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The Biolabels Unit seeks a collaborative effort in addressing  health issues  using  nanotechnology-based  tools.  The   Unit’s  goal   is   to   develop   high   performance   bio-molecular   functionalised nanostructures  which  are  then  used  for  point-of-care  diagnostics  and therapeutic applications. Within the  Therapeutics platform, the focus is on developing nano-systems to be used as potential therapeutic  agents,  while  the  Diagnostics  platform  focuses on the development of point-of-care diagnostic kits and labelling reagents for in vivo imaging. 


The Developmental NIC Biolabels team is headed by Dr. Amanda Skepu. She has a PhD in Biotechnology from the University of the Western Cape. Prior to joining Mintek, she worked at the MRC Diabetes Research Group, where she was responsible for conducting and managing research process, supervising and lecturing postgraduate students, writing research proposals and reports and establishing collaborations. Her areas of expertise cover a wide area of techniques in molecular and cellular biology, R&D in the development of rapid diagnostic test kits, with vast experience in working with rats and various cell culture models.

Ms. Sinazo Cobongela

Sinazo is  currently in charge of the MinPeptides™ and MinNanoGold™ facilities,  where  she  is  involved in the production of  high  quality  peptides and peptoids and
the synthesis of bio-functionalised gold  nanoparticles respectively.

Ms. Busiswa Dyan

Busi   is   part   of   the    MinDiagnostics™   group,   which develops and  manufactures  low cost, high quality rapid diagnostics kit for infectious diseases.   She has focused on  the  development  of  the  malaria  kit  and is currently persuing her PhD in biomarker identification and POC kit development for breast cancer.

Dr. Nikiwe Mhlanga

Nikiwe   is   currently   working   on   the   development   of surface  enhanced Raman spectroscopy based gold self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) toward the production of sensitive, economical,  rapid and user  friendly diagnostic tools for the detection of infectious diseases.

Mr. Phumlani Tetyana

Phumlani is involved in the research, development and manufacture of high performance lateral flow immunoassays (LFIA) for detection of infectious diseases in humans and animals, with specific focus on HIV. 

Mrs. Hendriëtte van der Walt

Hendriette is currently in charge of the NicTox™ facility, where she tests the toxicity of nanomaterials to normal, as well as cancerous cell lines. She is also involved in the development of animal based lateral flow devices.

Mrs. Thulaganyo Molatji

Thuli is currently pursuing a PhD as part of the PDP program, in the design and development of a Point-of Care Lateral Flow Device (POCLFD) and a SERS based diagnostic assay for the detection of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) in infected blood.


The NIC Biolabels research unit is based at the University of the Western Cape and headed by Dr. Mervin Meyer.  

There are currently sixteen (16) students registered at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), comprising thirteen (13) PhD and three (3) MSc registered students. They focus on a variety of projects, including the identification and development of cancer biomarkers; development of rapid diagnostic tests for various human diseases (including HIV and cancer) and the development of gold nano-based therapeutics systems for cancer treatment.