College of Agriculture, Engineering
and Science (CAES)

Master’s degree student, Mr Daniel Tessema conducts research on the effects of antidepressants.

Biochemist Investigates Use of Antidepressants to Treat a Variety of Diseases

Master’s degree student in the Biochemistry Discipline, Mr Daniel Tessema, is among 60 postgraduates of the School of Life Sciences who have made submissions to present their research work at the 2023 Postgraduate Research and Innovation Symposium (PRIS) hosted by UKZN College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science (CAES) in Durban on 2 and 3 November.

The symposium’s central theme was: Water for Sustainability into the 21st Century.

Tessema’s research stands at the intersection of biology and chemistry, focusing on the effects of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) – a class of antidepressants – on the expression of the amyloid precursor protein (APP).

His research has extensive implications for a variety of diseases, including cancer, obesity and the particularly devastating early-onset of Alzheimer’s disease, where APP is upregulated. His study seeks to uncover the potential of SSRIs to reduce APP expression, offering new methods to treat these disorders.

By analysing the role of SSRIs in modulating APP expression, Tessema’s research contributes significantly to the further development of compounds capable of mitigating APP-related disorders.

His research journey has provided him with an opportunity to contribute to the understanding of APP’s involvement in cancer, obesity and Alzheimer’s disease – conditions that have become of increasing concern globally.

Tessema’s research is innovative since he aims to leverage existing pharmaceutical compounds such as SSRIs. This approach not only enhances our understanding of how these compounds may affect APP, but also paves the way to possibly design more effective and safer therapeutic agents targeting this protein.

As Tessema continues along his academic journey, his research has the potential to improve our understanding of the role of APP in these debilitating conditions which may help countless individuals afflicted by these diseases in the future.

Words: Siphesihle Shezi

Photographs: Supplied