Dr Didi Makaula
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
Study of microbial succession during colonisation of mineral ores in heap bioleaching processes. A biotechnological approach to facilitate metal recovery from South African refractory carbonaceous mineral ores
My research interests lie in the usage of microorganisms to valorise mineral resources without the associated safety risks and with minimal damage to the environment. Furthermore, the establishment of a methods that allow for the characterization of mine waste before its disposal, thus preventing possible acid mine drainage. My current postdoctoral research focuses on the development of bio-based technology solutions to recover gold and copper from double refractory minerals. This is a collaborative effort between UCT and Kyushu University (Japan). Secondly, I am studying the formation of biofilms in flow-through (heap) bioleach systems. This helps with providing a semi-real time data of the EPS biochemical contributors to the leach performance. In the case of mine waste material, mineral surface colonisation and biofilm formation would assist with characterisation of that particular waste material and thus inform safe disposal.
In refereed Journals 4 In refereed Conference Proceedings 1 Presented at International Conferences 4 Technical Reports 1
Professional History2019-Present Postdoctoral research fellow UCT 2011-2013 Agricultural research council professional development program
Awards2019 NRF Freestanding postdoctoral fellowship award 2019 NRF postdoctoral travel award 2019 BRICS young scientist forum travel award 2016 CSIR-DST Inter-programme bursary award 2016 UK – South Africa researcher links mobility grant 2016 NRF Knowledge interchange collaboration travel award (KIC)
Qualifications2019 PhD Chemical Engineering, University of Cape Town MSc Biotechnology BSc (Hons) Biotechnology BSc