Prof Victor Wepener
Director: School of Biological Sciences
Professor Wepener is the leading expert in Aquatic Ecotoxicology and in Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) in South Africa. He has trained students in ERA of pesticides to sediment risk assessments in the marine environment. He was lead author on a Water Research Commission report on identifying the research needs for conducting risk assessment of nanomaterials in aquatic environments. Professor Wepener has published extensively on these themes and has also participated in OECD and NANOSOLUTIONs projects internationally assessing a main contributor from South Africa on these topics
Meet our Research Team
Dr Tarryn Lee Botha
Dr TL Botha specialized in nanogold following a tiered approach which included several techniques currently used by our team. Dr TL Botha has undertaken further training in terrestrial ecotoxicology and fish breeding protocols at the Fraunhover Institute, Germany and was in the exchange program at the School of Veterinary Medicine (Hokkaido University) in Japan training receiving training in DNA microarray and RT-PCR.
An increasing number of nano-materials as antimicrobials have been introduced over years. These nano-materials end up in the environment and is a cause for concern. A lack of research have been done on the effect of nano-materials towards environment health. The aim is to determine toxicity towards bacteria in soil and water as well as the gut microbes
Divan van Rooyen
My main focus is soil ecotoxicology, currently studying the ecotoxicity of nanomaterials by using nanodiamonds and CdTe Quantum Dots using Enchytraeus albidus. Previous studies include the ecotoxicity of metam sodium utilizing and Enchytraeid Reproduction Test (ERT).
Specializes in soil ecotoxicology, currently experimenting on the ecotoxicological effects of nanomaterials that include cadmium tellurium quantum dots and diamond nanocrystals on Eisenia andrei. Previous studies done on the ecotoxicological effects of Metam Sodium on the growth and reproduction of Eisenia andrei.
MSc student (Env. Management)
The project will be based on determining the ecotoxicity of nanomaterials, specifically CdTe quantum dots and nano diamonds, in sediment. This will be done by using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as a bioindicator for a sediment environment.
Dr Sarel Brand
Dr Sarel Brand is a registered pharmacist with post-graduate experience in translational neuroscience and pharmacology. He completed his PhD at the NWU in Potchefstroom with a thesis titled “The development and validation of an animal model of treatment resistant depression”. During the project, a gene-x-environment approach was applied by combining a stress-restress rat model of PTSD with a genetic animal model of depression. Subsequently, the model and its response to traditional vs. novel antidepressant treatment approaches were investigated by performing behavioural and neurochemical analyses to evaluate its face, predictive and construct validity, resulting in the publication of several peer-reviewed articles. Sarel also received training on in vivo microdialysis at Aarhus University in Denmark and presented results from his PhD studies at local and international conferences. In 2017, Sarel joined the Water Research Group (WRG) as a post-doctoral fellow and is involved in research pertaining to the Department of Science and Technology’s Nano-HSE Risk Research Platform.