Scientific Article Dedicated to former UKZN Vice-Chancellor, Professor Malegapuru MakgobaGeneral

Dr Tricia Naicker.Dr Tricia Naicker.

An article by UKZN’s Catalysis and Peptide Research Unit, based in the College of Health Sciences, titled: “Enantioselective Organocatalyzed Transformations of ß-Ketoesters”, has appeared in the prestigious Chemical Reviews journal.

The article is dedicated to Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, the former Vice-Chancellor of UKZN, for his significant contributions to research.

The main author of the study, Dr Tricia Naicker, said she had been thrilled to learn that the article was one of only six UKZN-affiliated works to have been accepted for publication in the prominent journal. 

Naicker’s field of expertise lies in applying organocatalysis to drug synthesis. Since the completion of her post-doctoral studies in 2013, under the guidance of world renowned leader in the field, Professor KA Jørgensen (H-index 91), Naicker has been doing independent research at UKZN’s Catalysis and Peptide Research Unit. 

She has already published in the most esteemed journals in the field of organic synthesis, including in the Journal of American Chemical Society; Angewandte Chemie, Journal of Organic Chemisty, Organic Letters and Chemical Communications

Her publication output can be viewed at  

As an emerging researcher, she has displayed passion and focus for her interests in the field of asymmetric organocatalysis and is currently supervisor/co-supervisor of four PhDs, six masters and three post-doctoral students. 

Naicker says she attributes her achievements to her innovative and supportive research team as well as her understanding family. ‘The field of organocatalysis is currently one of the most competitive research areas in Chemistry.  This article highlights the ß-ketoester structural motif which is a privileged starting material in which its chiral derivatives continue to be key building blocks in organic synthesis, natural products, and medicinal chemistry.

* Chemical Reviews has a higher five-year impact factor than the prestigious scientific journal, Nature, with impact factors of 37 and 38 respectively based on 2015 statistics.

Gert Kruger