Meet Prof Tricia Naicker

Why OWSD membership is important, and what inspires me

Directly after my postdoctoral studies I joined academia, as this point my studies, was solely funded by the NRF and being cooped up in a lad, had no idea of other organizations or platforms. As a young researcher, I fast realized that I had to create networks and look for opportunities in order to stay on top of my research area. I stumbled upon the OWSD website and was amazed by their initiatives and achievements, hence I applied to become a member. To my delight, shortly after joining, I became part of the EXCO for the South African National Chapter.  I was warmly received by the strong and inspirational women on this team.  Being part of this EXCO has allowed me to be part of several career development initiatives as well as networking opportunities with eminent women scientists. It has given me the platform to promote other women in science knowing that there is much needed support out there. Most importantly, it has allowed me recognize the scientific excellence amongst other women within Africa which makes me truly proud to be part of this organisation.

Tricia Naicker

Tricia Naicker is University of KwaZulu Natal’s youngest associate professor in the College of Health Sciences, Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Naicker completed her PhD (chemistry) in 2011 on asymmetric organocatalysis that was the first to be explored in Africa. Her research outputs endorsed the prestigious Oppenheimer postdoctoral award, which she pursed at Aarhus University, Denmark under the guidance of world-renowned leader Prof KA Jorgensen. After a very successful postdoctoral stint, she was appointed as an academic at University of KwaZulu Natal in 2013. Based on her specialized expertise and being the pioneer in the field, the highly-ranked Catalysis and Peptide Research Unit at UKZN commenced collaboration with her as the first women to join their team. After a short time, Naicker has become a principle investigator in the unit and took over the leadership of the synthetic division for drug discovery. She maintains the importance of active research by the supervision and mentorship of younger academics/postgrads by initiating collaborations (local and international) with emerging researchers as well as school learners to further their studies. Her current research interests in drug discovery focused toward method development in organic synthesis of biologically important intermediates/drugs within the field of antibacterials.