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Professor Valerie Mizrahi PhD (UCT) OMS MASSAf FRSSAf FAAM Fellow of UCT

MRC/NHLS/UCT Molecular Mycobacteriology Research Unit

DST/NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical TB Research

Valerie Mizrahi

Director and Full Member, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine; Director, SAMRC/NHLS/UCT Molecular Mycobacteriology Research Unit (MMRU) which constitutes the UCT node of the DST/NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical TB Research (CBTBR); Division of Medical Microbiology, Department of Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town; former Senior International Research Scholar, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, USA (to October 2017).

Received the L'Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science (2000); the Gold Medal from the South African Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology for her contributions to the field (2006); the Department of Science and Technology's Distinguished Woman Scientist Award (2006); named to the Order of Mapungubwe (2007); awarded the Institut de France's Christophe Mérieux Prize for her work in tuberculosis research (2013), and the Platinum Medal of the SAMRC for lifetime contributions to medical research in South Africa (2017).

Research in the MMRU is focused on aspects of mycobacterial physiology and metabolism of relevance to tuberculosis drug discovery, drug resistance, mycobacterial persistence and tuberculosis transmission. Currently, the Unit is actively involved in studying mechanisms of DNA metabolism, nucleotide metabolism, and cofactor metabolism in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, particularly as they apply to TB drug discovery. As a Unit that receives funding through two major grants from the South African government, research capacity development forms a key focus of the MMRU’s work.

The MMRU comprises senior scientists, early-career researchers, post-doctoral fellows, and PhD and MSc students, and also participates in several major TB drug discovery consortia funded by grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation under the TB Drug Accelerator program (SHORTEN-TB) and the SHIP programme of the SAMRC.


Selected publications:

Warner, D.F., Ndwandwe, D.E., Abrahams, G.L., Kana, B.D., Venclovas, Č., and Mizrahi, V. 2010. Essential roles for imuA’ and imuB-encoded accessory factors in DnaE2-dependent mutagenesis in mycobacteria. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 107:13093-13098.

Abrahams, G.L., Kumar, A., Savvi, S., Hung, A.W., Wen, S., Abell, C.A., Barry, C.E. III, Sherman, D.R., Boshoff, H.I.M, and Mizrahi, V. 2012. Pathway-selective sensitization of Mycobacterium tuberculosis for target-based whole-cell screening. Chemistry & Biology 19:844-854.

Warner D.F., Evans, J.C., and Mizrahi, V. 2014. Nucleotide metabolism and DNA replication. In: Molecular Genetics of the Mycobacteria, 2nd Edition (Hatfull, G.F. & Jacobs, W.R., Jr., eds). ASM Press, Washington, ch. 30, pg. 635-656. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.MGM2-001-2013

Warner, D.F. and Mizrahi, V. 2014. Translation of genomics research into control of tuberculosis: lessons learned and future prospects. Genome Biol. 15:514. doi:10.1186/s13059-014-0514-z

Warner, D.F., Koch, A., and Mizrahi, V. 2015. Diversity and disease pathogenesis in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Trends Microbiol. 23:14-21. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2014.10.005.

Singh, V., Brecik, M., Mukherjee, R., Evans, J.C., Svetlíková, S., Blaško, J., Blackburn, J., Warner, D.F., Mikušová, K. and Mizrahi, V. 2015. The complex mechanism of antimycobacterial action of 5-fluorouracil. Chem. Biol. 22:1-13.

Evans JC, Trujillo C, Wang Z, Eoh H, Ehrt S, Schnappinger D, Boshoff HIM, Rhee KY, Barry CE, Mizrahi V. 2016. Validation of CoaBC as a bactericidal target in the coenzyme a pathway of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. ACS Infectious Diseases 2(12):958-968.

Singh V, Mizrahi V. Identification and validation of novel drug targets in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. 2016. Drug Discovery Today 22(3):503-509.

Singh, V., Donini, S., Pacitto, A., Sala, C., Hartkoorn, R.C., Dhar, N., Keri, G., Ascher, D.B., Mondésert, G., Vocat, A., Lupien, A., Sommer, R., Vermet, H., Lagrange, S., Buechler, J., Warner, D.F., McKinney, J.D., Pato, J., Cole, S.T., Blundell, T.L., Rizzi, M., and Mizrahi, V. The inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase, GuaB2, is a vulnerable new bactericidal drug target for tuberculosis. ACS Infect. Dis. 2017; 3:5-17. DOI: 10.1021/acsinfecdis.6b00102. PMCID# PMC5241705

Singh, V., Dhar, N., Pato, J., Kolly, G.S., Korduláková, J., Forbák, M., Evans, J.C., Szekely, R.E., Rybnicker, J.L., Svetlíková, Z., Zemanová, J., Santi, I., Signorino-Gelo, F., Rodrigues L., Vocat, A., Covarrubias, A.S., Rengifo, M.G., Johnsson, K., Mowbray, S., Buechler, J., Delorme, V., Brodin, P., Knott, G.W., Ainsa, J., Warner, D.F., Keri, G., Mikušová, K., McKinney, J.D., Cole, S.T.*, Mizrahi, V.* and Hartkoorn, R.C.* Identification of Aminopyrimidine-Sulfonamides as potent modulators of Wag31-mediated cell elongation in mycobacteria. Mol. Microbiol. 2017; 103:13-25. DOI: 10.1111/mmi.13535 [*Joint senior authors]

Evans, J., and Mizrahi, V. Priming the tuberculosis drug pipeline: new antimycobacterial targets and agents. Curr. Opin. Microbiol. 2018; 45:39-46

Koch, A., Cox, H., and Mizrahi, V. 2018. Drug resistant TB: Mechanisms of resistance and implications for diagnosis and disease management. Curr. Opin. Pharmacol. 42:7-15. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coph.2018.05.013


Contact details:

Room 3.01, Wolfson Pavilion
Anzio Road
UCT Faculty of Health Sciences
Observatory 7925
Cape Town, South Africa

Tel:  +27 21 4066098
Fax: +27 21 4066068
Email: valerie.mizrahi@uct.ac.za


Alternative sites: www.medmicro.uct.ac.za




Group members:

Member Position
Digby Warner Deputy Director, MMRU
Joanna Evans Research Officer
Melissa Chengalroyen Research Officer
Anastasia Koch Junior Research Fellow
Gabriel Mashabela Postdoctoral fellow
Saber Anoosheh Postdoctoral fellow
Sophia Gessner Postdoctoral fellow
Charles Omollo Postdoctoral fellow
Pooja Agarwal Postdoctoral fellow
Mandy Mason Postdoctoral fellow
Ryan Dinkele PhD (Medical Microbiology)
Irene Gobe PhD (Medical Microbiology)
Terry Kipkorir PhD (Medical Microbiology)
Zela Martin PhD (Medical Microbiology)
Rendani Mbau PhD (Medical Microbiology)
Michael Reiche PhD (Medical Microbiology)
Bianca Masuku PhD (Medical Microbiology)
Timothy de Wet PhD (Medical Microbiology)
Caitlin Taylor MSc (Medical Microbiology)
Lucas Raphela MSc (Medical Microbiology)
Audrey Jordaan Lab Technologist
Sasha-Lee Lynch Lab Technologist
Lameeza Jakoet Administrative Assistant



Dr. Clifton E. Barry III, NIAID, NIH, USA

Dr. Helena I. Boshoff, NIAID, NIH, USA

Prof. Paul Wyatt & Dr. Simon Green, Drug Discovery Unit, University of Dundee

Prof. Rolf Müller, Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research, Saarland

Dr. David Olsen & Katherine Young, Merck Research Laboratories, USA

Prof. Deborah Hung, Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard

Prof. Menico Rizzi, Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale, Italy

Dr. Janos Pato, Vichem, Hungary

Prof. Tom Blundell, Cambridge University, UK

Dr. David Ascher, Cambridge University

Prof. Lizbeth Hedstrom, Brandeis University

Prof Erick Strauss, Stellenbosch University

Dr Vinayak Singh, UCT

Emer. Prof. Siamon Gordon, University of Oxford

Dr. Fernando Martinez Estrada, University of Surrey