Erin McMaster Poster 2023


Ms Erin McMaster



Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Ferrocenyl-sulfonamide Derivatives as Anti-mycobacterial Agents

Poster Abstract

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that has plagued humankind for over four thousand years (Zaman, 2010). Today, TB in humans is mainly attributed to the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Zaman, 2010). First line drugs Isoniazid, Rifampicin, Ethambutol and Pyrazinamide are generally administered to TB-positive individuals. The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported a rapid increase in the number of both multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB cases and extensive-drug resistant (XDR) TB cases, globally (Zaman, no date). In the year 2020, TB was the second most infectious killer globally, and it was second only to Covid19 (Global Tuberculosis Report 2021, 2021). The search for anti-TB drugs with differing mechanisms of action is urgent. Iron is essential to most living organisms, including M. tuberculosis which needs iron for growth and virulence (Chao et al., 2019). Hence, M. tuberculosis iron uptake is currently being explored as a drug target (Chao et al., 2019). Ferrocene and ferrocenyl derivatives are iron compounds currently being extensively explored in medicinal organometallic chemistry (Peter and Aderibigbe, 2019). Our research focuses on testing ferrocenyl-sulfonamide derivatives for anti-mycobacterial activity on M. tuberculosis and M. smegamtis. These ferrocenyl-sulfonamide complexes will be developed with the aim of 1) To produce an anti-TB drug with a different mechanism of action to current first-and-second line anti-TB drugs, with the goal of overcoming drug resistance and 2) to bypass the toxicity levels of the second-line anti-TB drugs.


I am a masters student at Stellenbosch University, Department of Medicine and Health Sciences, Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics. I form part of Dr Vuyo Mavumengwana's research team. We call ourselves Vuyo Lab and together with Dr Nandi Niemand from TB genomics and Dr Prinessa Chellan from the Inorganic Chemistry department, we are synthesizing ferrocene-sulfonamide anti-TB drugs, characterizing them and testing them on Mycobacterium smegmatis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and TB infected macrophages. My project will also involve fluorescent microscopy and flow cytometry.