Dr Buhari Magaji received a PhD in Chemistry.

PhD Investigates the Science of Suntan Lotion

Dr Buhari Magaji graduated with a PhD in Chemistry for his study on the science of ultraviolet (UV) filters.

After completing his BSc and BSc Honours degrees at Gombe State University and MSc at the University of IIorin in Nigeria, Magaji chose UKZN for his doctoral studies, as the University offers an environment that is ‘intellectually challenging and creative’.

His study examined the characterisation, photostability and antimicrobial activity of symmetrical a, ß-unsaturated ketones as potential UV-filters.  The laboratory findings were supported by computational modelling of the compounds.

Magaji’s research was motivated by the hazards of exposure to UV radiation and its role in the development of skin cancer, which has prompted extensive public awareness campaigns promoting the use of sunscreens.

The findings will assist in the development of new UV absorbers to minimise the hazards of exposure to UV radiation including erythema, photo-aging and the development of skin cancer.

Magaji said he was privileged to work with outstanding academics in the School of Chemistry and Physics, including his supervisors Professor Bice Martincigh and Dr Parvesh Singh and external supervisor, Dr Adam Skelton.

‘I found Magaji to be an extremely talented, sincere and hard-working student who was always ready to learn new research techniques focused on solving intricate problems,’ said Singh. ‘He has used a multi-disciplinary approach involving the utilisation of computational, synthetic and analytical techniques to discover novel heterocyclic compounds with the potential to be developed further in sunscreen research. He is a well-deserved candidate for the award of a doctoral degree and I wish him good luck with his future endeavours.’

Magaji described his PhD studies as, ‘a stressful, interesting and educative experience’, but still found time to enjoy his hobbies of reading, jogging and travelling.

He is currently lecturing at Gombe State University, in Nigeria.

Words: Leena Rajpal

Photograph: Supplied