Professor Van Heerden’s research field is Natural Product Chemistry. Her research interest is the phytochemical investigation of important South African medicinal plants and the screening of plant extracts and isolated compounds for biological activity. She also has an interest in indigenous knowledge on the use of plants and ethnopharmacology.
In her research, she places special emphasis on activities related to diseases of importance in South Africa (malaria, tuberculosis and diabetes) and the development of synthetic methodology for the preparation of biologically active compounds isolated from the South African plants and analogues thereof.
She holds a DSI-NRF South African Research Chair Initiative (SARChI) Chair in Chemistry of Indigenous Medicinal Plants