The 2016 Barker Lecture was given by Prof. Zhen Shen of Nanjing University and was entitled, “Theranostics based on near infrared region luminescence imaging and photodynamic therapy”. Prof. Shen was visiting the department as part of an NRF funded collaborative project that she holds with Dr. John Mack of the RU/DST Centre for Nanotechnology Innovation, who she has collaborated with since 2008.
The lecture was very well attended and described the use of novel porphyrin and BODIPY dyes as photosensitizer dyes for photodynamic therapy (PDT) and for biomaging so that the accumulation of the photosensitizer dye within the cancer tumour can be monitored and the progress of the PDT treatment can be assessed. Three postgraduate students from the CNI, Gugu Kubheka (PhD1), Aviwe May and Zweli Hlatshwayo (MSc1), will be visiting Prof. Shen’s laboratory in China later this year as part of the SA/China collaborative project.
A departmental seminar, entitled “Metallopoprhyin Catalyzed Oxidation and Hydrogenation of Carbon-Carbon Sigma Bonds”, was also given by Prof. Kin Shing Chan of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, which described the use of rhodium and iridium porphyrins as catalysts for cleaving carbon-carbon bonds in a manner that could help reduce the cost of petrol and other oil related fuels.