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Thursday, 23 June 2016

Thirumala Govender

Thirumala Govender

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences,University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag X54001, Durban 4000, South Africa.
mail: govenderth@ukzn.ac.za Phone: +27 31 2607358 Fax:+27 31 2607792

University of KwaZulu-Natal, School of Pharmacy: Professor of Pharmaceutics  - See more at: https://www.wits.ac.za/waddp/research-team/#sthash.U0pZRNni.dpuf

Professor Thirumala Govender
+27 (031) 260 7357/8 
Research Interests
Design and Evaluation of novel drug delivery systems, Buccal and Transdermal Delivery of ARV drugs, Nanoantibiotics.
Acting Academic Leader /Professor/Head of Drug Delivery Unit



Professor Thirumala Govender, leading researcher in Pharmaceutics and her students have in the past few weeks received several accolades in recognition of excellence in research. From UKZN’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, the team has been recognized both nationally and internationally for their work in the development of novel drug delivery systems for the buccal route. Professor Govender was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship and completed a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Pharmacy (Pharmaceutics) at the University of Nottingham (UK), the top ranked Pharmacy school for research in the UK. Currently she is one of the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s leading scientists and heads up the Drug Delivery Research Unit based on the Westville Campus. Her principal area of research is the design and evaluation of novel drug delivery systems,

At the recent 5th International Conference on Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, Professor Govender was jointly awarded the Adcock Ingram Best Research Publication Award in Pharmaceutics from the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences of South Africa. The paper was evaluated by both local and international judges. The paper entitled, “Formulation of monolayered films with drug and polymers of opposing solubilities”,  was published in International Journal of Pharmaceutics . It featured research findings of her masters student, Ms Velisha Perumal who graduated cum laude in 2007 . The aim of the study was to prepare and characterise novel monolayered multipolymeric films comprising of a hydrophilic drug (Propranolol HCI) (PHCI) and polymers of opposing solubilities for delivery via the buccal route.  The study used a new method of film preparation and identified optimal polymeric blends to provide improved improved mucoadhesion on the mucosa and controlled drug release kinetics. The various physicochemical and mechanical tests on the delivery system confirmed the potential of this monolayered multipolymeric film, as a promising candidate for controlled buccal drug delivery.

Honours level student Ms Razeena Khan moved to South Africa about eight years ago from Canada and feels “blessed” to be working with an individual that is so professional and devoted to the students as Professor Govender is. Ms Khan said, “Professor Govender doesn’t spoon-feed the students and at the same time is accessible to provide guidance and mentorship. She teaches us in a way that we’re able to understand the concepts and hence the performance of all her students are always par excellence”.

In addition to the above awards this year, Prof Govender has also been awarded funds from the Goho Life Sciences International Fund in Japan to be a Distinguished Visiting Scientist at Tohoku University, one of the leading universities in Japan,  She will be embarking on this visit to share and learn new techniques in nanotechnology for drug delivery systems. The Department of Science and Technology has also invited her to teach at their first national Nano Summer School later in the year.  She was also specifically invited by the University of Western Cape a few weeks ago to participate in the development of the first MSc degree in Nanotechnology in South Africa. Prof Govender believes that the above achievements in recent weeks have been due to a collective team effort and therefore sincerely acknowledges her postgraduate students including task supervisor Mr Sanjeev Rhambarose, local and international collaborators including Dr Irene Mackraj from the School of Medical Sciences and the Biomedical Resources and Electron Microscopy Unit at UKZN, MRC, NRF, Aspen, CAPRISA/Gilead Sciences/CONRAD and laboratory support staff for their invaluable contributions.


Prof Govender is currently the elected Vice Chair of the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences of South Africa and has also been appointed on the Pharmaceutical and Analytical Committee of the Medicine Control Council of South Africa. She is also a member of the College of Health Sciences Women in Leadership and Leverage committee and is devoted to mentoring young health scientists at UKZN. She is the recipient of several other national awards for recognition of excellence in both teaching and research such as the Johnson and Johnson Distinguished Teacher award and the Roche achievement and Adcock Ingram awards for the Best Research Publication in Pharmaceutics. Prof Govenders research has been published in more than 30 internationally accredited journals and presented at several local and international conferences.  Her dedication and enthusiasm in the field of pharmaceutics is unrivalled and as a woman she is paving the way for future scientists in the fields of buccal drug delivery and nanotechnology.
Prof Thirumala Govender is currently Professor of Pharmaceutics, Head of the Drug Delivery Research Proto-Unit, Head of the Nano-Health Sector of the UKZN Nanotechnology Platform, and Acting Academic Leader of Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), Her Masters degree, awarded with distinction, focused on microparticulate systems for sustained drug release. She was subsequently awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship and completed a PhD at University of Nottingham (UK). Her PhD research in nanotechnology identified technologies for enhancing drug incorporation into polymeric nanosystems for targeted delivery. Prof Govender’s current research on novel delivery systems focuses on nanotechnology and alternate routes of drug delivery. She has extensive experience in the formulation and physicochemical/mechanical/mechanistic evaluation of various delivery systems e.g. pellets, nanoparticles, nanomicelles, nanofibers, nanobubbles and buccal patches/films/tablets/microspheres/wafers.

Prof Govender is a South African National Research Foundation (NRF) C2 rated scientist. Her current h-index is calculated as 17 (Web of Science), 21 (Google Scholar) and 19 (Scopus) with 1381, 1987 and 1482 citations respectively. She has 63 publications in ISI international journals, is a co-author on a patent granted and has 43 international and 57 local conference contributions. She has won several national awards from the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences of South Africa for excellence in both research and teaching i.e.: Johnson and Johnson Distinguished Teacher Award, Roche Achievement Award as well as the Adcock Ingram Award for Best Research Publications in Pharmaceutics. She has been the recipient of the UKZN Faculty of Health Sciences Award for Most Productive Researcher in the Associate Professor category. She has also received the UKZN nomination for Best Emerging Young Woman Scientist for the South African Women in Science Awards. Prof Govender has secured scholarships/research grants from the UK Commonwealth Association, NRF, Medical Research Council (MRC) and UKZN. She has successfully supervised/co-supervised students at Honours, Masters, PhD and Postdoctoral levels. Several have passed with distinction and have won international, national and UKZN awards for excellence in publications/presentations/posters. Prof Govender currently has 2 Postdocs, 5 PhD and 4 Masters students.

Prof Govender was awarded funds from the Japanese Goho Life Sciences International Fund to be a visiting scientist at Tohoku University (Japan) and from NRF as a visiting academic to University of Queensland (Australia). She has been invited to deliver lectures at international symposiums i.e. 4th International Symposium on Current Trends in Drug Discovery (India) and International Symposium of Aids and Tuberculosis (Japan) and also to present her research at international universities (Tohoku University and Osaka Prefecture University). She was also invited by an international organization, i.e. Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons at The Hague to deliver a presentation on Nano drug delivery at the All African Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Workshop in Cape Town. She has been invited to chair sessions at several local conferences and an international conference (11th International Pharmaceutical Technology Symposium-Turkey). She is a regular invited reviewer for reputable international journals including Colloids and Surfaces, International Journal of Pharmaceutics, Journal of Controlled Release, Molecular Pharmaceutics and Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Prof Govender has conducted invited reviews of research applications for the NRF and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in South Africa (SA). She is an invited undergraduate and postgraduate examiner for universities in Africa (University of Nairobi, Harare Institute of Technology) and in SA (University of the Witwatersrand, University of Western Cape, Stellenbosch University, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, North West University, Tshwane University of Technology). She has also been invited by University of Limpopo and DST to deliver a presentation for the Public Engagement in Nanotechnology programme. Further, she was invited by the DST to participate in a national workshop to formulate a Nanotechnology Plan for SA as well as by the National Nanoscience Centre at University of Western Cape to participate in the curriculum development of the first MSc in Nanotechnology in SA.

In recognition of her scientific expertise, Prof Govender is currently appointed as an Expert Evaluator on the Pharmaceutical and Analytical Committee of the Medicines Control Council of South Africa. She has also been appointed as a national examiner in Pharmaceutics for the South African Pharmacy Council professional examinations. She is also Chair of the UKZN College of Health Sciences (CHS) Women in Leadership and Leverage Committee and a CHS representative on the UKZN Animal Research and Ethics committee. Prof Govender was also a past Vice Chair of the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences of South Africa and Head of School of Pharmacy and Pharmacology at UKZN. She has occupied various other administrative positions on a University/College/Faculty/School level and has been the Convenor for a national Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences conference. She is a member of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists and local professional and scientific pharmaceutical organizations (SAPC, PSSA, APSSA).



Inventors: LC du Toit, V PIllay, YE Choonara, T Govender, TR Carmichael
Type: Drug Delivery Device 
(US0140023692 A1) APPLIC NUMBER: US 13/989,401) (PCT NUMBER: PCT/IB2011/055328), (Filing date, 28 November 2011, Publication date 23 January 2014)

The invention provides an inflammation-responsive implantable device for the in situ delivery of one or more pharmaceutically active agents to a human or animal. The device comprises two differential release bioresponsive polymeric matrices (BPMs): an outer polymeric matrix and an inner polymeric matrix, both of which contain at least one pharmaceutically active agent or drug, typically an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory agent, respectively. The therapeutically effective agent may be embedded in nanoparticles or nanobubbles. In response to inflammation, the pharmaceutically active agents are released, but at different rates: the rate of drug release from the inner polymeric matrix is lower than the rate of drug release from the outer polymeric matrix. Suitable polymers for forming the outer and inner polymeric matrices are hyaluronic acid and chitosan, respectively. A method of making the device and a method of treatment are also described.

Peer Reviewed Publications in ISI Journals 

  1. Suleman, N, Kalhapure RS, Mocktar, C, Rambharose, S, Singh, M, Govender, T, Silver salts of carboxylic acid terminated generation 1 poly (propyl ether imine) (PETIM) dendron and dendrimers as antimicrobial agents against S.aureus and MRSA, RSC Advances, 2015, 5, 34967 – 34978 (Senior Author/Postgraduate Supervisor) (IF = 3.708)
  2. Kalhapure R, Suleman, N, Seedat, N, Mocktar C, Govender, T, Nanoengineered drug delivery systems for enhancing antibiotic drug therapy, Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2014, DOI 10.1002/jps.24298 (Senior Author/Postdoctoral Supervisor) (Invited Review).
  3. Kalhapure, R, Mocktar, C, Muthu, K, Skelton, A, Sonowane, S, Sikwal, D, Govender, T, Ion pairing with linoleic acid simultaneously enhances encapsulation efficiency and antibacterial activity of vancomycin in solid lipid nanoparticles Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 2014, 117, 303-311 (Senior Author/Postdoctoral Supervisor) (IF=4.3)
  4. Du Toit, L; Pillay, V; Govender, T; Carmichael, T, Kumar, P; Choonara, YE,In Vitro, In Vivo, and In Silico Evaluation of the Bioresponsive Behavior of an Intelligent Intraocular Implant, Pharmaceutical Research, 2014,  31(607-634)  (Co-Senior Author/Postgraduate Co-Supervisor). (IF=3.9)
  5. Jones, E, Ojewole, E, Kalhapure, R, Govender, T, In vitro comparative evaluation of monolayered multipolymeric films embedded with didanosine-loaded solid lipid nanoparticles: A potential buccal drug delivery system for ARV therapy, Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy, 2014, 40(5), 669-679. (Senior Author/Postgraduate Supervisor) (IF=2.01)
  6. Rhambarose, S, Ojewole, E, Mackraj, I, Govender, T, Comparative buccal permeability enhancement of didanosine and tenofovir by potential multifunctional polymeric excipients and their effects on porcine buccal histology, Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, 2014, 19(1), 82-90.  (Senior Author/Postgraduate Supervisor) (IF=1.34)
  7. Rhambarose, M, Branham, S, Ojewole, Govender, T, High?energy ball milling of Saquinavir increases permeability across the buccal mucosa, Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy, 2014, 40(5), 639-648. (Senior Author/Postgraduate Supervisor) (IF=2.01)
  8. Ahmed, SM, Kruger HG, Maguire GEM, Govender, T, The impact of active site mutations of South African HIV PR on drug resistance: insight from molecular dynamics simulations, binding free energy and per-residue footprints, Chemical Biology & Drug Design, 2014, 83 (472-481)  (Senior Author/Postgraduate Supervisor) (IF=2.5)
  9. Ojewole, E, Kalhapure, E, Akamanchi, K,  Govender, T, Novel Oleic AcidDerivatives Enhance Buccal Permeation of Didanosine, Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy, 2014, 40(5), 657-668. (Senior Author/Postgraduate Supervisor) (IF=2.01)
  10. Kalhapure, RS, Govender, T, Akamanchi, KG, Phosphine free tetradentate salicylaldimine ligand complexedwith palladium: First Application in Heck Reactions, Synthetic Communications, 2014, 44 (3337-3345) (Postdoc Supervisor) (IF=0.98)
  11. Kalhapure, R, Krishnacharya, Ga, Mocktar, C, Govender, T, Synthesis and antibacterial activity of silver nanoparticles capped with a carbozylic acid terminated generation 1 oleodendrimer, Chemistry Letters, 2014, 43, 1110-1112. (Senior Author/Postdoctoral Supervisor) (IF=1.6)
  12. Kalhapure, R, Kathiravan, M, Akamanchi, K, Govender, T, Dendrimers - From organic synthesis to pharmaceutical applications: An update, Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, In Press, 2014, DOI:10.3109/10837450.2013.862264 (Senior author/Postdoc Supervisor) (IF=1.34)
  13. E, Jones, E, Ojewole, V. Pillay, P Kumar, S Rambharose, T Govender, Monolayered multipolymeric buccal films with drug and polymers of opposing solubilities for ARV therapy: Physico-mechanical evaluation and molecular mechanics modeling, International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 455 (2013), 197-212. (Senior Author/Postgraduate Supervisor). (IF=3.8)
  14. Du Toit, L; Pillay, V; Govender, T; Carmichael, T, Kumar, P; Choonara, YE, Design of an anti-inflammatory composite nanosystem and evaluation of its potential for ocular delivery, Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2013, 102(8): 2780-2805.  (Co-Senior Author/Postgraduate Co-Supervisor). (IF=3.00)
  15. Ahmed, SM, Kruger HG, Govender, T, Maguire GEM, Sayed, Y, Ibrahim, MAA, Naicker, P, Soliman, ME, Comparison of the Molecular dynamics and calculated binding free energies for nine FDA approved HIV-PR drugs against subtype B and C-SA HIV PR, Chemical Biology and Drug Design, 2013, 81, 208-218. (Co-Senior Author/Postgraduate Co-Supervisor). (IF=2.5)
  16. Branham, M, Moyo, T, Govender, T, Preparation and Solid-State Characterization of Ball Milled Saquinavir Mesylate for Solubility Enhancement, European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, 2012, 80, 194-202. (Senior Author/Postdoctoral Supervisor) (IF=4.2)
  17. Ojewole, E, Mackraj, I, Akhundov, K, Hamman, J, Viljoen, A, Olivier, E, Smith, JW, Govender, T, Investigating the effect of Aloe vera gel on the buccal permeability of didanosine, Planta Medica, 2012, 78: 354-361. (Senior Author/Postgraduate Supervisor) (IF=2.3)
  18. Branham, M, Buth, SM, Ross, EA, Govender, T, Effect of ultrasound facilitated fixation on oral mucosal density and Morphology, Biotechnic and Histochemistry, 2012, 87 (5), 331-339.  (Senior Author/Postdoctoral Supervisor) (IF=1.0)
  19. Branham, ML, Ross, EA, Govender, T, Predictive models for Maximum Recommended Therapeutic Dose of antiretroviral drugs. Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine, 2012, 469769, 9 pages (doi: 10.1155/2012/469769)   (Senior Author/Postdoctoral Supervisor) (IF=1.01)

with Prof Thirumala Govender — at Lagoon Beach Hotel.


 Professor Thirumala Govender (right), with her PhD student Ms Elizabeth Ojewole.