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

Parasite Immune Regulation Laboratory

Bill Horsnell
Division of Immunology, Department of Pathology
Associate 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:

Thawer S*, Auret J*, Schnoeller C, Chetty A, Smith KA, Darby M, Roberts L, Mackay RM, Whitwell HJ, Timms JF, Madsen J, Selkirk ME, Brombacher F, Clark HW#, Horsnell WG#. Surfactant protein-D is essential for immunity to helminth infection. PLoS Pathogens (2016) Feb 22;12(2):e1005461.

Darby M*, Schnoeller C*, Alykhan Vira A, Culley F, Bobat S, Logan E, Kirstein F, Wess J, Cunningham AF, Brombacher F, Selkirk ME#, Horsnell WG#. The M3 muscarinic receptor is required for optimal adaptive immunity to helminth and bacterial infection. PLoS Pathogens (2015) Jan 28;11(1):e1004636.

Bobat S, Darby M, Mrdjen D, Cook C, Logan E, Auret J, Jones E, Schnoeller C, Flores-Langarica A, Ross EA, Vira A, López-Macías C, Henderson IR, Alexander J, Brombacher F, Horsnell WG#, Cunningham AF#. Natural and vaccine-mediated immunity to Salmonella typhimurium is impaired by the Helminth Nippostrongylus brasiliensis. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases (2014) Dec 4;8(12):e3341.

Thawer SG*, Horsnell WG*, Darby M, Hoving JC, Benjamin Dewals, Cutler AJ and Brombacher F. Lung-resident CD4+ T cells are sufficient for IL-4R dependent recall immunity to Nippostrongylus brasiliensis infection. Mucosal Immunology (2014) Mar;7(2):239-48.

Horsnell WG*, Darby M*, Hoving JC, Nieuwenhuizen N, McSorley HJ, Ndlovu H, Bobat S, Kimberg M, Kirstein F,  Cutler AJ, DeWals B, Cunningham AF, Brombacher F#. IL-4Rassociatedantigen processing by B cells promotes immunity in Nippostrongylus brasiliensis infection. PLoS Pathogens (2013). 9(10):e1003662.

du Plessis N, Kleynhans L, Thiart L, van Helden PD, Brombacher F, Horsnell WG#, Walzl G#. Acute helminth infection enhances early macrophage mediated control of mycobacterial infection. Mucosal Immunology (2013) Sep;6(5):931-41.

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


Alternate site:

Group Members:

Dr Katherine Smith: Marie Curie Fellow
Dr Matthew Darby: Postdoctoral fellow, Claude Leon Fellow
Ms Alisha Chetty, PhD student
Ms Jennifer Auret, PhD student
Ms Erin Logan, PhD student
Ms Zoe Baker, MSc student
Ms Martyna Scibiorek, MSc student (with University of Rotterdam)
Ms Anna-Lena Neumann, MSc student (with University of Bonn)

Current collaborations:

Dr D. Archary, CAPRISA/University of KwaZulu Natal, RSA
Prof F. Brombacher, ICGEB/University of Cape Town, RSA
Prof H. Clark, University of Southampton, UK
Dr F. Culley, Imperial College, 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
Assoc Prof J.-A. Passmore, 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 E. Sturrock, University of Cape Town, RSA
Prof C. Svanes, University of Bergen, Norway
Prof G. Walzl, Stellenbosch University, RSA