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Dr. Georgia Schäfer PhD Mol Biol (Germany)

Division of Medical Biochemistry & Structural Biology

Georgia Schafer

ICGEB Cape Town "Virology-Emerging Viruses"
EDCTP Senior Fellow 
Associate Member, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM), Faculty of Health Sciences, UCT

Research Focus
- Characterisation of KSHV-driven pathologies and disease outcome in HIV-infected patients in South Africa.
- Identification and characterization of host factors modulating early steps in HPV infection.
- The role of surfactant protein A in immunity to viral infections of the genital tract.
- Investigations into the immuno-enhancing effects of garlic and garlic organosulfur compounds in the prevention of cancer.
- Modulation of early steps in SARS-CoV2 infection.
KEY EXPERTISE: Oncogenic viruses, host-pathogen interactions, cancer biology

Selected publications:

Blumenthal MJ, Cornejo Castro EM, Whitby D, Katz AA and Schäfer G (2020). Evidence for altered host genetic factors in KSHV infection and KSHV-related disease development. Rev Med Virol e2160.

Riou C, Schäfer G, du Bruyn E, Goliath RT, Stek C, Mou H, Hung D, Wilkinson KA and Wilkinson RJ (2020). Rapid, simplified whole blood-based multiparameter assay to quantify and phenotype SARS-CoV-2 specific T cells. medRxiv. 2020 Nov 3:2020.10.30.20223099. Preprint.

Ujma S, Carse S, Chetty A, Horsnell W, Clark H, Madsen J, Mackay RM, Watson A, Griffiths M, Katz AA and Schäfer G (2019). Surfactant Protein A Impairs Genital HPV16 Pseudovirus Infection by Innate Immune Cell Activation in A Murine Model. Pathogens 8(4):288.

Blumenthal MJ, Schutz C, Barr D, Locketz M, Marshall V, Whitby D, Katz AA, Uldrick T, Meintjes G and Schäfer G (2019). The Contribution of Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus to Mortality in Hospitalized Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Patients Being Investigated for Tuberculosis in South Africa. J Infect Dis 220(5):841-851.

Kaschula CH, Tuveri R, Ngarande E, Dzobo K, Barnett C, Kusza DA, Graham LM, Katz AA, Rafudeen MS, Parker MI, Hunter R and Schäfer G (2019). The garlic compound ajoene covalently binds vimentin, disrupts the vimentin network and exerts anti-metastatic activity in cancer cells. BMC Cancer 19(1):248.

Blumenthal MJ, Schutz C, Meintjes G, Mohamed Z, Mendelson M, Ambler JM, Whitby D, Mackelprang RD, Carse S, Katz AA and Schäfer G (2018). EPHA2 sequence variants are associated with susceptibility to Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus infection and Kaposi's sarcoma prevalence in HIV-infected patients. Cancer Epidemiology 56:133-139.

Schäfer G, Graham LM, Lang D, Blumenthal MJ, Bergant Marušič M and Katz AA (2017). Vimentin modulates infectious internalisation of HPV16 pseudovirions. J Virol 91(16):e00307-17.

Blumenthal MJ, Ujma S, Katz AA and Schäfer G (2017). The role of diabetes type II for the development of pathogen-associated cancers in the face of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Front Microbiol 8:2368.

Ujma S, Horsnell WG, Katz AA, Clark HW and Schäfer G (2017). Non-Pulmonary Immune Functions of Surfactant Proteins A and D. J Innate Immun 9(1):3-11.

Schäfer G, Blumenthal and Katz AA (2015). Interaction of human tumour viruses with host cell surface receptors and cell entry. Viruses 7(5):2592-2617.

Contact details:

ICGEB Cape Town (Virology - Emerging Viruses)
Room S2.27, Wernher & Beit Building South 
Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Cape Town
Anzio Rd
Observatory 7925
South Africa

Tel:  +27 21 404 7630
Fax: +27 21 406 6061
Email: georgia.schafer@uct.ac.za
Links: https://www.icgeb.org/georgia-schafer/

Group Members:

Dr Melissa Blumenthal (Post-doctoral fellow)
Sinead Carse (PhD student)
Majahonkhe Shabangu (PhD student)
Melissa Marx (MSc student)
Meg Anderton (Honours student)
Emma van der Meulen (Honours student)
Abeen Chetram (Research Technician)


A/Prof Catherine Orrell, IDM, Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, UCT
Dr Catherine Kaschula, Department of Chemistry & Polymer Science, Stellenbosch University
Dr Claire Hoving, IDM, Division of Immunology, UCT
Dr Catherine Riou, IDM, Wellcome Trust Centre for Infectious Research in Africa, UCT
Prof Robert Wilkinson, IDM, Wellcome Trust Centre for Infectious Research in Africa, UCT
Prof Graeme Meintjes, IDM, Wellcome Trust Centre for Infectious Research in Africa, UCT
Dr Charlotte Schutz, Wellcome Trust Centre for Infectious Research in Africa, UCT
A/Prof William Horsnell, IDM, Division of Immunology, UCT
Prof Arieh Katz, IDM, Division of Medical Biochemistry, UCT
Dr Zainab Mohamed, Division of Radiation Oncology, GSH, UCT
Dr Jeremy Woodward, Electron Microscopy Unit, Centre for Imaging & Analysis, UCT
Dr Lawrence Banks, ICGEB Trieste, Italy
Dr Martina Bergant Marušič, Center for Biomedical Sciences and Engineering, University of Nova Gorica, Slovenia
Dr Denise Whitby, Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, NIH, USA
Prof Thomas Uldrick, Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center, USA
Prof Thomas Schulz, Hannover Medical School, Germany Prof Howard Clark, University of Southampton, UK
A/Prof Jens Madsen, University of Southampton, UK