South African Young Academy of Science

Keagan Pokpas

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Dr Keagan Pokpas joined the University of Western Cape (UWC), Department of Chemistry and SensorLab research group as electroanalytical chemistry and sensor technology lecturer and researcher in 2018. Having completed his M.Sc. in Nanoscience (2014) and later his Ph.D. in Electroanalytical chemistry from UWC (2017), Dr Pokpas has shown himself to be a committed researcher with a passion for developing low-cost and affordable early detection diagnostics and environmental monitoring sensor technologies to meet the needs of rural and impoverished areas on the African continent who have molded him into the person he is today. At present, Keagan’s research interests involve the fabrication of conductive graphene-based sensing platforms designed from low-cost substrates, paper-based microfluidics and electrocatalytic nanocomposites for metal-analysis and anti-breast cancer drug determination and have culminated in peer-reviewed journal publications and international collaborations. Most recently, he has expanded his interest to rheological studies of various samples. This passion for research has led him to be awarded a coveted African-German Network of Excellence in Science (AGNES), Young Researcher Award in 2019. Dr Pokpas has been a visiting researcher at the University of Missouri, USA, Ulm University, Germany and CSIR, Pretoria. He is a member of the ISE, SACI, and ElectrochemSA and a reviewer for scientific journals, “South African Journal of Science”, “Analytical Letters” and “Sensors”.

He is actively involved in chemistry tutoring for struggling underprivileged students, media and recruitment in the form of open days and school visits to promote STEM research and community engagement through fundraising for non-profit AmaQawe ngeMfundo. Dr. Pokpas’ passion project is the development of an “Adopt-a-chemist” platform to fund school fees for underprivileged students in the Western Cape as part of an initiative to encourage students to pursue not only higher education but entrepreneurship and trade schools with a STEM focus.