UKZN Scientist Excels in Number of Peer-Reviewed Papers PublishedGeneral

Prolific peer-reviewed papers publisher Professor Gert Kruger.Prolific peer-reviewed papers publisher Professor Gert Kruger.

Professor Gert Kruger of UKZN’s Catalysis and Peptide Research Unit (CPRU) has published a total of 300 ISI scientific publications - a ‘tsunami of papers full of sound and fury’.

From early in their careers, scientists and academics are challenged by the ‘publish or perish’ maxim and need to go through the ‘peer review’ process in which peers in their field decide whether to accept or reject a paper or request modifications.

Kruger’s multidisciplinary research interests include Health Sciences, Organic Chemistry, and Pharmaceutical Chemistry while his research specialties span asymmetric synthesis, peptide synthesis, cage chemistry, NMR elucidation of macromolecules, TB-cage drugs, and HIV-PR inhibitors.

He has been among UKZN’s Top 30 researchers on seven occasions.

In his 21 years at UKZN, Kruger has graduated 52 PhD and masters candidates, managed 26 Post-doctoral Fellows and is currently supervising about 17 postgraduate students. Kruger, and his team at the CPRU have also obtained grants of more than R13 million to support research projects and student funding.

His 300th paper, recently published in the prestigious Angewandte Chemie International Edition, is titled: “Gaining Momentum: Sulfonimidamides in Medicinal- and Agrochemistry”. It highlights the emerging interest in the pharmacologically active sulfonimidamide moiety as reported in both conventional and patent literature.

Kruger and colleagues said interest in this sulfonamide isostere was modest from the first report on its medicinal chemistry application in 1979 up to 2012. However, since 2012 there had been increased numbers of patents and publications with sulfonimidamide functionality.

‘The reason for this is attributed to a parallel development in new synthetic methodologies to access the hexavalent S=N derivatives in general. Sulfonimidamides are expanding the chemical space for drug designers into novel territories and will definitely form part of a modern-day medicinal and agrochemist´s toolbox.’

The CPRU is renowned for driving research excellence. Colleagues of Kruger’s and Principal Investigators include Professor Thavi Govender, who has reached an impressive 220 ISI publications, and A-rated scientist Professor Fernando Albericio.

Other lead scientists include SciLifeLab Drug Discovery and Development’s platform Director Professor Per Arvidsson of the  Karolinska Institute, and UKZN’s Professor Tricia Naicker, Dr Glenn Maguire and Dr Bahareh Honarparvar.

The CPRU recently received a research grant of about R7 million from the National Research Foundation (NRF) for scholarships towards postgraduate training next year. The money is to be used to further research in bacterial and HIV drug resistance and also covers student support and running costs of the research undertaken. It will support five post-docs, 19 PhDs, 24 masters and 21 honours students.

On hearing about Kruger reaching the milestone, colleagues commented: ‘On behalf of the CPRU team, we congratulate Professor Kruger on his outstanding achievements and salute his consistent willingness to help others succeed. He is truly an inspirational scholar.’

MaryAnn Francis