Members - Biochemical Genetics

Research leaders and publication links

Prof Rencia van der Sluis

Associate Professor


Web of Science

Telephone: +27 18 299 2068


Office: Potchefstroom Campus, Building F3, Room 202

Qualifications: PhD

Expertise: Molecular genetics, biotechnology, enzyme kinetics, recombinant enzyme expression and characterisation


Active researchers and publication links

Dr Henriette van der Zwan
Extraordinary Senior Lecturer

Research Focus: Parrot genotyping and colour inheritance

The research conducted on parrots focusses on developing tests that bird (especially parrot) breeders can use to breed better birds. These tests include parentage verification tests that enable a buyer to verify the pedigree of a bird before a transaction is made. Another test we are busy developing is to determine which plumage colour alleles (variants of the gene) is carried by the bird (or as the breeders call it – split colours). The colours we are specifically focussing on are blue, turquoise and sapphire. The main species we work on are the nine Agapornis, or lovebird, species, but we hope to expand to other species once the initial research has been done. 


Mr Christo Botha



Miss H van der Zwan, PhD: Biochemistry 2015-2019, graduated May 2019
Project title: De novo sequencing, assembly and annotation of the Agapornis roseicollis genome to identify variants for the development of genetic screening tests.

Miss C Moolman, PhD (Pharmaceutical Chemistry) 2016-2020, graduated May 2021
Project title: Exploration of benzofuran and its analogues as scaffolds for design of potent and selective PfGSK-3 inhibitors: New antimalarial agents.



Mr P Lourens, MSc: Biochemistry 2020-2022, Graduated October 2022
Project title: Establishment of a model system in which variants of the medium chain ligase and GLYAT can be co-expressed to investigate the effect of genetic variation on the detoxification ability of the pathway.

Mr Z Geldenhuys, MSc: Biochemistry 2018-2021, Graduated May 2021
Project title: Prenatal sexing of wildlife using qPCR.

Mr E Chimbazaza, MSc: Engineering Science in Chemical Engineering 2020 - 2021, Graduated May 2021
Project title: Bio-catalytic upgrading of phenolic components present in waste water of a  hydrothermal liquefaction plant.

Mr DM de Villiers, MSc: Biochemistry (part-time) 2016-2019, graduated May 2020
Project title: Development and validation of a qPCR assay for the non-invasive determination of fetal sex in cattle and African Buffalo.

Miss C Schutte, MSc: Biochemistry 2017-2019, graduated May 2020
Project title: Characterization of the enzyme activity and substrate specificity of GLYAT haplotypes.

Mr P Venter, MSc: Biochemistry 2017-2018, graduated cum laude May 2019
Project title: ACSM2A and ACSM2B enzyme test optimization and recombinant protein   expression.

Miss V Ungerer; MSc: Biochemistry 2014 – 2016, graduated May 2016
Project title: Investigation of the bi-substrate kinetics of a recombinant human glycine N-acyltransferase with a known non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphism (N156S).

Miss T van der Westhuizen: MSc: Biochemistry 2014 – 2016, graduated May 2015
Project title: The identification of genetic variation in the Acyl-CoA synthetase genes (ACSM2A and ACSM2B).

Miss C Nortje; MSc Biochemistry 2013 – 2016, graduated cum laude May 2016
Project title: Phase 2 Biotransformation: The Targeted Profiling of Glycine Amino Acid   conjugation. Received the S2A3 Masters Bronze Medal, which is awarded annually to the most outstanding research student in a scientific subject graduating at the Masters level at each South African university.