School of Chemistry & Physics

Doctoral Thesis Examines Novel Anti-Cancer and Anti-Microbial Agents

Doctoral Thesis Examines Novel Anti-Cancer and Anti-Microbial Agents

Dr Sanjeev Dhawan graduated with a PhD in Chemistry focusing on developing novel anti-cancer and anti-microbial agents.

During his research, Dhawan successfully designed potent anti-breast cancer agents. ‘These have shown superior activity relative to standard drugs, with potential to be further developed as drug candidates,’ said his supervisors, Dr Parvesh Singh and Professor Sreekantha Jonnalagadda.

‘During his PhD work, we found Dhawan to be an exceptionally hardworking, sincere and focused researcher,’ added his supervisors.

After completing his undergraduate and postgraduate studies in India, Dhawan was attracted by the exceptional research facilities and researchers at UKZN’s School of Chemistry and Physics and registered for his PhD.

‘My educational experience in India contributed greatly to the development of my skills in research and in the field of medicinal chemistry,’ he said, attributing his interest in organic synthesis and medicinal chemistry to his work experience as an academic and a synthetic chemist.

With the help of Singh, Jonnalagadda and other authors, Dhawan published a paper in the Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry journal based on the design, synthesis and anti-breast cancer activity of the novel compounds. Three more research articles are in the pipeline.

Dhawan’s aim is to continue postdoctoral research; applying his synthetic skills to drug discovery, specifically in the area of anti-breast cancer drugs.

‘Sanjeev is an extremely capable synthetic chemist,’ said Professor Neil Koorbanally of the School of Chemistry and Physics. ‘He was able to synthesise a complex range of molecules under very difficult reaction conditions. He is sure to be successful.’

During his spare time, Dhawan enjoys ‘good music’.

Words: Leena Rajpal 

Photograph: Abhi Indrarajan