Dr Peter Mubanga Cheuka

Department of Chemistry
Lecturer II

Dr Peter Mubanga Cheuka received his MSc degree in Chemistry from the University of Cape Town in 2014 under the supervision of Prof Kelly Chibale. He was appointed a full-time lecturer and researcher at University of Zambia before proceeding to complete his PhD between 2015 and 2019, again under the supervision of Prof Kelly Chibale at University of Cape Town. During this period, he worked on antimalarial drug discovery projects, particularly those involving medicinal chemistry optimization of novel antimalarial chemotypes. His research interests are in drug discovery focusing on small molecules as potential therapies for tropical diseases. He also teaches general chemistry, organic chemistry and medicinal chemistry at undergraduate and postgraduate levels at University of Zambia.

Research Interests

Drug discovery against schistosomiasis, malaria, COVID-19 and African trypanosomiasis


List of publications:

Book Chapters

  1. Cheuka, P. M.; Le Manach, C.; Chibale, K. Discovery and Development of UCT943 as a back-up Plasmodium phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase inhibitor preclinical candidate for the treatment of malaria. In: Burger's Medicinal Chemistry, Drug Discovery and Development, Volumes 1 – 8 (under volume 7 “Anti‐Infective Case Histories”). John Wiley & Sons; 2021, 8th edition, 58 - 66 (Book chapter). DOI: 10.1002/0471266949.bmc288
  2. Luhata, L. P.; Cheuka, P. M. Critical Study of Phytochemical and Pharmacological Profiles of the Genus Odontonema (Acanthaceae). Technological Innovation in Pharmaceutical Research. 2021, 1, 1-9. ISBN: 978-93-90149-90-2
  3. Cheuka, P. M.; Mayoka, G.; Okombo, J.; Chibale, K. Medicinal chemistry progression of antimalarial hits from phenotypic whole cell screening of SoftFocus libraries. In: Annual Reports in Medicinal Chemistry. Elsevier Inc; 2019, 53, 25 - 71. https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.armc.2019.04.001


Peer-reviewed journal publications

  1. Coertzen, D.; Reader, J.; van der Watt, M. E.; Leshabane, M. M.; Langeveld, H.; Cheuka, P. M.; Dziwornu, G. A.; Chibale, K.; Birkholtz, L. M. Exploring the transmission-blocking activity of antiplasmodial 3,6-diarylated imidazopyridazines. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa. 2021, 76, 225-233. https://doi.org/10.1080/0035919X.2021.1982792
  2. Cheuka, P. M. Drug Discovery and Target Identification against Schistosomiasis: A Reality Check on Progress and Future Prospects. Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry. 2021. https://doi.org/10.2174/1568026621666210924101805
  3. Cheuka, P. M.; Centani, L.; Arendse, L. B.; Fienberg, S.; Wambua, L.; Renga, S. S.; Dziwornu, G. A.; Kumar, M.; Lawrence, N.; Taylor, D.; Wittlin, S.; Coertzen, D.; Reader, J.; van der Watt, M.; Birkholtz, L. M.; Chibale, K. New Amidated 3,6-Diphenylated Imidazopyridazines with Potent Antiplasmodium Activity Are Dual Inhibitors of Plasmodium Phosphatidylinositol-4-kinase and cGMP-Dependent Protein Kinase. ACS Infect Dis. 2021, 7, 34–46. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsinfecdis.0c00481
  4. Cheuka, P. M.; Dziwornu, G.; Okombo, J.; Chibale, K. Plasmepsin Inhibitors in Antimalarial Drug Discovery: Medicinal Chemistry and Target Validation (2000 to Present). J. Med. Chem. 2020, 63, 4445−4467. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jmedchem.9b01622
  5. Noonan, T. J.; Chibale, K.; Cheuka, P. M.; Kumar, M.; Bourne, S. A.; Caira, M. R. Five solid forms of a potent imidazopyridazine antimalarial drug lead: a preformulation study. Cryst. Growth Des. 2019, 19, 4683−4697. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.cgd.9b00575
  6. Noonan, T. J.; Chibale, K.; Cheuka, P. M.; Bourne, S. A.; Caira, M. R. Co-crystal and salt forms of an imidazopyridazine antimalarial drug lead. J Pharm Sci. 2019, 108, 2349 – 2357. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.xphs.2019.02.006
  7. Cheuka, P. M.; Lawrence, N.; Taylor, D.; Wittlin, S.; Chibale, K. Antiplasmodial imidazopyridazines: structure–activity relationship studies lead to the identification of analogues with improved solubility and hERG profiles. Med. Chem. Commun. 2018, 9, 1733. https://doi.org/10.1039/C8MD00382C
  8. Cheuka, P. M.; Mayoka, G.; Mutai, P.; Chibale, K. The Role of Natural Products in Drug Discovery and Development against Neglected Tropical Diseases. Molecules. 2017, 22, 58. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules22010058
  9. Luhata, L. P.; Munkombwe, N. M.; Cheuka, P. M.; Sikanyika, H. Phytochemical and Pharmacological Profiles of the Genus Odontonema (Acanthaceae). Br J Pharm Res. 2016, 14, 1 – 7. DOI: 10.9734/BJPR/2016/29877
  10. Luhata, L. P.; Munkombwe, N. M.; Cheuka, P. M.; Sikanyika, H. Phytochemical Screening and In vitro Antibacterial Activity of Odontonema strictium (Acanthaceae) Against Selected Bacteria. Int. J. Dev. Res. 2015, 5, 4655–4659.
  11. Luhata, L. P.; Munkombwe, N. M.; Cheuka, P. M. Structure Activity Relationship (SAR) of Some Benzoic Acid Derivatives from Plant Origin that Exhibit Anti-Sickling Properties In vitro - (Review). Nat. Prod. Chem. Res. 2015, 3, 176. DOI: 10.4172/2329-6836.1000176
  12. Cheuka, P. M.; Cabrera, D. G.; Paquet, T.; Chibale, K. Structure-Activity Relationship of Antiplasmodial Aminomethylthiazoles. Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 2014, 24, 5207–5211. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bmcl.2014.09.071
Contact Details
Peter Mubanga Cheuka (PhD) Lecturer and Researcher: Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Discovery Assistant Dean (Research), School of Natural Sciences University of Zambia Department of Chemistry P.O Box 32379 Great East Road Campus, Lusaka, Zambia Phone: +260968930603 "If you have no confidence in self,