‘The secret to success in my bio-computation and drug design laboratory is teamwork,’ said College of Health Sciences’ Dean and Head of the School for Health Sciences Professor Mahmoud Soliman after supervising the graduation of three of his students.
According to Soliman, the key foundation of his team is direct engagement to achieve the group’s purpose. ‘I believe students cannot be inspired if they don’t know what they’re working towards and have no explicit goals. The diversity within our group provides a balanced skillset, thus adding to sustainability of our programme,’ said Soliman.
Dr U Ndagi graduated with PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences for his study: Insight into Cancer Targets and Ligand Binding Landscape Using Bioinformatics and Integrated Molecular Modeling Tools.
Dr OA Arodola was awarded a PhD in Medical Sciences for his research on: The Dual of Cathepsin-D in Breast Cancer and HIV Neuropathogenesis.
Dr P Ramharack graduated with a PhD in Medical Sciences following a study titled: The In Silico Investigation of Pharmacological Targets of the Zika Virus: Insights into the Structural Characteristics of the NS5 and NS3 Proteins from Atomistic Molecular Simulations.
Soliman said: ‘In the academic environment, there are always hurdles to overcome, however, success hinges on core fundamentals that are put in place.’
With the help of his students and their hard work for three consecutive years, Soliman is now on the list of top published researchers in the College and in the Top 10 University-wide.
His research group comprises four postdoctoral fellows, 12 PhD students, 10 masters students and three research assistants.
‘The team is working together towards collective common goals: mutual capacity development and high impact research. Once you create this culture within any research environment, you will certainly be somewhere high,’ he said.
In 2017, the team’s research work was published in 32 high impact journals and in 120 publications over the past five years.
‘The support from UKZN and the diverse research initiatives and strategies to boost research and impact played a crucial role in achieving the above goals,’ said Soliman.
He said his wife, Dr Shaimaa Soliman, who also graduating with a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences, and their two sons, Adham (13) and Tameem (11), always support his endeavours.
Words: Nombuso Dlamini