomy of a vital blood vessel in the head and
neck region, the vertebral arteries. This research demonstrated that the structure
of the vertebral artery might vary from one individual to another. Findings from
this research help establish the extent of vascular variation in the South African
population and inform prevention of neurological trauma during surgery and
endovascular interventions.
Supervisors: Professor L Lazarus and Dr R Harrichandparsad

San, Emmanuel James, Bsc(CompSc)(MakerereU), MSc(MakerereU)…………………………….. Virology
Thesis: Analysis and visualization of the transmission dynamics, evolution and spread of
SARS-CoV-2 in African populations
Citation: The emergence and spread of the SARS-CoV-2 and its associated burden
demanded rapid research to improve control strategies. This thesis assessed
its transmission dynamics, evolution and spread in African populations. The
findings demonstrate the utility of within-host diversity and bottleneck estimates
to elucidate transmission events and highlights candidate targets for positive
selection. The results contribute to knowledge of the genomics of SARS-CoV-2 and
the epidemiology of the pandemic in Africa.
Supervisor: Professor TPNA De Oliveira

Singh, Estelle Juanita, BSc, BMedScHons, MMedSc………………………………….. Medical Microbiology
Thesis: Synthesis and evaluation of Super- Cationic peptide dendrimers (SCPD)

Citation: Antibiotics play a major role in the management of infectious diseases worldwide. This study describes the synthesis and antimicrobial evaluation of a new peptide
family, the Super-Cationic Peptide Dendrimers that are synthesized using basic
amino acids and Lys as branching units. The study concluded that most of the third
to first generation SCPDs displayed antimicrobial effects on collection strains of
Gram- positive and negative bacteria and against clinically significant isolates
Supervisors: Professor B Garcia De-La-Torre, Professor F Albericio and Dr LA Bester

Soobryan, Nerolen, BMedSc, BMedScHons, MMedSc…………………………………………………Physiology
Thesis: Serum angiogenic and inflammation status with the expression of microRNAs in
hypertensive disorders of pregnancy
Citation: Pre-eclampsia and gestational hypertension present with new-onset hypertension
after 20-weeks of pregnancy, causing high foetal and maternal mortality rates.
Their delayed symptoms and diagnosis pose a burden on our healthcare system.
The proposed aetiology is immunologic aberrations, endothelial dysfunction
and metabolic factors, which were all investigated to evaluate their roles in the
pathogenesis. The novelty of gestationally matching with normotensive pregnant
patients revealed the significant angiogenic and immune imbalance.
Supervisors: Professor I Mackraj and Professor J Moodley

Ugbaja, Samuel Chima, BSc(UCalabar), MSc(ULagos)………………………………Medical Biochemistry
Thesis: Multidimensional computational modeling of β-secretase (BACE1) inhibitors
towards Alzheimer’s disease treatment
Citation: The β-amyloid plaque is one of the major hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease, produced
when APP is cleaved by BACE1. In this study, we carried out multidimensional
computational investigations of AM-6494 and CNP-520 BACE1 inhibitors, including
published reviewed manuscripts on computational methods of designing BACE1
inhibitors. Sequel to our findings, we highly recommend that experimentalists
should always collaborate with computational chemists to save time and other
resources.
Supervisors: Dr HM Kumalo and Dr MM Lawal

Adana, Misturah Yetunde, MBChB(UIlorin),MSc(UIlorin)………………………………………………………………….Anatomy
Thesis: Testicular morphological and biochemical perturbations in experimental animals under
antiretroviral therapy and the role of naringenin, a bioactive flavonoid
Citation: The study described the mechanisms of antiretroviral therapy induced testicular toxicity
and subfertility using animal models. Antiretroviral therapy use was linked to structural
and biochemical perturbations in the gonads. An evaluation of the role of Naringenin, a
bioflavonoid in reproductive functions particularly it’s protective capabilities and use as
adjuvant therapy in management of people living with HIV and AIDS were suggested.
Supervisors: Dr OO Azu and Dr ECS Naidu

Bhorat, Ismail Essop, MBChB, FCOG (SA)(CollMedSA), PhD…………….Obstetrics And Gynaecology
Thesis: Clinical significance of maternal and fetal cardiac function in high risk Obstetrics leading
to an integrated model of assessment and proposed fetal risk scoring systems
Citation: This study explored the clinical significance of maternal and fetal cardiac function in
pre-eclampsia and fetal cardiac function under high risk obstetric conditions of growth
restriction and gestational diabetes. It considered the mother and fetus as a whole, leading
to an integrated model of materno-fetal cardiac assessment. The study proposes fetal risk
scoring to assist clinicians to establish timeous delivery and reduce perinatal morbidity
and mortality.
Supervisor: Professor CM Aldous

Caldwell, Robert-Ian, BSc(UCT), MBChB(UCT), FCP(SA)(CollMedSA), MRCP(UK)(MRCP(UK)), FRCP(LONDON)RCPS)……………………………………………………………………………………………………Medicine
Thesis: A description of specialist outreach in Western KwaZulu-Natal (2007-2015), with assessment
of its functioning and prognosis
Citation: According to the constitution of our country, every patient, regardless of proximity to
healthcare facilities, has the right to specialist medical care. The candidate reported on
his experiences as an outreach physician to deep rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal. He further
investigated the needs of both outreach and recipient medical staff and reported on
aspects of the outreach system which work well and others that are yet to be addressed
Supervisors: Professor CM Aldous and Dr BM Gaede

Chimukangara, Benjamin, MHlthSc(UZim)………………………………………………………………………………………..Virology
Thesis: Impact of primary human immunodeficiency virus drug resistant mutations on
antiretroviral therapy
Citation: HIV drug resistance (HIVDR) present prior to initiating or re-initiating antiretroviral therapy
(ART), is known to cause ART failure. Sanger sequencing detects HIVDR mutations but does
not reliably detect drug resistant minority variants (DRMVs). This research aimed to assess
levels of pretreatment drug resistance (PDR) in areas with high HIV incidence and prevalence
in KwaZulu-Natal province, trends of PDR in South Africa, and the impact of DRMVs on ART.
Supervisors: Professor TPNA De Oliveira, Dr R Samuel and Dr K Naidoo

Drysdale, Roisin Elizabeth, BAHons(PlymouthU), MDevStud………………………………………….Public Health
Thesis: An investigation on the impact of climatic variations on child nutrition and household
food security in the District of iLembe, KwaZulu-Natal
Citation: The study assessed the impact of a drought on household food security and child nutritional
status in the district of iLembe, KwaZulu-Natal. The study found that after the drought, food
insecurity and child malnutrition increased, particularly for the poorest households and
those within urban areas. The study highlighted that the negative effects of a drought can
linger for a long period of time and recommends interventions to improve food security
Supervisors: Professor MM Moshabela and Professor U Bob

Fawole, Olufunmilayo Ibitola, MBChB(UIbadan),MSc(Wits)…………………………………………………….Medicine
Thesis: Preparing medical students to recognize and respond to gender based violence: A mixed
method study in South west Nigeria
Citation: This study identified factors that impact on medical students’ knowledge and skills in
managing victims of gender-based violence (GBV). It gathered perceptions from victims
about being screened for GBV at health care settings. The study established the need for
formalised skills training and consensus was reached on the content and strategies needed
to inform the development of an evidence based curriculum for healthcare providers in
the African context
Supervisor: Professor JM Van Wyk

Garrett, Nigel Joel, MBBS(London University, King’S College), MSc(LSHTM)……………………….Public Health
Thesis: Changing the STI care model to reduce genital inflammation and HIV risk in South African
women
Citation: This study investigated whether an alternative approach to syndromic STI management,
comprising point-of-care testing, immediate treatment and expedited partner therapy
can reduce the STI burden, genital inflammation and HIV risk among women. It found
that the intervention was effective at clearing STIs and genital inflammation. GeneXpert
technology was an accurate tool for STI and HIV care, but integrating these assays into
public health clinics may require more efficient care models.
Supervisor: Dr ABM Kharsany

Gonde, Lonestar Lazarus, BPharm(UHavana), MSc(ULondon)…………………………………………Public Health
Thesis: Assessment of Diabetes and Hypertension in high density areas in Harare: A case of Hatcliffe
Citation: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Hatcliffe, Zimbabwe to determine the magnitude
of hypertension (HTN) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Age, obesity and physical
inactivity were associated with the co-occurrence of HTN and T2DM in Hatcliffe. The study
demonstrated that there is low awareness and voluntary testing for HTN and T2DM. This
study recommends upscaling of national health promotion services targeting HTN and T2DM
Supervisor: Professor MJ Chimbari

Govender, Viveshree Shalom, BSc, BScHons, MSc…………………………………………Medical Microbiology
Thesis: Investigating the in vitro roles played by the major adhesins HBHA and MTP in the
pathogenesis of M. tuberculosis, in a novel double gene knockout mutant strain generated
by specialized transduction
Citation: A double gene knockout mutant (ΔhbhA-mtp) was generated in M.tb F15/LAM4/KZN
susceptible strain V9124 by mycobacteriophage specialized transduction. Outcomes
illustrate compounded effects caused by functional loss of two adhesins on in vitro
bacterial growth and biomass formation in V9124, but none on metabolic viability. Both
molecules facilitate adhesion/invasion of A549 pulmonary epithelial cells. HBHA and
MTP together present an attractive target for vaccine/drug development, and biomarker
development of POC diagnostics.
Supervisor: Professor M Pillay

Gwebu-Sacolo, Hlengiwe Nokuthula, BNursSc(UNISWA), MNursSc(Taipei Medical University)…..Public Health
Thesis: Schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis prevalence and risk factors among
preschool children aged (1-5years) in rural KwaZulu-Natal
Citation: The study utilized a mixed methodology approach to examine schistosomiasis and soiltransmitted
helminthiasis prevalence and risk factors among preschool aged children
in rural KwaZulu-Natal. Disease prevalence, coinfection and infection intensity were
low among preschool children. Risk factors were associated with the child’s age and
caregiver knowledge, attitudes and practices. I also established a strategy on how and
where to access preschool children and caregivers for schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted
helminthiasis control.
Supervisor: Professor MJ Chimbari

Humphries, Hilton Richard, BSc, BScHons, MA……………………………………………………………..Public Health
Thesis: Individual, relational, social and geospatial level factors that impact Sexual and
Reproductive Health (SRH) outcomes of female high school students in rural KwaZulu-Natal
Citation: Preventing HIV infection in teenage women remains a major challenge in sub-Saharan
Africa. This dissertation starts to unravel how a combination of individual, dyadic and
ecological factors including age, contraceptive use, sexual networks, school attendance,
social grant access, vaginal practices and proximity of alcohol serving venues to schools
predicts sexual reproductive health outcomes in teenage women attending high schools
in one of the highest HIV burden districts in rural KwaZulu-Natal.
Supervisors: Professor Q Abdool Karim and Ms LC Knight

Jackson, Laurelle Anne, BSc, BScHons, MSc………………………………………………………………………..Virology
Thesis: Increase in live infected cell number with drug and generation of a quasispecies are
consequences of multiply HIV infected cells
Citation: I showed that where multiple HIV infections per cell exist, (1) partially attenuating infection
with inhibitors results in increased numbers of live infected lymph nodes cells at suboptimal
inhibitor strengths and (2) a quasispecies is maintained by complementation. This work
may have important implications in the establishment of reservoirs in the context of poorly
controlled infections and infections with some degree of drug resistance in the face of
ARVs.Supervisor: Dr A Sigal

Kambondo, George, Bsc(HEP)(UZim), MPubHlth(AfricaU)………………………………………………..Public Health
Thesis: Prevalence, risk factors and attributable determinants of overfat and obese Primary School
children in Mashonaland West Province, Zimbabwe
Citation: George Kambondo thesis reports increasing of childhood obesity in Zimbabwe, among
school children. He went on to investigate the major causes of childhood obesity. This
allowed him to identify major causes of obesity which were lack of physical activity and
poor food eating habits. These findings will be useful to inform policy makers, school
authorities and parents the burden of non communicable diseases if childhood obesity
is not prevented.
Supervisor: Professor BKD Sartorius

Kiberu, Vincent, BSc(MakerereU), MInfTech(UCU)………………………………………………………………….Telemedicine
Thesis: eHealth readiness assessment for integration of Telemedicine services into the Public
Healthcare system in Uganda
Citation: Findings showed that successful integration of telemedicine services at health facilities
requires a rigorous e-Health readiness assessment. This study has demonstrated some
level of readiness to adopt and integrate e-Health implementations in Uganda, and has
developed an evidence-based, locally relevant eHRA for Uganda. Once validated and
formally implemented the findings will support policy- and decision- makers in making
informed decisions regarding telemedicine adoption to enhance healthcare delivery in
Uganda.
Supervisors: Professor M Mars and Professor RE Scott

Koto, Modise Zacharia, MBChB(UL), FCS (SA)(CollMedSA)…………………………………………………………. Surgery
Thesis: Revisiting the critical role of minimal invasive surgery (Laparoscopy) in the management of
trauma patients at a dedicated trauma unit at the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital,
Pretoria, South Africa
Citation: The use of laparoscopy in trauma has been controversial for decades because initial
attempts at it application highlighted many surgical problems for the patient. However,
as the technologies supporting laparoscopic surgery have improved, so has the safety
and potential novel applications been developed. The candidate reports on the methods
designed in his unit to approach trauma patients using less invasive techniques and shows
the success of laparoscopic approaches.
Supervisors: Professor CM Aldous and Professor TE Madiba

Kuupiel, Desmond, BSc(UGhana), MPubHlth(Knust)…………………………………………………………Public Health
Thesis: Assessing the accessibility of antenatal clinic point-of-care diagnostics services in rural
Ghana
Citation: The thesis consisted of six chapters, which poor geographical access and inequalities
relating to availability of point-of-care (POC) diagnostic services. Poor compliance to
supply chain management (SCM) guidelines was revealed as one of the main barriers to
ensuring availability of POC diagnostics in these settings. We proposed an evidence-based
framework to ensure accessibility and availability of POC diagnostic services for both
maternal care and the general rural population.
Supervisor: Dr TP Mashamba-Thompson

Laher, Faatima, BSc, BScHons, MMedSc…………………………………………………………………………….. Immunology
Thesis: Characterizing the role of CD4+ T cell immunoregulatory networks in peripheral blood
and lymphoid tissue during HIV-1 clade C infection
Citation: HIV eradication efforts have been unsuccessful due to virus persistence in immune
sanctuary sites within lymphoid tissues. Investigation of immunoregulatory cells revealed
a distinct subset of functional T follicular regulatory cells that predominate outside of
lymph node germinal centres, with localization being altered by early antiretroviral
therapy. Overall the study provided important insights into the biology, antigen-specificity,
localization and function of TFR and their role during very early ART initiation
Supervisors: Dr ZM Ndhlovu and Professor PT Ndung’U

Mangoyi, Japhet, BPharm(Hons)(UZim), MSc(UZim)………………………………………………………….Public Health
Thesis: Investigating potential anti-diabetic effects of Uthuli Lwezichwe™ plant extracts used by an
African traditional healer for the management of diabetes in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Citation: The study investigated the antidiabetic effects of Uthuli Lwezichwe, a traditional medicine
used by a traditional healer in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. The study proved
that Uthuli Lwezichwe reduces blood glucose comparable to metformin. Further, using
metformin and Uthuli Lwezichwe as a combination was shown to have synergistic and/
or additive effects. The antidiabetic effects of Uthuli Lwezichwe were through increase in
glucose uptake and antioxidant effects
Supervisors: Professor E Gomo and Dr M Ngcobo

Mashaphu, Sibongile, MBChB, MMed……………………………………………………………………………….. Psychiatry
Thesis: A study of the prevalence of anxiety and depressive symptoms among females within HIV
serodiscordant partnership
Citation: Prevention of HIV through behaviour change is the most important strategy to reduce
new infections. This thesis describes a behavioural HIV risk reduction intervention that
was tested and found to reduce HIV transmission amongst serodiscordant couples.
Supervisor: Professor E Gomo

Masuku, Sakhile Khetsiwe Salome, BNSc(UNISWA), MSc(Taipei Medical University)……………Public Health
Thesis: Effects of long use of antiretroviral therapy (ART) on lipid levels among people living with
HIV (PLHIV) in Swaziland
Citation: Sakhile’s research demonstrated how HIV and antiretroviral therapy increase the risk of
developing diabetes. Findings showed economic benefits of preventing diabetes among
people living with HIV (PLHIV) and developed a model of care. Her research contributes
to health systems strengthening towards achieving the UNAIDS target of 90-90-90 for
HIV management. No study measured the burden of diabetes among PLHIV in Eswatini,
especially against a HIV negative comparative control population.
Supervisor: Professor JM Tsoka-Gwegweni

Matinhure, Sheillah, BSc(UZim), MPH(UZim)……………………………………………………………………..Public Health
Thesis: Task shifting for caesarian sections: A case for Tanzania
Citation: The candidate evaluated the programme of Task Shifting for Caesarean Sections and
capacity to provide Caesarean sections in selected facilities in Tanzania. She demonstrated
that non-physicians – Assistant Medical Officers – provide life-saving caesarean sections
without compromising quality as demonstrated by maternal and neonatal outcomes. Her
work has highlighted health systems challenges that might compromise the effectiveness
of task shifting. She developed a plan to improve the task shifting strategy
Supervisor: Professor MJ Chimbari

Moodley, Suventha, BMedSc, BMedScHons, MMedSc………………………………………………….Medical Microbiology
Thesis: The role of heparin binding haemagglutin adhesin and curli pili on the pathogenicity of
Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Citation: Mycobacterium tuberculosis heparin-binding hemagglutinin adhesin and curli pili are
critical for adherence to host cells. This study demonstrated that in addition to their role
as adhesin/invasin molecules, HBHA and MTP in combination influence transcriptional
changes that favour replication and pro-inflammatory cytokine production of
macrophages. Their combined immunogenic ability to induce a protective immune
response suggests that these antigens could possibly represent a novel combination for
vaccine development.
Supervisor: Professor M Pillay

Naidoo, Kewreshini Kasturi, BSc, BMedScHons, MSc……………………………………………Immunology, Virology
Thesis: Impact of Duffy Antigen Receptor for Chemokines (DARC)-null linked neutropenia on
neutrophil and natural killer cell function in HIV-1 infection
Citation: DARC-null linked ethnic neutropenia is associated with increased risk of HIV-1 acquisition
in African ancestry populations. Investigation of innate immune responses in the context
of DARC revealed superior neutrophil phagocytic activity in DARC-null individuals, while
other neutrophil functions and NK cell responses and homeostasis were found to be
unaffected by the DARC trait. Overall the study provided mechanistic evidence behind
the asymptomatic clinical characteristics associated with ethnic neutropenia.
Supervisors: Dr CF Tshabalala and Professor PT Ndung’U

Ngene, Nnabuike Chibuoke, MBBS(UPHarcourt), DipHIV(CollMedSA), DipObs(CollMedSA), MMed, MMed……………………………………………………………………………………………………….Obstetrics And Gynaecology
Thesis: Postpartum blood pressure patterns and pre-delivery blood levels of angiogenic factors
among preeclamptic patients having abdominal deliveries
Citation: Pre-eclampsia (PE) is commonly known as High blood pressure in pregnancy and is
associated with significant complications to mother and baby. The cause of PE is not
known therefore establishing how the condition is clinically managed is important. Dr
Ngene formulated guidelines for measuring blood pressure in pregnancy and validated
BP devices for use. He also evaluated angiogenic biomarkers to predict PE.
Supervisor: Professor J Moodley

Niehaus, Abraham Johannes, MBChB(UOVS), MMed, FC Path(SA) Micro(CollMedSA)……….Medical Microbiology
Thesis: The activity of nybomycin against Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Citation: Nybomycin is an old antibiotic that was found to display bactericidal activity against both
fluoroquinolone-susceptible and fluoroquinolone-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis
isolates. In silico investigations suggest that nybomycin’s mechanism of action against
M. tuberculosis involves at least inhibition of the mycobacterial gyrase enzyme. Whole
genome sequencing of mutants with increased minimum inhibitory concentrations to
nybomycin, suggests an additional mechanism of action, as well as a possible novel
mechanism of resistance.
Supervisors: Professor P Moodley and Professor AW Sturm

Ojwach, Doty Brenda Achieng’, BSc(MasenoU), MMedSc……………………………………………………………..Virology
Thesis: Impact of immune-driven sequence variation in HIV-1 subtype C reverse transcriptaseintegrase
on viral fitness and disease progression
Citation: This study employed a large population of clinically-derived RT-integrase sequences to
investigate the link between immune-driven sequence variation in RT-integrase, viral
replicative fitness, and markers of disease progression in HIV-1 subtype C infection. We
demonstrate that RT-integrase-driven replication capacity correlates with viral loads and
CD4 counts. Also that immune-driven selection of mutations in RT-integrase compromise
replication. These findings reveal regions of viral vulnerability for possible inclusion in a
HIV vaccine
Supervisor: Dr JK Mann

Oladimeji, Kelechi Elizabeth, BSc(ImoStateU), MPubHlth(UIbadan)………………………………….Public Health
Thesis: Assessment of malaria intervention implementation among pregnant women and mothers
of under-five children in Oyo State, Nigeria
Citation: Kelechi Elizabeth Oladimeji is an emerging public health researcher. Her dissertation
assessed the implementation of malaria intervention among pregnant women and
mothers of under-five children in Oyo State, Nigeria. She received travel grants to attend
courses and present her work in Kenya, Canada, United States. She published 2 manuscripts
and 2 manuscripts are under review. Her findings will help to improve malaria interventions
in Oyo State and Nigeria.
Supervisor: Professor JM Tsoka-Gwegweni

Oladimeji, Olanrewaju, MBChB(UIbadan), MSc(UIbadan)…………………………………………………..Public Health
Thesis: Exploring implementation factors influencing high burden of Tuberculosis in Ibadan, Oyo
State, Nigeria
Citation: Dr Olanrewaju Oladimeji is an emerging public health investigator. His thesis explored
implementation factors influencing high burden of Tuberculosis in Ibadan, Oyo State,
Nigeria. He received travel grants to attend courses and present his work in Ghana, Malawi,
Kenya and Canada. He published 2 book chapters, 1 manuscript and 1 manuscript is under
review. His findings will help to improve TB patients’ health outcome in Oyo state, Nigeria
Supervisor: Professor JM Tsoka-Gwegweni

Pepper, Katy Eleanor, BA(Hull University), MPhil(Oxon)…………………………………………………….Public Health
Thesis: “Qhubeka uthathe amapilisi”: Solving the adherence challenges in antiretroviral treatment
amongst women in the Ngqusha sub-district, Eastern Cape. An intervention designed by
women patients and clinic staff to address adherence challenges amongst post-partum
women taking antiretroviral treatment
Citation: Katy’s research was conducted with ten postpartum women living with HIV from the
Eastern Cape. Using cameras these women photographed barriers they faced to taking
ARVS.Together with Katy these women reviewed, analysed the data and presented findings
to policy makers. The research demonstrated that participation is key to finding out what
constrains ARV adherence amongst postpartum women – HIV stigma and poverty
Supervisor: Professor M Taylor

Ravhengani, Ntshengedzeni Margaret, BOrlHyg(MEDUNSA), M-PH(MEDUNSA)………………..Public Health
Thesis: Developing a middle-range theory for implementing workload indicators of staffing needs
(WISN) tool in primary healthcare settings in South Africa
Citation: This thesis has generated a Model for implementing the workload indicators of staffing
needs (WISN) Tool in Primary Healthcare facilities for the South African situation. It provides
evidence-based practice in implementing the WISN Tool to ensure improved planning,
distribution and adequacy of the health workforce. This Model will be of value to the
following role players: The Departments of Health managers, human resource planners,
facility managers and health workforce personnel.
Supervisor: Professor NG Mtshali

Roopnarian, Charlene, BSc, BScHons, MSc…………………………………………………………………….Public Health
Thesis: Acceptability and Feasibility of HIV self-testing in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa
Citation: This doctoral study demonstrated that HIV self-testing (HIVST) is acceptable and could be
an important adjunct to HCT to enhance knowledge of HIV status and provides evidence
that could inform HIVST policy development in South Africa. In addition, the symbiotic
relationship between HIVST and HCT contributes toward decreasing the knowledge gap
within SSA of how HIVST relates to HCT in a setting where HCT is prevalent.
Supervisors: Professor MM Moshabela and Professor Q Abdool Karim

Shangase, Zifikile Phindile Cleverance, BA, HDE(PG)…………………………………………………….Public Health
Thesis: Barrier identification to smoking cessation for drug resistant tuberculosis patients in
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: developing an intervention model
Citation: This thesis determined barriers to smoking cessation (SC) among drug resistant tuberculosis
(DR-TB) inpatients in the province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), city of Durban, South Africa. It
used exploratory mixed methods research design to investigate the knowledge, attitudes
and beliefs of DR-TB inpatients and hospital staff with regard to smoking. It contributed
to new knowledge through the identification and design of the smoking cessation
intervention model for DR-TB inpatients
Supervisor: Professor JM Tsoka-Gwegweni

Sheik-Abdul, Naeem, BSc, BMedScHons, MMedSc……………………………………………….. Medical Biochemistry
Thesis: An investigation into the mitochondrial toxicity of Fusaric acid associated with aberrant
energy metabolism and inflammatory responses
Citation: Fusaric acid is a neglected foodborne toxin and there remains a dearth of knowledge
regarding the molecular events that contribute to mitochondrial dysfunction and its links to
aberrant metabolism and inflammatory responses. This study integrated the mechanisms
of mitochondrial dysfunction and downstream implications to provide insight into the
toxic potential of this mycotoxin. This study demonstrates that Fusaric acid downregulates
the immune response and induces a cancer metabolic phenotype.
Supervisors: Professor AA Chuturgoon and Dr S Nagiah

Walters, Laticha Elizabeth Marolana, BSc(UNamibia), MBL(UNISA)……………………………………. Telehealth
Thesis: Development of an evidence-based teledermatology scale-up framework and
implementation roadmap for KwaZulu-Natal Public Health, South Africa
Citation: The thesis provides an evidence-based approach that informed the development of a
teledermatology scale-up framework (TDSF) and implementation roadmap (TDSF-IR).
The TDSF and TDSF-IR provides an integrated approach to assist KwaZulu-Natal’s public
health management to scale-up and sustain the use of teledermatology services to meet
the province’s dermatology referral needs. The TDSF and TDSF-IR is designed to ensure
alignment of scaled-up teledermatology services to provincial and national eHealth’s
strategic direction
Supervisors: Professor M Mars and Professor RE Scott

Agyepong, Nicholas, BSc(UGhana), MSc(Knust), MPhil(Knust)……………………………………………Pharmaceutics
Thesis: Molecular profile of Gram-negative Eskape pathogens from Komfo Anokye Teaching
Hospital in Ghana
Citation: The burden of antibiotic resistance is increasing globally, with the decline in research and
development of new antibiotics in recent decades is a significant public health threat.
Curtailing the spread of resistant bacteria has met with limited success particularly in
the Sub-Saharan Africa, including Ghana. Thus, this study elucidated the mechanisms
of resistance among Gram negative ESKAPE pathogens from Komfo Anokye Teaching
Hospital to aid in antibiotic stewardship in Ghana.
Supervisors: Professor SY Essack and Dr HS Govinden

Bonsu, Adwoa Bemah, BScNurs(Knust), MPhilNurs(UGhana)………………………………………………………Nursing
Thesis: Integration of prevention into cancer palliative care: A case study of breast cancer in a
tertiary hospital, Ghana
Citation: The study was carried out in Ghana, a country highly burdened with breast cancer, yet,
lacks a nation-wide breast cancer prevention and control programs for women. A hospitalbased-
model was developed for the prevention and early detection of breast cancer among
women, especially, those with family history of the disease. This model will aid health
professionals to educate women on breast cancer, teach them breast self-examination
and offer them clinical breast-examination.
Supervisor: Professor BP Ncama

Chichaya, Tongai Fibion, BScHon(UZim), MPubHlth(UNamibia)……………………………….Occupational Therapy
Thesis: Occupational justice framework applications in disability policy analysis: Developing
guidelines for disability policy formulation in Namibia country compared to developed
countries
Citation: Analysis of disability policy in Namibia, using a qualitative research approach and applying
an occupational justice framework to guide the policy analysis. Existing policies in southern
African countries; the views of people with disabilities; relevant health professionals and
disability policy makers, were analysed. Among other barriers, occupational inconsideration
was described as a new form of occupational injustice. Guidelines were then developed
to promote a more just and appropriate disability policy.
Supervisor: Professor RWE Joubert
Dube, Barbara Makhosazane, BCur(UNIZUL), MN…………………………………………………………………….Nursing
Thesis: Implementation of a Competency-based Primary Health Care-oriented undergraduate
nursing education programme in a Higher Education Institution in Kwazulu-Natal: A Mixed
Methods Approach
Citation: The drive for a primary health care approach and social relevance and accountability
of nursing education institution to meet population health needs has resulted in the
haphazard adoption of competency-based education, with limited preparation of the
stakeholders. This study analyzed the implementation of a competency-based primary
health care-oriented undergraduate nursing education programme, and culminated
in a guiding framework outlining the action and interaction strategies to effectively
implementing such a programme.
Supervisor: Professor NG Mtshali

Faya, Andile Kennedy Mbuso, BSc(UNISA), BMedScHons, MMedSc…………………………………Pharmaceutics
Thesis: Novel Antimicrobial Peptides for enhanced antimicrobial activity against Methicillin
Resistant Staphylococcus aureus: Design, synthesis and formulation
Citation: Due to the prevalence of drug resistance, Dr Faya designed, synthesised and evaluated
the activity of novel antimicrobial peptides against drug resistant microorganisms. His
study demonstrated that these peptides can pass through bacterial membranes and be
co-delivered with antibiotics in nano-drug delivery systems to offer enhanced antimicrobial
activity. His findings offer a new class of pharmaceutical products to improve patient
therapy and disease treatment. His findings were published in several international
journals.
Supervisor: Professor T Govender

Khan, Shama, BSc(UDelhi), MSc(IUB)………………………………………………………………Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Thesis: Comparative studies of covalent and non-covalent drug inhibitory mechanisms of ERK2
and PTP1B proteins in cancer therapy using Bioinformatics and molecular modelling
techniques
Citation: Irreversible/covalent inhibition is an emerging field in drug discovery. Approximately,
30% of drugs available in the market works via covalent mechanism, however most of
them were not manufactured as covalent inhibitors and were discovered by serendipity.
This study provided a comparative structural perspective on the most crucial enzymatic
targets – covalently and non-covalently, thus leading to the development of more potent
and highly selective covalent inhibitors for ERK2 and PTP1B proteins with potential to
overcome drug resistance challenges against cancer.
Supervisor: Professor MES Soliman

Lawal, Monsurat Motunrayo, BScHons(UAdo-Ekiti), MMedSc…………………………Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Thesis: A computational perspective on the concerted cleavage mechanism of the HIV-1 protease
and its natural targets
Citation: A major breakthrough in the treatment of HIV/AIDS is the use of drugs inhibiting specific
enzymes necessary for the replication of the virus. In this study, one of these enzymes
was investigated using transition state structural models to unravel the recognition mode
and the reaction mechanism of the HIV-1 protease with its natural targets. The applied
theoretical approach resulted in the computational modeling of a new, potentially active,
substrate-based inhibitor
Supervisors: Professor HG Kruger, Dr B Honarparvar and Dr GEM Maguire

Maasho, Tesfaye Berhane, ND(KCTE), BSc(KCTE), MSc(PUNJABI UNIVERSITY)……………….. Sports Science
Thesis: Diet and supplementation practice in professional Ethiopian football players: Effects on
performance and recovery
Citation: This study showed a 10% decrease in VO2max values related to an energy deficit among
Ethiopian premier league football players during pre-season training. The nutritional intake
of the Ethiopian national football squad was lower than recommended, while protein and
fat intake was above recommendations. Players exhibited significantly better knowledge
of football nutrition and better adherence to proper dietary and recovery procedures after
an educational intervention.
Supervisors: Professor AJ Mckune and Professor HJ Van Heerden

Maseko, Sibusiso Bonginkosi, BSc, BMedScHons, MMedSc……………………………….. Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Thesis: Molecular analysis of HIV-I resistance: Biosynthesis, kinetic, and thermodynamic study of
resistant HIV-Protease (C-SA) mutants
Citation: The research extends the existing knowledge of HIV virulence focusing on uncovering
the genetic make-up of the virus and molecular-genetic testing of mutants. Given that
the level of HIV infection in the African continent is very high, this research can be a basis
for future research of a similar aspect to have a constant monitoring of the degree of
mutations and drug interactions. Seven research papers were published.
Supervisors: Professor J Lin, Professor T Govender, Professor HG Kruger and Dr GEM Maguire

Naidoo, Magandhree, BOralHlth, BAHons(UPret), MA(UPret)……………………………………………….. Dentistry
Thesis: An oral care intervention for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in KwaZulu-Natal
Citation: An oral Care intervention for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in KwaZulu-Natal.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is recognized as a global public health concern, which
is further complicated by a lack of updated oral health-related epidemiological data to
guide management of affected populations. One examiner described this study as one
of the most significant studies in South Africa and perhaps elsewhere in the world that
examined epidemiology of oral conditions and proposed a viable intervention for oral
health care in children with ASD.
Supervisor: Professor S Singh

Ndemera, Hillary, BCur(UNISA), BN(UNISA), MN………………………………………………………………………….Nursing
Thesis: Development of an intervention model for self-management among kidney transplant
recipients to improve on long-term durability of the transplanted kidney in selected state
hospitals in South Africa
Citation: The study developed an intervention model for self-management using an explanatory
sequential mixed method design. The model was informed by perceived motivators,
barriers and benefits of self-management including factors affecting durability of
transplanted kidney from the perspective of kidney transplant recipients, caregivers
and healthcare professionals. The developed model is hoped to underpin strategies to
encourage informed participation by these patients in their own care and efficient use of
resources.
Supervisor: Professor BR Bhengu

Omolo, Calvin Andeve, BPharm(SJUT), MPharm……………………………………………………………….Pharmaceutics
Thesis: Synthesis of Oleic acid conjugated Polyethylene glycol and its application as an amphiphilic
polymer for nano delivery of vancomycin
Citation: Due to the prevalence of drug resistant bacteria, Dr Omolo designed novel “smart” materials
and used nanotechnology to develop nanomedicines that specifically targeted bacteria and infectious sites. His findings resulted in new class of pharmaceutical products that
enhanced antibacterial activity of the antibiotics against resistant bacteria as compared to
current medicines. His findings resulted in 3 first authored and 3 co-authored publications
in high impact factor international journals and a book chapter.
Supervisor: Professor T Govender

Onyenwenyi, Anthonia Confidence Oguguo, BScNurs(UIbadan), PGDipEdu(ULagos), MPH(UIbadan)… …..
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Nursing
Thesis: Developing a community based cervical cancer screening model for rural women in Ado-
Odo Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria
Citation: Candidate’s study assessed the perceptions, drivers and barriers to cervical cancer screening
among rural men and women. Developed a culture-sensitive community-based cervical
cancer screening model for rural women. The model demonstrated how sustainable
cervical cancer screening services can be successfully integrated into an existing PHC
in resource limited setting. Male participation promoted service uptake. The model is a
viable strategy to improve cervical cancer screening uptake among rural women.
Supervisor: Professor GG Mchunu

Saka, Sule Ajibola, BPharm(OAU), MPharm(UIbadan)……………………………………………………………….Pharmacy
Thesis: A transnational validation study on the American Geriatric Society-Beers criteria among
older persons In Africa: Reflections from Nigeria and South Africa
Citation: A transnational validation study on the American Geriatrics Society-Beers Criteria among
older persons in Africa: reflections from Nigeria and South Africa compared the quality of
medicine prescribing to older persons and assessed the associations between the Criteria
potential inappropriate medicines and adverse drug reactions in both countries. It also
established both countries’ experts consensus on the recommendations of the Criteria.
Supervisors: Dr F Oosthuizen and Dr M Nlooto

Tolufashe, Gideon Femi, BSc(KogiStateU), MSc(UIbadan)………………………………Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Thesis: Investigating the inhibition mechanism of L,D-transpeptidase 5 from mycobacterium
tuberculosis using computational methods
Citation: The inhibition mechanism of L,D-transpeptidase 5 (LdtMt5) from Mycobacterium
tuberculosis against carbapenems was investigated using molecular dynamics and
transition state structural models. The virtual screening of new compounds was carried
out to propose potential novel leads for LdtMt5. The investigation was adopted to clarify
the acylation process of carbapenems, compute their activation energies and propose
new β-lactams inhibitors with lower activation energies in comparison to the known FDA
approved carbapenems.
Supervisors: Dr B Honarparvar, Professor HG Kruger and Dr GEM Maguire

Usman, Zubair, BPhys(BayeroU), MSportSc(BayeroU)………………………………………………………….. Physiotherapy
Thesis: Effect of electrotherapy on pain, functional activities and health related quality of life of
Nigerian individuals with knee Osteoarthritis
Citation: The effects of Electrotherapy on pain, functional activities and quality of life of Nigerian
patients with knee osteoarthritis. He found the use of electrotherapy reduced pain,
improved functional activities and increased the quality of life of patients with knee
osteoarthritis. The knowledge is expected to reduce overdependence on drugs use which
is associated with many side effects and the burden of the cost of drugs use.
Supervisor: Dr SS Maharaj

Wentzel, Dorien Lesley, BN(AdvPrac), MPubHlth…………………………………………………………………… Nursing
Thesis: Developing an in-facility intervention to manage compassion fatigue in oncology nurses,
Durban: A mixed methods study (by publication)
Citation: Repeated patient losses and caring for patients put oncology nurses at high-risk for
developing compassion fatigue. The Self-Care Intervention for Oncology nurses was
developed using action research with mixed methods sequential explanatory design:
integrative review, quantitative and qualitative data, developing and evaluating the
implementation of the intervention. Preliminary findings indicate change in practice
as oncology nurses became aware of the risks of compassion fatigue and participate in
improved self-care practices
Supervisors: Professor P Brysiewicz and Dr AJL Collins