MSc Student Lesley Dralle, winner of the James
Moir Medal.

A postgraduate student in Organic Chemistry, Ms Lesley Dralle, has received the James Moir Medal from the South African Chemical Institute (SACI) for being top of the Honours class in the Discipline of Chemistry last year.

SACI annually awards James Moir Medals to the best BSc Honours students in Chemistry at every University and University of Technology in South Africa. To be eligible for the award a student must have achieved a minimum final pass mark of 75 percent.

Dralle, who graduated cum laude, focused her honours work on organoborane compounds with application as organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs).

She is currently working towards her MSc in Organic Chemistry under the guidance of Professor Ross Robinson. Her MSc research involves synthesizing xenovenine – a compound extracted from the skin of poisonous frogs which are thought to acquire it from the fire ants they eat – to test its biological activity in treating diseases. 

Born and raised in Pietermaritzburg, Dralle initially intended pursuing Biology in her undergraduate studies but the Chemistry bug soon bit and she hasn’t looked back since.

Dralle balances her academic life with a keen interest in sport having competed at the level of both Natal Midlands Country Districts and South African Country Districts in hockey. She also enjoys a regular game of squash.

‘Having worked extremely hard in what was definitely the most challenging year of my studies it is incredibly satisfying, and a huge honour, to receive such a prestigious award,’ said Dralle.