Darkwa James was elected as an AAS Fellow in 2012. As a fellow, Darkwa James contributes to the development of the Academy’s strategic direction through participation in AAS activities and governance structures. . This gears the Academys vision of transforming african lives through science.
Darwa is a Professor and Director, Synthesis and Catalysis Research Centre, University of Johannesburg, South Africa. Prof Darkwa has made an immense contribution to coordination chemistry of metals and their applications as catalysts in olefin transformation reactions; and as potential metallo-drugs for cancer and HIV. His group was the first to use pyrazolyl nickel complexes and ethylaluminium dichloride as tandem catalysts in the facile production of alkyltoluenes, starting materials for sulfonated detergents, from the oligomerization of ethylene and their Friedel-Crafts alkylation of toluene. He has also developed a novel class of gold anticancer and anti-HIV agents. His current research interests include using plants as renewable sources for materials that are currently produced from petrochemicals. As President of the South African Chemical Institute (2011-2013) and a member of the Institute’s Council, he has been instrumental in building links between chemists in South Africa and the rest of the continent; such linkages have allowed students to undertake postgraduate training in South Africa.