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 currently Professor of Pharmacy in the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Academic Leader of the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Head of the Drug Delivery Research Proto-Unit and Head of the NanoHealth Pillar of the UKZN Nanotechnology Platform at UKZN. She was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship and completed a PhD at University of Nottingham (UK) in 2000. Her PhD in nanotechnology identified technologies for enhancing drug incorporation into polymeric nanosystems for targeted drug delivery. Prof Thiru Govender’s current research on novel delivery systems focuses on nanotechnology and alternate routes of drug delivery. 

She has published widely in reputable international journals on the successful formulation and physicochemical/mechanical/mechanistic/in vitro/in silico/in vivo evaluation of various novel drug delivery systems e.g. pellets, nanoparticles, nanoplexes, nanoliposomes, nanomicelles, nanofibers, nanobubbles and buccal patches/films/tablets/microspheres/wafers for various communicable and non-communicable disease conditions which have included newly synthesized drug delivery materials. Prof Thiru Govender is a South African National Research Foundation (NRF) C1 rated scientist. Her current h-index is calculated as 20 (Scopus). She has 72 publications in ISI international journals, is a co-inventor on a patent filed and has 48 international and 62 local 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, Roche Achievement Award as well as the Adcock Ingram Award for Best Research Publications in Pharmaceutics. She has been the recipient of the UKZN Faculty of Health Sciences Award for Most Productive Researcher in the Associate Professor category. 

She has also received the UKZN nomination for Best Emerging Young Woman Scientist for the South African Women in Science Awards. Prof Thiru Govender has secured scholarships/research grants from the UK Commonwealth Association, NRF, Medical Research Council (MRC) and UKZN. She has successfully supervised/co-supervised students at Honours, Masters, PhD and Postdoctoral levels. Several have passed with distinction and have won international, national and UKZN awards for excellence in publications/presentations/posters. Prof Govender is an invited examiner for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees for various universities in Africa and in South Africa. She has also been an appointed member on the South African Pharmacy Council delegation for the inspection of Pharmacy Schools in the country.
In recognition of her scientific expertise, Prof Govender is currently appointed as an Expert Evaluator on the Pharmaceutical and Analytical Committees of the Medicines Control Council of South Africa for the evaluation of new medicines for regulatory approval. She is also Chair of UKZN College of Health Sciences Women in Leadership and Leverage Committee and a College representative on the UKZN Animal Research and Ethics committee. Prof Govender was also a past Vice Chair of the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences of South Africa. She has occupied various other administrative positions on a University, College, Faculty and School level and has been the Convenor for a national pharmaceutical sciences conference. She is also a member of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists and local professional and scientific pharmaceutical organizations (South African Pharmacy Council, Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa 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)