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Prof Selwyn Mapolie (2010)

Prof. Selwyn Mapolie is Professor of Inorganic Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science at Stellenbosch University, a position he has occupied since January 2008.   Prior to this he held various academic positions at UWC, where his career spanned a period of almost 17 years.   From 2005‑2007 he also served as Deputy Dean (Research and Post Graduate Studies) of the Science Faculty at UWC.

He completed both his undergraduate and Honours degrees at the University of Cape Town, where he also obtained his doctorate in chemistry under the supervision of the late Prof. John Moss working on the preparation and reactivity of hydrocarbyl complexes of transition metals.    After completing his PhD degree in 1988, Prof Mapolie was employed as a Senior Research Officer in the R&D department of AECI Ltd., at the time the largest chemical manufacturer in South Africa.   There he headed a research team working on the development of catalysts for the production of new polymeric materials.

His research interests cover the areas of Organometallic Synthesis, Dendrimer Chemistry, Homogeneous Catalysis and Polymer Chemistry.  Current projects include the development of metallodendrimers as catalyst precursors, preparation of inorganic-organic hybrid materials as sensors, the preparation of new organometallic materials and metal-mediated oxidative transformations of unsaturated hydrocarbons to produce value-added chemicals.   He has published several papers in the above areas.

Amongst some of the awards achieved by Prof. Mapolie are The AECI Research Fellowship, the Andrew Mellon Research Award and a Fulbright Researcher Scholarship.   This has allowed him to collaborate widely with a number of international research groups; these include colleagues at Lund University, University of Mauritius, Utrecht University, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden and Muenster University in Germany.

He is a member of the South African Chemical Institute, the American Chemical Society and the Catalysis Society of South Africa.  He also serves on the executive committee of the latter organization.


Functional Dendrimers: The current status and future prospects, Selwyn F. Mapolie, Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science, Stellenbosch University

Dendrimers are three dimensional macromolecules with a well defined nanostructure. The internal as well as the peripheral architectures of dendrimers can be controlled so as to produce designer-made molecules with specific chemical and physical properties. In recent times a wide array of applications has been identified for dendritic materials. These include applications as catalysts 1, drug-delivery agents 2, imaging agents 3, carriers of genetic material 4 and sensor materials.5 They have also been employed in the production of electronic and photonic devices.

(a) Schematic representation of a dendrimer (b) Molecular model of a dendrimer

The talk will provide an overview of some of the major developments in the field of dendrimer chemistry including the pioneering work done by Tomalia 6, Frechet 7 and Vogtle 8. In addition some of the newer synthetic methodologies employed to produce dendritic materials will be highlighted. Examples of new dendrimers produced in recent years as well as specific examples where dendrimers have found practical application will be discussed. Reference to the contributions made by our own research group to the development of new dendrimers as well as the use of these in catalysis will be highlighted. Finally the talk will conclude with some thoughts on possible future trends in dendrimer chemistry.

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  2. S. Svenson, European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics 71, 2009, 445
  3. S. D. Swanson, J. Kukowska-Latallo, A. K. Patri, C. Chen, S. Ge, Z. Cao, A. Kotlyar, A. East, J. R .Baker, Jr. Int. J. Nanomed. 3, 2008, 201.
  4. C. Dufés, I. F. Uchegbu, Schätslein, A. G. AdV. Drug Delivery, Rev. 57, 2005, 2177.
  5. N. L. Rosi, C. A .Mirkin, Chem. Rev. 105 2005, 1547.
  6. D.A. Tomalia,., H Baker,., Dewald, J., Hall, M., Kallos, G., Martin, S., Roeck, J. Ryder, J. P. Smith, Polym. J. 1985, 17, 117
  7. C.J. Hawker, J.M.J. Fréchet, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 112, 1990, 7638.
  8. E. Buhleier, W. Wehner, F. Vogtle, Synthesis, 1978, 155