Home > The Team > Current Students > MSc Students
Current Students

MSc Students

        Chiara Disraeli


Chiara Disraeli graduated from the University of Parma in 2019 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. She worked on a project researching the coordination properties of lignin. She is currently studying biomolecular chemistry at the University of Parma and she is spending one semester in research activity under the supervision of Prof. Kelly Chibale at the University of Cape Town to obtain her joint master’s degree. Her research work focuses on drug discovery for the treatment of malaria.


     Natalia Shakela

Natalia Shakela studied at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Namibia. She graduated BSc in 2017 with cum laude (Chemistry major and Physics minor) and BSc Honours with cum laude (Applied Chemistry) in 2019. She has worked as Laboratory Technician in the Department of Natural and Applied Sciences, Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences, NUST, since 2018. As a student and Laboratory Technician, she has been involved in research, under the supervision of senior academics in projects of Moringa seed protein for water treatment and antimicrobial activity, the preparation and characterisation of wood plastics composites, preparation and characterisation of activated carbon using encroacher bushes biomass for the removal of persistent pollutants from wastewater. Some of these projects have been supported financially by organisations such as GIZ and SIDA.  She has received awards as the best overall student at first, second-, third-year levels, and at Honours level.

In 2020, she received the best poster presentation award in the Environmental Chemistry section during the inaugural Royal Society’s Commonwealth Chemistry Virtual Congress. Research interest in drug discovery and the current focus is on malaria drug discovery by designing small molecules that moderately inhibit or bind to two or biological targets (also known as polypharmacology). This recent trend contrasts with what is typically done in drug discovery today, i.e. designing small molecules that strongly inhibit/tightly bind to a single target. The project aims to identify dual targeting malaria selective kinase inhibitor leads suitable for optimisation as potential agents for treating uncomplicated blood-stage Plasmodium falciparum malaria with transmission-blocking potential through activity against gametocyte parasite life-cycle stage parasites, ideally with additional activity against liver-stage parasites. The idea is to repurpose human kinase inhibitors as novel antimalarial agents.