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Prof Dean Brady

Prof Dean Brady

Position: Head of School
BSc Hons, MSc, PhD (Rhodes)
011 717 6745

Dean Brady obtained his PhD from Rhodes University, under the supervision of Professor John Duncan, researching metal ion recovery from wastewater. He then joined AECI (African Explosives and Chemical Industries) R&D in 1994. In 2001 he joined Professor Roger Sheldon at Delft University of Technology (Netherlands) as a Visiting Research Fellow and then at CSIR (South Africa) as a Research Group Leader and Chief Research Scientist, specialising in Biocatalysis. He joined the University of the Witwatersrand in 2013 as a Professor and the Head of the School of Chemistry.

Research Interests

Research and promotion of Green Chemistry for Industry, using biologically based chemical production methods, in particular Biocatalysis.

Biocatalysis utilises the high selectivity of enzymes in synthetic chemistry.  This has a number of commercial advantages, such as reduction in production costs by involving fewer process steps, improved yields due to reduced by-product formation, and reduced capital costs (low temperature and pressure reactions). 

Biocatalysis is major contributor to Green Chemistry Technology as it can readily utilise sustainable renewable feedstocks, can converted some industrial wastes into products, reduce  waste through improved atom economy and yields, and is inherently safe (low pressure and temperature reactions).


Rashamuse K, Sanyika W, Mathiba K, Ngcobo T, Mtimka S, Brady D (2017) Metagenomic mining of glycoside hydrolases from the hindgut bacterial symbionts of a termite, Trinervitermise trinervoides and the characterisation of a multimodular β-1, 4-xylanase (GH11). Biotechnology and Applied Biochemistry 64 (2): 174-186.

Rapheeha OK, Roux-van der Merwe MP, Badenhorst J, Chhiba, V, Bode ML, Mathiba K, Brady D  (2017) Hydrolysis of nitriles by soil bacteria: variation with soil origin. Journal of Applied Microbiology. 122 686-697.

Qwebani-Ogunleye T, Kolesnikova NI, Steenkamp P, de Koning CB, Brady D, Wellington KW (2017). A one-pot laccase-catalysed synthesis of coumestan derivatives and their anticancer activity. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, 25(3), 1172–1182.

Juma WP, Chhiba V, Brady D, Bode ML (2017).  Enzymatic kinetic resolution of Morita-Baylis-Hillman acetates. Tetrahedron Asymmetry. 28: 1169–1174.

Mbanjwa MB, Land KJ, Windvoel T, Korvink JG, Visser D and Brady D (2018) Preparation of self-immobilised enzyme microspheres using droplet-based microfluidics. Process Biochemistry. 69: 75-81

Zimuwandeyi M, Kola F, Lemmerer A, Brady D, Rousseau AL, Bode ML (2018) Passerini reactions of α-aminoaldehydes: identity of major and minor diastereomers. Tetrahedron 74(24), 2925-2941

Sheldon RA and Brady D (2018) The Limits to Biocatalysis: Pushing the Envelope. Chemical Communications. 54: 6088-6104

Chhiba-Govindjee VP, Mathiba K, van der Westhuyzen CW, Steenkamp P, Rashamuse JK, Stoychev S, Bode ML, Brady D (2018) Dimethylformamide is a novel nitrilase inducer in Rhodococcus rhodochrous. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 102: 10055–10065.

Dodd A, Swanevelder D, Bekker V; Zhou N, Brady D, Hallsworth J, Rumbold K (2018) Streptomyces albulus yields ε-poly-L-lysine and other products from salt-contaminated glycerol waste.  Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology. 45, 1083-1090. 

Maphupha M, Juma WP, de Koning C, Brady D (2018) A modern and practical laccase-catalysed route suitable for the synthesis of 2-arylbenzimidazoles and 2-arylbenzothiazoles. RCS Advances, 8: 39496 - 39510.

Sheldon RA, Brady D (2019) Broadening the Scope of Biocatalysis in Sustainable Organic Synthesis. ChemSusChem 12: In press. DOI: 10.1002/cssc.201900351.

Chhiba-Govindjee VP, van der Westhuyzen CW, Bode ML, Brady D (2019) Mini-Review:  Bacterial nitrilases and their regulation. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology (in press).