The department was created in 2001 by the amalgamation of the separate departments of Biochemistry and Microbiology together with the Biotechnology unit. The department is located on two campuses, the MEDUNSA campus as well as the Turfloop campus. On the Turfloop campus the department offers undergraduate and postgraduate training in the disciplines of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Biotechnology and is housed in two buildings, one being the Life Sciences building whilst the other is the Biotechnology Unit. The MEDUNSA campus offers undergraduate and postgraduate training in Biochemistry. The amalgamation of the three overlapping disciplines has ensured a multidisciplinary approach to the department’s research and teaching programme. Furthermore it has improved the research programme of the department by intellectual sharing as well as the sharing of key equipment that would not have been easily accessible.
Biotechnology, genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics and genetic engineering are important, modern fields of studies in the life sciences. The department focuses on these areas for both the undergraduate and postgraduate degrees with a strong emphasis towards biotechnology in general. Being placed within the School of Molecular and Life Sciences affords students of diversifying into areas such as Biodiversity and environmental health. Our academic staff is well qualified and dedicated, have well established and respected research records and collaborations, both nationally and internationally. The department boasts modern, well-equipped research facilities. A recent addition to our department is a microbrewery kindly sponsored by SAB. This facility has enabled our students to have a hands-on experience in brewing which recently won them the third prize in the ale category at the national student brewing competition. The department offers students a unique opportunity to qualify themselves in interesting, diverse areas of the life sciences that is relevant to the work place and will give them the edge in their future careers.
Contact details: Dr EL Jansen van Rensburg