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Post-Doctoral Research Fellows

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 History

2019-Present        Postdoctoral research fellow UCT
2011-2013            Agricultural research council professional development program


2019                  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)


2019                  PhD Chemical Engineering, University of Cape Town
                        MSc Biotechnology
                        BSc (Hons) Biotechnology