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Associate Professor William (Bill) Horsnell BSc(Hons) PhD (London)

Parasite Immune Regulation Laboratory

Bill HorsnellDivision of Immunology, Department of Pathology, Full Member of the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM), Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town.

Bill Horsnell’s research team applies a range of mouse infectious disease models to their various research projects. Their main focus is on how helminth infections influence our immune system. Current projects focus on:

  • Under-explored influences of helminth on host immunity. Currently we are exploring roles for neurotransmitters in regulating immunity, studying how helminths regulate the innate immune molecules surfactant protein A and D, and how maternal infection influences offspring immunity.
  • Pre-clinical and clinical studies addressing how exposure to helminths alters host ability to respond to unrelated diseases including colon cancer, mTB, salmonella, RSV infection, and allergy.

Selected publications:

Darby MG, Chetty A, Mrjden D, Rolot M, Smith K, Mackowiak C, Sedda D, Donald Nyangahu D, Jaspan H, Toellner K, Waisman A, Quesniaux V, Bernhard Ryffel6 B, Cunningham AF, Dewals BG, Frank Brombacher F, Horsnell WGC. Pre-conception maternal helminth infection transfers 1 via nursing long lasting 2 cellular immunity against helminths to offspring. Science Advances. 2019. In Press

O'Shea MK, Fletcher TE, Muller J, Tanner R, Matsumiya M, Bailey W, Jones J, Smith SG, Koh G, Horsnell W, Beeching NJ, Dunbar J, Wilson D, Cunningham A, McShane H. Human hookworm infection enhances mycobacterial growth inhibition and associates with reduced risk of tuberculosis infection. Frontiers in Immunology. 2018. In Press

Rolot M, Dougall AM, Chetty A, Javaux J, Chen T, Xiao X, Machiels B, Selkirk M, Hokke C, Denis O, Brombacher F, Vanderplasschen A, Gillet L, Horsnell WG, Dewals BG. Helminth-induced IL-4 expands virtual memory CD8+ T cells for early control of gammaherpesvirus infection. Nature Communications. 2018. 2018 Oct 30;9(1):4516

Dzhivhuho G, Humby SA, Ndlovu H, Horsnell WGC, Brombacher F, Williamson A-L, Chege GK. Chronic schistosomiasis suppresses HIV-specific responses to DNA-MVA and MVA-gp140 Env vaccine regimens despite antihelminthic treatment and increases helminth-associated pathology in a mouse model. PLoS Pathogens. 2018. Jul 26;14(7):e1007182.

Nyangahu DD, Lennard KS, Brown BP, Darby MG, Wendoh JM, Havyarimana E, Smith P, Butcher J, Stintzi A, Mulder N, Horsnell WGC#, Jaspan H#. Disruption of maternal gut microbiota during gestation alters offspring microbiota and immunity. Microbiome. 2018. Jul 7;6(1):124. 

Jacobs B-A, Chetty A, Horsnell WGC, Schäfer G, Prince S, Smith KA. Hookworm exposure decreases human papillomavirus uptake and cervical cancer migration through systemic regulation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition marker expression. Scientific Reports. 2018. Aug 1;8(1):11547. 

Logan E, Luabeya AKK, Mulenga H, Mrdjen D, Ontong C, Cunningham A, Tameris M, McShane H, Scriba TJ, Horsnell WGC#, Hatherill M#. Elevated IgG Responses in Infants are Associated with Reduced Prevalence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection. Frontiers in Immunology. 2018. Jul 2;9:1529. 


Contact details:

Room 3.20, Falmouth Building
Division of Immunology
Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine &
Division of Immunology, Department of Pathology
UCT Faculty of Health Sciences
Observatory 7925
South Africa

Tel:  +27 21 4066220
Cell: +27 82 9769753
Fax:  +27 21 4066029
Email:  wghorsnell@gmail.com

Alternate sitewww.health.uct.ac.za/fhs/departments/pathology


Group Members:

Dr Matthew Darby: Postdoctoral fellow
Ms Alisha Chetty, PhD student
Ms Millicent Omondi, PhD student


Current collaborations:

Prof H. Clark, University of Southampton, UK
Prof A. Cunningham, University of Birmingham, UK
Dr B. DeWals, University of Liege, Belgium
Prof M. Hatherill, University of Cape Town, RSA
Dr H. Jaspan, University of Cape Town, RSA
Dr L. Layland, University of Bonn, Germany
Dr J. Madsen, University of Southampton, UK
Dr L. Masson, University of Cape Town, RSA
Prof B. Ryffel, CNRS, Orleans, France
Dr G. Schaeffer, University of Cape Town, RSA
Prof M. Selkirk, Imperial College, UK
Prof C. Svanes, University of Bergen, Norway
Prof M. Levin, University of Cape Town, RSA