Professor Thirumala Govender

Professor Thirumala Govender


Professor Thirumala Govender


+27 (031) 260 7357/8




Research Interests

Design and Evaluation of novel drug delivery systems, Buccal and Transdermal Delivery of ARV drugs, Nanoantibiotics.




Prof Thirumala Govender is Professor of Pharmacy in the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Head of the Drug Delivery Research Proto-Unit at University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. She is currently appointed as the Vice Chair of the Pharmaceutical and Analytical Committee on the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) for the evaluation of new medicines for regulatory approval. Prof Govender is also appointed by  the South African Pharmacy Council as the Moderator for Pharmaceutics professional examinations for foreign trained graduates. Prof Govender was also a past Vice Chair of the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences of South Africa.

Following the achievement of her Masters in Pharmacy degree cum laude, Prof Govender was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship and completed a PhD at University of Nottingham (United Kingdom). Her  research  focuses on the design, manufacturing and characterization of various novel medicines for several diseases. Prof Govender’s recent focus has specifically been the development of novel materials and antibiotic nano drug delivery systems to target MRSA infections. Based on research outputs so far, her Unit can be regarded as one of the leading groups globally in this area. She is competing with leading researchers internationally on emerging cutting edge nanotechnology approaches for designing “intelligent” pharmaceutical materials and architectural designs of new generation nano drug delivery systems for improving  the treatment of bacterial infections and overcoming bacterial resistance.

Prof Govender is a South African National Research Foundation (NRF) B2 rated scientist. Her current h-index is calculated as 36 (Scopus) and 38 (Google Scholar) with almost 5000  and 6000 citations respectively, including papers in top ranking journals such as Journal of Controlled Release which has attracted over 1000 citations and 10 others with over 100. She has 140 publications in  reputable international ISI journals  including several in Q1/Top 10 pharmaceutical sciences, medicine and bioengineering journals. She is a Co-Inventor on 2 PCT patent applications filed internationally with over 150 local and international conference contributions. She has won several national awards from the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences of South Africa for excellence in both research and teaching i.e.: Johnson and Johnson Distinguished Teacher Award and Adcock Ingram Award and Boehringer Ingelheim Award for Best Research Publications in Pharmaceutics. Prof Govender has secured scholarships/research grants from UK Commonwealth Association, NRF and MRC. She has successfully supervised  several students at Masters, PhD and Postdoctoral levels, several passing with distinction and achieving international and national awards/appointments.

Prof Govender has achieved considerable international recognition as a scientist. These have included, inter alia,  invited reviewer of papers from several top ranking international journals invited author to submit several review papers for top ranking journals, invited author for book chapters from global leaders in drug delivery,  invitations from international scientific bodies to review research proposal, invitations from several international universities to be a  visiting scientist, an external examiner, visiting lecturer and advisor on nanotechnology curriculum content, invitations from local and  international pharmaceutical companies to advise on drug delivery, invitations to be a plenary speaker  at international symposiums, invitations to chair sessions at local and international conferences and invitation from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons at The Hague (Amsterdam) to present at a nanotechnology symposium for scientists from Africa.  She has also established collaborations with leading universities internationally that have led to research grants, publications and staff/student training (e.g. University College London (UK), Concordia University (Canada), University of Iowa (USA) and Tohoku University (Japan)). Prof Govender has also been invited by  7 universities across Africa to specifically train their staff and students in nanotechnology research for drug delivery.

Prof Govender was recently elected onto the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), the apex organization for science and scholarship in South Africa that honours distinguished scientists who have achieved national and international recognition for significant advancement in science for the benefit of society She is currently a Member on the UKZN Animal Research and Ethics  committee (AREC) , the past Chair  of the UKZN College of Health Sciences Women in Leadership and Leverage Committee (WILL) and a past Head of the UKZN School of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. She is also a member of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) and Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences of South Africa.


Inventors: LC du Toit, V PIllay, YE Choonara, T Govender, TR Carmichael
Type: Drug Delivery Device 
(US0140023692 A1) APPLIC NUMBER: US 13/989,401) (PCT NUMBER: PCT/IB2011/055328), (Filing date, 28 November 2011, Publication date 23 January 2014)


The invention provides an inflammation-responsive implantable device for the in situ delivery of one or more pharmaceutically active agents to a human or animal. The device comprises two differential release bioresponsive polymeric matrices (BPMs): an outer polymeric matrix and an inner polymeric matrix, both of which contain at least one pharmaceutically active agent or drug, typically an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory agent, respectively. The therapeutically effective agent may be embedded in nanoparticles or nanobubbles. In response to inflammation, the pharmaceutically active agents are released, but at different rates: the rate of drug release from the inner polymeric matrix is lower than the rate of drug release from the outer polymeric matrix. Suitable polymers for forming the outer and inner polymeric matrices are hyaluronic acid and chitosan, respectively. A method of making the device and a method of treatment are also described.

Peer Reviewed Publications in ISI Journals 
  1. Suleman, N, Kalhapure RS, Mocktar, C, Rambharose, S, Singh, M, Govender, T, Silver salts of carboxylic acid terminated generation 1 poly (propyl ether imine) (PETIM) dendron and dendrimers as antimicrobial agents against S.aureus and MRSA, RSC Advances, 2015, 5, 34967 – 34978 (Senior Author/Postgraduate Supervisor) (IF = 3.708)
  2. Kalhapure R, Suleman, N, Seedat, N, Mocktar C, Govender, T, Nanoengineered drug delivery systems for enhancing antibiotic drug therapy, Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2014, DOI 10.1002/jps.24298 (Senior Author/Postdoctoral Supervisor) (Invited Review).
  3. Kalhapure, R, Mocktar, C, Muthu, K, Skelton, A, Sonowane, S, Sikwal, D, Govender, T, Ion pairing with linoleic acid simultaneously enhances encapsulation efficiency and antibacterial activity of vancomycin in solid lipid nanoparticles Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 2014, 117, 303-311 (Senior Author/Postdoctoral Supervisor) (IF=4.3)
  4. Du Toit, L; Pillay, V; Govender, T; Carmichael, T, Kumar, P; Choonara, YE,In Vitro, In Vivo, and In Silico Evaluation of the Bioresponsive Behavior of an Intelligent Intraocular Implant, Pharmaceutical Research, 2014,  31(607-634)  (Co-Senior Author/Postgraduate Co-Supervisor). (IF=3.9)
  5. Jones, E, Ojewole, E, Kalhapure, R, Govender, T, In vitro comparative evaluation of monolayered multipolymeric films embedded with didanosine-loaded solid lipid nanoparticles: A potential buccal drug delivery system for ARV therapy, Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy, 2014, 40(5), 669-679. (Senior Author/Postgraduate Supervisor) (IF=2.01)
  6. Rhambarose, S, Ojewole, E, Mackraj, I, Govender, T, Comparative buccal permeability enhancement of didanosine and tenofovir by potential multifunctional polymeric excipients and their effects on porcine buccal histology, Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, 2014, 19(1), 82-90.  (Senior Author/Postgraduate Supervisor) (IF=1.34)
  7. Rhambarose, M, Branham, S, Ojewole, Govender, T, High?energy ball milling of Saquinavir increases permeability across the buccal mucosa, Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy, 2014, 40(5), 639-648. (Senior Author/Postgraduate Supervisor) (IF=2.01)
  8. Ahmed, SM, Kruger HG, Maguire GEM, Govender, T, The impact of active site mutations of South African HIV PR on drug resistance: insight from molecular dynamics simulations, binding free energy and per-residue footprints, Chemical Biology & Drug Design, 2014, 83 (472-481)  (Senior Author/Postgraduate Supervisor) (IF=2.5)
  9. Ojewole, E, Kalhapure, E, Akamanchi, K,  Govender, T, Novel Oleic AcidDerivatives Enhance Buccal Permeation of Didanosine, Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy, 2014, 40(5), 657-668. (Senior Author/Postgraduate Supervisor) (IF=2.01)
  10. Kalhapure, RS, Govender, T, Akamanchi, KG, Phosphine free tetradentate salicylaldimine ligand complexedwith palladium: First Application in Heck Reactions, Synthetic Communications, 2014, 44 (3337-3345) (Postdoc Supervisor) (IF=0.98)
  11. Kalhapure, R, Krishnacharya, Ga, Mocktar, C, Govender, T, Synthesis and antibacterial activity of silver nanoparticles capped with a carbozylic acid terminated generation 1 oleodendrimer, Chemistry Letters, 2014, 43, 1110-1112. (Senior Author/Postdoctoral Supervisor) (IF=1.6)
  12. Kalhapure, R, Kathiravan, M, Akamanchi, K, Govender, T, Dendrimers – From organic synthesis to pharmaceutical applications: An update, Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, In Press, 2014, DOI:10.3109/10837450.2013.862264 (Senior author/Postdoc Supervisor) (IF=1.34)
  13. E, Jones, E, Ojewole, V. Pillay, P Kumar, S Rambharose, T Govender, Monolayered multipolymeric buccal films with drug and polymers of opposing solubilities for ARV therapy: Physico-mechanical evaluation and molecular mechanics modeling, International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 455 (2013), 197-212. (Senior Author/Postgraduate Supervisor). (IF=3.8)
  14. Du Toit, L; Pillay, V; Govender, T; Carmichael, T, Kumar, P; Choonara, YE, Design of an anti-inflammatory composite nanosystem and evaluation of its potential for ocular delivery, Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2013, 102(8): 2780-2805.  (Co-Senior Author/Postgraduate Co-Supervisor). (IF=3.00)
  15. Ahmed, SM, Kruger HG, Govender, T, Maguire GEM, Sayed, Y, Ibrahim, MAA, Naicker, P, Soliman, ME, Comparison of the Molecular dynamics and calculated binding free energies for nine FDA approved HIV-PR drugs against subtype B and C-SA HIV PR, Chemical Biology and Drug Design, 2013, 81, 208-218. (Co-Senior Author/Postgraduate Co-Supervisor). (IF=2.5)
  16. Branham, M, Moyo, T, Govender, T, Preparation and Solid-State Characterization of Ball Milled Saquinavir Mesylate for Solubility Enhancement, European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, 2012, 80, 194-202. (Senior Author/Postdoctoral Supervisor) (IF=4.2)
  17. Ojewole, E, Mackraj, I, Akhundov, K, Hamman, J, Viljoen, A, Olivier, E, Smith, JW, Govender, T, Investigating the effect of Aloe vera gel on the buccal permeability of didanosine, Planta Medica, 2012, 78: 354-361. (Senior Author/Postgraduate Supervisor) (IF=2.3)
  18. Branham, M, Buth, SM, Ross, EA, Govender, T, Effect of ultrasound facilitated fixation on oral mucosal density and Morphology, Biotechnic and Histochemistry, 2012, 87 (5), 331-339.  (Senior Author/Postdoctoral Supervisor) (IF=1.0)
  19. Branham, ML, Ross, EA, Govender, T, Predictive models for Maximum Recommended Therapeutic Dose of antiretroviral drugs. Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine, 2012, 469769, 9 pages (doi: 10.1155/2012/469769)   (Senior Author/Postdoctoral Supervisor) (IF=1.01)

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