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Dr. Anna Coussens BSc(Hons) PhD (Queensland)

Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa (CIDRI-Africa)

Anna CoussensSenior Lecturer, Division of Medical Microbiology, Department of Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Executive Member of the Global Young Academy
Clinical Infectious Diseases Research Initiative (CIDRI) & Associate Member of the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM)

Key areas of expertise:

Immunopathogenesis of TB-HIV, biomarkers of infection, host-directed therapies, 3D models of infection, live-cell imaging

Anna Coussens is an infectious disease immunologist with a keen interest in host-pathogen interaction in tuberculosis (TB), the interaction with HIV-1, and other non-communicable diseases, including vitamin D deficiency and diabetes. Her research focuses on developing host-directed therapies for TB in the context of imunomodulation caused by these co-morbidities; and on the development of biomarkers of infection using systems biology approaches to integrate transcriptomic, proteomic, cellular, epigenetic and genetic variable to enable early detection of individuals at risk of developing TB, and to unravel mechanisms of protective immunity in TB through comparison between blood and site of disease markers.

Anna was the 2014-2015 Sydney Brenner Fellow, awarded by the Academy of Science of South Africa. In 2014 she was elected to the Global Young Academy, where she now sits on the Executive Board and is the southern Africa lead on a project to investigate the Global State of Young Scientists.


Selected publications:

Coussens AK,  Wilkinson RJ, Martineau AR (2015) Phenylbutyrate is bacteriostatic against Mycobacterium tuberculosis and regulates the macrophage response to infection, synergistically with 25-Hydroxy-Vitamin D3. PLOS Pathogens 11(7), e1005007.

Coussens AK, Naude C, Goliath R, Chaplin G, Wilkinson RJ, Jablonski N (2015) High-dose vitamin D3 reduces deficiency due to low UVB exposure and limits HIV replication in urban southern Africans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA). 112(26):8052-7.

Defur A, Wilkinson RJ, Coussens AK (2015) Tricks to translating TB transcriptomics. Annals of Translational Medicine 3(S1):S43.

Coussens AK, Wilkinson RJ, Nikolayevskyy V, Elkington PT, Hanifa Y, Islam K, Timms PM, Bothamley GH, Claxton AP, Packe GE, Darmalingam M, Davidson RN, Milburn HJ, Baker LV, Barker RD, Drobniewski FA, Mein CA, Bhaw-Rosun L, Nuamah R, Griffiths CJ, Martineau AR (2013) Ethnic variation in inflammatory phenotype in tuberculosis. PLOS Pathogens 9(7):e1003468.

Coussens AK, Wilkinson RJ, Hanifa Y, Nikolayevskyy V, Elkington PT, Islam K, Timms PM, Venton TR, Bothamley GH, Packe GE, Darmalingam M, Davidson RN, Milburn HJ, Baker LV, Barker RD, Mein CA, Bhaw-Rosun L, Nuamah R, Young DB, Drobniewski FA, Griffiths CJ, Martineau AR (2012) Vitamin D accelerates resolution of inflammatory responses during tuberculosis treatment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 109(38):15449-54.


Contact details:

Clinical Infectious Diseases Research Initiative (CIDRI)
Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine
Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town
Observatory 7925
South Africa

Tel:  +27 21 406 6603
Fax: + 27 21 406 6796
Email:  anna.coussens@uct.ac.za

Alternate site: www.cidri.uct.ac.za


Group members:

Nomfundo Sibiya (PhD Student)

Nashied Peton (Postdoctoral Fellow)

Allison Seegers (Postdoctoral Fellow)

Abhimanyu Abhimanyu (Postdoctoral Fellow)

Francisco Lakey (Laboratory Technician)



Adrian Martineau (Queen Mary University of London, UK)

Padmini Salgame (Rutgers University, US)

Nina Jablonski (Penn State University, US)

Eva Frickle (Francis Crick Institute, UK)

Paul Elkington (Southampton University, UK)

Hanif Esmail (University of Oxford, UK)

Tollulah Oni (University of Cape Town, SA)

Celeste Naude (University of Stellenbosch, SA)