Dr. Govinden is involved in bioprospecting for extremophilic organisms and the study of their genes and enzymes relating to the hydrolysis of renewable biomass and production of biopolymers. The focus is to clone, characterize, purify and apply these biocatalysts in the field of biofuels, biopulping and biobleaching, biorefinery processes and bioplastics. A more recent interest is the study of endophytic fungi from South African medicinal plants, the bioactive molecules they produce for application as antimicrobial, anticancer and anti-oxidant applications. She is also exploring the use of fungi for the biosynthesis of metal nanoparticles for biosensor design for diagnostic applications and for targeted drug delivery. She teaches several undergraduate and honours modules in microbiology.
She has previous experience as a principal investigator, co-investigator and lab manager of phase II, III and IV clinical trials testing microbicides for the prevention of HIV and STDs in women.
Enzyme Biotechnology – Characterization & application in biofuels, biopulping, biobleaching, biorefinery processes
Bioprospecting and Strain engineering – Biopolymer production (bioplastics)
NanoTechnology – Applications of Silver/Gold nanoparticles produced by fungi in biosensor design and targeted drug delivery
Sustainable Agriculture – Enhancing rhizospere microorganisms to improve crop production