Durban – WITHIN 8 years of beginning her academic career, University of KwaZulu Natal Associate Professor Tricia Naicker (PhD) has been carving a path in pharmaceutical sciences which has seen her achieve accolade after accolade.
The latest milestone in her journey has culminated in the 35-year-old Chatsworth resident being awarded the 2020 Raikes medal by the South African Chemical Institute.
The medal recognises young members of the institute whose work in chemical research shows promise and is judged by publications in reputable journals from research conducted in South Africa.
Naicker expressed pride at her latest achievement.
“I am honoured and thank my supportive family, students, mentors and collaborators at the Catalysis and Peptide Research (UKZN) unit for her achievements. Special thanks goes to my nominator and long-time mentor Professor Gert Kruger.”
She is the youngest associate professor at UKZN and stands in distinguished company being one of three academics as well as the first woman to be awarded the medal at UKZN.
UKZN College of Health Sciences Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Busi Ncama congratulated Naicker on her achievement.
“I am very proud of Professor Tricia Naicker being an academic in our College. I am not surprised that she received this award, she is an outstanding and dedicated researcher and she is also very humble.”
Naicker is currently working on research with worldwide implications looking to resolve antibiotic resistance which according to the Centres of Disease Control and Diseases is on the rise in the US with 2.8 million people infected and 35 000 deaths in 2019.
“My research at the Catalysis and Peptide Research Unit (UKZN) is focused on antibiotic drug resistance, there are currently no class of molecules available for the inhibition of metallo-β-lactamase enzymes which is a growing worldwide challenge limiting the use of current antibiotic treatments. Our labs have developed a class of new molecules targeting these resistant strains of bacteria.”
Naicker is also part of organisations in the scientific community as an executive member of the South African chapter of the Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World. She is also a member of the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS).