Natural Sciences and Engineering
Dr Wade Petersen

Department of Chemistry
University of Cape Town

Dr Wade Petersen’s work focuses on the use of small organic molecules (organocatalysis) and light energy (photocatalysis) as key technologies for chemical synthesis. He aims to develop novel, enabling synthetic protocols that will support industries heavily reliant on the synthesis of organic molecules, i.e. pharmaceuticals, agriculture, petrochemicals etc. He completed his PhD in Organic Chemistry at the University of Cape Town and spent time as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at its Drug Discovery and Development Centre before joining the University of York for two years as an independent NRF Postdoctoral Research Fellow, returning to UCT in 2017 to take up the position of Lecturer. He established his research group in 2018 and was awarded a prestigious FLAIR Fellowship jointly by the Royal Society (UK) and the African Academy of Sciences. He has published nine peer-reviewed articles, is a full member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK) as well as the SA Chemical Institute, and serves on the advisory board of the journal SynOpen. His research has the potential to develop new low-cost chemical synthesis infrastructure that could be powered by renewable energy, having the potential to revolutionise the chemical synthesis industry in Africa.