CUT’s youngest doctorate makes his mark in academia

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Prof. Sitheni Mashele, Dr Hans-Denis Bamal and Prof. Khajamohiddin Syed.

The Central University of Technology (CUT) in the Free State conferred a doctoral degree to one of the youngest scientist, Dr Hans-Denis Bamal, at the 2018 Autumn Graduations.

The 25-year-old graduate received a qualification as Doctor of Health Sciences in Biomedical Technology for his research work that led to the discovery of a novel drug intended to help fight aquatic animal infections caused by aquatic parasites.

For decades, researchers across the world have tried to understand these microorganisms to control the disease and develop novel drugs against these pathogens, and Bamal’s research work is leading the way in finding solutions that will bring an end to this socio-economic challenge facing aquatic farming.

In his research work: Phylogenetic, structural and functional analysis of cytochrome P450 monooxygenase CYP5619A1 from Saprolegnia declina, he performed a phylogenetic analysis and characterisation of the novel P450 protein CYP5619A1 from the deadliest fish pathogen, Saprolegnia diclina, and discovered that the CYP5619 family is only present in oomycete pathogens and involved in the metabolism of fatty acids.

He identified CYP5619A1 inhibitors by using virtual screening techniques at the University of Alberta, Canada. The study on the characterisation of this novel P450 family was the first of its kind, and the results paved the way for assessing CYP5619A1’s role in S. diclina physiology.

Thus far, Bamal has published four articles in high-impact factor journals, supervised four BTech projects, and co-supervised three master’s degree projects. His work was also presented at national and international conferences.