IDM

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FULL MEMBERS

Stephan Barth

BARTH, Prof Dr Dr Stefan
Medical Biotechnology & Immunotherapy Group

Main areas of research/expertise
Medical biotechnology, antibody technologies, protein engineering, immunodiagnostics, bioassay development & integration, immunotherapeutics, targeted human cytolytic fusion proteins, SNAP-tag based fusion proteins, ex vivo / in vivo targeting

Positions presently held
South African Research Chair in Cancer Biotechnology, Tier 1

Biosketch
Full Professor in the Department of Integrated Biomedical Sciences at University of Cape Town (2015). Awarded Tier 1 South African Research Chair (SA Research Chairs Initiative, DST), hosted by the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine and the Department of Integrated Biomedical Sciences. University Professor of Experimental Medicine and Immunotherapy, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule (RWTH) Aachen University, Germany (2006-2015). Head of Department of Pharmaceutical Product Development, Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME in Aachen, Germany (2000-2015). Habilitation in Experimental Internal Medicine (2001), DMSc in Experimental Medicine (Dr. rer. medic.) at the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Cologne, Germany (1997), PhD in biology (Dr. rer. nat.) at the Institute of Molecular Physiology and Biotechnology of Plants, University of Bonn, Germany (1994), MSc in Biology at the University of Bonn, Germany (1991).

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Linda-Gail Bekker

BEKKER, Prof Linda-Gail
Desmond Tutu HIV Centre

Main areas of expertise
Pathogenesis of tuberculosis and HIV infection

Positions held
Desmond Tutu HIV Centre - Deputy Director
Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation - Chief Operating Officer

Biosketch
Born in Zimbabwe, Linda-Gail Bekker qualified as a medical doctor at UCT in 1987. After qualification, Prof Bekker went to work in rural Northern Kwazulu- Natal for 4 years as a generalist in a regional hospital. She returned to UCT in 1993 to begin specialising in Internal Medicine. The twin epidemics of TB and HIV, so rife in South African communities prompted her to read for a PhD investigating the interaction between the two infections and the impact on the human host. Her PhD was completed at the Rockefeller University in New York and locally in Cape Town. On completion of her doctoral studies, for which she was awarded the Bronte prize for best thesis at UCT in 2000, she returned to Cape Town and UCT. Together with Prof. Robin Wood, she set up the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre. Since then, the Centre has expanded from a focus on individual clinical drug trials to operational issues around community treatment of adult women and men, operational research on mother-to-child interventions and VCT, a new major project on TB and HIV, other opportunistic infections and HIV, treatment adherence, pharmaco-economics and more recently vaccine and other HIV preventative research. She has also developed expertise in the following key populations such as MSM, Youth and unemployed men.

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Jonathan Blackburn

BLACKBURN, Prof Jonathan
Applied Proteomics & Chemical Biology Group

Main areas of expertise
Enzymology; molecular biology; in vitro evolution; proteomics; protein arrays; protein-drug interactions; biomarker discovery & validation; biosensors

Positions held
South African Research Chair in Applied Proteomics & Chemical Biology, University of Cape Town (2008-); Head, African Network for Drugs & Diagnostics Innovation (ANDI) Centre of Excellence in Proteomics & Genomics, University of Cape Town (2011-)

Biosketch
Prof Blackburn was previously an academic in the Department of Biochemistry, Cambridge University (1995-2003) and an EPSRC Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Manchester (2004-2008). He held a Royal Society University Research Fellowship (1995-2003) and was also a Fellow of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge (1992-2003). He was founder and Research Director of the Centre for Proteomic and Genomic Research in Cape Town (2006-2008), was the academic founder and Chief Scientific Officer of a UK biotechnology company, Sense Proteomic Ltd (1999-2002), and was Chief Scientist of Procognia Ltd, UK (2003-2006). He obtained his D.Phil degree in Chemistry from the University of Oxford under the supervision of Prof Sir Jack Baldwin, FRS, and carried out post-doctoral research at the Medical Research Council (UK) with Prof Sir Alan Fersht FRS. Prof Blackburn serves on a number of national and international committees,  including the National Health Research Committee and the Council of the Human Proteome Organisation (HUPO). He sits on the editorial advisory boards of the Journal of Proteome Research, Journal of Proteome Science & Computational Biology, and Expert Review of Proteomics.  His research programs include amongst others using mass spectrometry-based differential proteomic & lipidomic methods for the study of molecular mechanisms of disease and for identification of novel biomarkers of disease in the HIV, TB and cancer fields.  In addition, his group pioneers the development and application of novel protein microarray-based approaches to quantify changes in autoantibody profiles in cancer patients in response to drug or vaccine treatment, as well as the development of novel point of care diagnostic devices for use in low resource settings.

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Frank Brombacher

BROMBACHER, Prof Frank
Cytokines and Disease Group

Main areas of expertise
Immunology, Tuberculosis, Listeriosis, African trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis, bilharzia, helminth infection, Transgenic mouse models, Transcriptomics

Positions held
Scientific Coordinator for Immunology and Infectious Diseases, African International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), Cape Town; South African Research Chair (SARChI) for Immunology of Infectious Diseases in Africa; Director, Medical Research Council Unit, Immunology of Infectious Diseases, University of Cape Town; Fellow at UCT; Visiting Professor, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow; President, South African Immunology Society (SAIS)

Biosketch
Frank Brombacher (NRF A1-rated) Immunologist, scholar of Nobel Laureate Prof. G. Koehler (hybridoma) and previous International Senior Wellcome Trust Fellow for Medical Research in South Africa, is currently the Scientific Coordinator for Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the African International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB, http://www.icgeb.org) based in Cape Town. In addition, he holds a South African Research Chair (SARCHi) for Immunology of Infectious Diseases in Africa and a Medical Research Council Unit on Immunology of Infectious Diseases at the University of Cape Town (IDM, http://www.idm.uct.ac.za). His group investigates immunological mechanisms, regulation and protective host effector functions in experimental murine infectious disease models, relevant to Africans, e.g. tuberculosis, African trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis and helminthic infections, like bilharzia - four of the top ten WHO declared human threats to combat. In addition, he and his group are interested in chronic diseases, including allergic asthma and colitis, causing high morbidity and mortality in humans. His research strategy is based on loss or gain of function approaches in genetically engineered transgenic mouse models with focus on interleukins (IL), particular IL-4 and IL-13. Genes, factors and cells beneficial or detrimental for the disease outcome are uncovered and investigated with advances made, supporting our long-term goal of safe and cost- effective drug and vaccination strategies.

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Wendy Burgers

BURGERS, Assoc Prof Wendy

Main areas of expertise
HIV Pathogenesis, HIV-TB co-infection, HIV Vaccine Immunology

Positions held
Wellcome Trust Intermediate Fellow in Public Health and Tropical Medicine; Former EDCTP Senior Fellow; Senior Researcher, Division of Medical Virology.

Biosketch
PhD (Cambridge). My research group focuses on the immunology of HIV pathogenesis, seeking to understand how immune hyperactivation results in ineffective immunity, drives progression to disease, and what the mechanisms and mediators of aberrant activation are. We are also studying how HIV affects the immune response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis in HIV-TB co-infected individuals, at the level of both adaptive and innate immunity, in blood and at the site of disease, the lungs. My group consists of 2 Postdocs, 3 PhD students, 2 MSc students and 1 research assistant. The work in the lab is funded by the Wellcome Trust, NIH and the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Platform (EDCTP), with additional local funding from the MRC, NRF and NHLS Trust.

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Kelly Chibale

CHIBALE, Prof Kelly
Drug Discovery Group

Main areas of expertise
Small molecule drug discovery underpinned by the integration of  chemistry, biology and pre-clinical pharmacology, including drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics (DMPK) as expressed in the processes of Absorption, Distribution Metabolism & Excretion (ADME).

Positions held

  • Tier 1 South Africa Research Chair in Drug Discovery under the South African Research Chairs Initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) administered through the South African National Research Foundation (NRF), 2008-date
  • Founding Director, South African Medical Research Council Drug Discovery and Development (extramural) Research Unit at UCT, 2009-date
  • Founder and Director, UCT Drug Discovery and Development Centre (H3D), 2010-date
  • Full Professor (ad hominem promotion), Department of Chemistry, UCT, 2007-date
  • Full Member, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM), UCT, 2006-date

Biosketch
Full Professor, University of Cape Town (2007). In 2008 awarded a Tier 1 South Africa Research Chair in Drug Discovery under the South Africa Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI). In 2009 became founding Director of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) Drug Discovery and Development Research Unit at UCT. In the same year (2009) elected Fellow of UCT and the Royal Society of South Africa. In 2010 became the founding Director of the UCT Drug Discovery and Development Centre (H3D).  Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), UK in 2014.  Awarded a 2-year Cheney Visiting Fellowship at the University of Leeds in the UK and the SAMRC Gold Medal for 2016.  Research has been in the field of anti-infective (malaria, tuberculosis, schistosomiasis) drug discovery and has been underpinned by (Hit to Lead and Lead Optimization) medicinal chemistry.  Drug discovery research has also extended to the structure-guided design and synthesis of domain-selective inhibitors of angiotensin converting enzyme for cardiovascular and fibrosis disease indications in collaboration with Prof Edward D. Sturrock (IDM).  Current funding sources include Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), SAMRC, Strategic Health Innovation Partnerships (SHIP) unit of the SAMRC, NRF, Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), Novartis Research Foundation, Merck, Celgene Global Health and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

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Helen Cox

COX, Assoc Prof Helen

Main areas of expertise
Epidemiology of TB and drug-resistant TB, TB diagnostics and treatment.

Positions held
Wellcome Trust Intermediate Fellow in Public Health and Tropical Medicine; Senior Researcher, Medical Microbiology, UCT; Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

Biosketch
BSc, MPH, PhD. Epidemiologist specialising in drug resistant tuberculosis. Specific research interests include: the molecular epidemiology of drug-resistant TB, models of care and optimising treatment regimens for drug-resistant TB, co-treatment of HIV with antiretroviral drugs, rapid diagnostics for tuberculosis drug resistance and developing sustainable interventions to improve TB infection control in health care facilities. Previously, her doctoral thesis was based on work conducted in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, Central Asia. Winner of the 2015 Union Scientific Prize from the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.

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Clive Gray

GRAY, Prof Clive

Main areas of expertise
Immunopathogenesis of HIV, survival and differentiation of antigen-specific memory CD4 and CD8 T cells, vaccine-induced immunity.

Positions held
HOD Division of Immunology, UCT; Visiting Professor, South African National Bioinformatics Institute, University of the Western Cape; Visiting Professor, Department of Immunology, Duke University, North Carolina, USA

Biosketch

MSc, PhD; Postdoctoral Fellow 1995, Center for AIDS Research, Stanford University, USA; Research Fellow, Nuffield Department of Surgery, Oxford University 1989 - 1990; Research Officer, Transplantation Research Unit, Department of Surgery Research, Witwatersrand Medical School , Johannesburg 1985 - 1992; Lecturer, Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg 1993 - 1995; Chief Specialist Scientist and Head of Department of HIV Immunology, AIDS Research Unit, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Johannesburg 1998 – 2010; Chair and Head of the Division of Immunology at the University of Cape Town, 2011. Published numerous papers on identifying T cell responses to HIV in early and acute infection. Clive Gray's particular interest lies in understanding the immunopathogenesis of HIV and what constitutes survival and differentiation of antigen-specific memory CD4 and CD8 T cells and what would be required with vaccine-induced immunity. Clive played a formative role in the South African AIDS Vaccine Initiative (SAAVI) and has been part of the SAAVI development team for the DNA and MVA candidate vaccines that have now completed clinical trials in the US and South Africa. He was the Principal Investigator for the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) immunology laboratory in Southern Africa for the past 10 years, where he was responsible for measuring vaccine immunogenicity in clinical trials in the region. 2004 recipient, Elizabeth Glaser AIDS Pediatric Fund International Leadership Award, a 3-year grant to fund the Immunopaedia project in South Africa.

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Janet Hapgood

HAPGOOD, Prof Janet

Main areas of expertise
Prof Hapgood's field is broadly in intracellular molecular mechanisms of action of steroid receptors, in particular the glucocorticoid receptor (GR).  In particular, it is focussed on ligand-selectivity, regulation of gene expression as well as cross talk between steroid receptors and other signalling pathways, which allows functional integration between stress, reproduction and immune function. This research is conducted in the broad context of reproduction, inflammation, contraception and infectious disease, in particular HIV-1. Most recently her lab has focussed on investigating the mechanisms and effects on immune function and HIV-1 pathogenesis of different progestin contraceptives via the GR, as well as cross talk between the GR and other receptors, and the role of the unliganded GR.

Positions held
Professor, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Faculty of Science, UCT. Visiting researcher, National Institutes of Health, USA: Steroid Hormone Unit (2005/2006).

Biosketch
Prof Hapgood held research positions at UCT from 1989 – 1996; and since 1996 she has held full time academic positions in South Africa (Stellenbosch University & University of Cape Town). Her passion is basic research and postgraduate training. She has trained about 30 MSc/PhD students to completion, mainly as principal supervisor. She has published 57 papers in international peer-reviewed journals, most as first or senior author, together with her postgraduate students and collaborators, and has an h-index of 23. She has been privileged to work with many talented postgraduate students, post docs and collaborators, notably Dr Donita Africander, Dr Chanel Avenant, Dr Ann Louw and Dr Andrea Kotitschke/du Toit.

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Mark Hatherill

HATHERILL, Prof Mark

Main areas of expertise
Paediatric TB vaccine trials; diagnostic endpoints for childhood TB

Positions held
Associate Professor, South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI)

Biosketch
MBChB, DCH, MRCP, FCPaed, MMed, MD. Mark Hatherill is a Senior Clinical Researcher at the South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative. He trained in paediatrics and paediatric intensive care in South Africa (Red Cross Children’s Hospital), the UK (Guy’s Hospital), and Australia (The Children’s Hospital, Westmead). His clinical research interests have focused on childhood infectious diseases and pathophysiology of critical illness. His current research focuses on refining diagnostic criteria for tuberculosis as a vaccine trial end-point and he holds an NIH grant to study diagnostic yield of sputum induction. Ongoing collaborations include a multi-centre TB drug trial (RIFAQUIN) with InterTB (St. George’s Hospital, London).

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Greg Hussey

HUSSEY, Prof Greg
Vaccines for Africa (VACFA)

Main areas of expertise
Vaccinology, Clinical Trials, Tuberculosis, Paediatric Infectious Diseases

Positions held
Director, Vaccines for Africa, Consultant, South African TB Vaccine Initiative.

Biosketch
Gregory Hussey is the Director of the Vaccines for Africa (VACFA) Initiative. For the past two years he served as Deputy Dean responsible for research in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town (UCT). He also held the position of Director of the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine at UCT, from 2004 until the end of 2010. He qualified as a medical practitioner at UCT, has had postgraduate training in paediatrics and public health at UCT and infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and is registered as a sub-specialist in paediatric infectious diseases.

He has been a part-time World Health Organization (WHO) consultant for the past 15 years in infectious diseases and vaccines. He currently serves on a number of international committees including the WHO Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety, The Foundation for Vaccine Research and the Aeras TB Vaccine Advisory Committee. He has also served on a number of international conference coordinating committees and International Data Safety Monitoring Committees for new paediatric vaccines. He is a member of a number of important national scientific advisory committees including the National Advisory Group on Immunisation and the Board of National Health Laboratory Services.  

His main research interest has been in the field of vaccine preventable diseases, including TB, has published extensively on this subject and is the holder of research grants from a number of international agencies. In 2001 he started the South African TB Vaccine Initiative; their mission is to contribute to the development of new TB vaccines. He is also founder of VACFA (www.vacfa.com), is actively involved in a number of vaccinology initiatives in Africa, and is the convenor of the Annual week long African Vaccinology course.

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Muazzam Jacobs

JACOBS, Prof Muazzam
Experimental Tuberculosis and Immunology Research Group

Main areas of expertise
Immunology of Infectious Disease, Tumor Necrosis Factor, tuberculosis, small animal models, evaluation of anti-tuberculosis drug leads and drug delivery systems.

Positions held
NHLS Medical Scientist

Biosketch
Prof. Muazzam Jacobs is the Group Leader of the Experimental Tuberculosis and Immunology Research Group, based within the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine and is a joint appointment of the University of Cape Town and the NHLS. His research focus is on understanding host pathogen interaction and associated immune mechanisms that bring about protection against tuberculosis infection. He has acted as lead investigator for the University of Cape Town on international NIH- and EU-FP funded projects and have existing scientific relationships and ongoing projects with investigators in the USA and Europe.

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Arieh Katz

KATZ, Prof Arieh
Receptor Biology Group

Main areas of expertise
G protein-coupled receptors , GnRH, Kisspeptin, Cervical cancer, Kaposi sarcoma

Positions held
Co-Director, MRC/UCT Research Group for Receptor Biology

Biosketch
Arieh Katz received his Ph.D. at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel in 1990. Thereafter, he moved to California Institute of Technology, U.S.A. for post-doctoral training in the laboratory of Professor Melvin I. Simon. There, he spent 4 years working on the identification and characterization of G-protein subunits which activate phosphoinositide specific phospholipase C (PI-PLC) and showed that the Gβγ subunits, as well as, certain Gα subunits activate PI-PLC. In 1995, Arieh Katz moved to the Department of Chemical Pathology at University of Cape Town to join the research group of Professor R.P. Millar. There, he got involved in studying the GnRH receptor which is a G protein-coupled receptor that signals via PI-PLC. In 1997 Arieh Katz was awarded a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship in Medical Science which enabled him to set up his own research group and in the Division of Medical Biochemistry. Since 1998 Arieh Katz is a Co-Director of the UCT/MRC Receptor Biology Research Group. He is a Member of the  SAMRC Gynaecological Cancer Research Centre, led by Professor Lynn Denny (UCT).

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Sue Kidson

KIDSON, Prof Susan
Cell and Developmental Biology Group

Main areas of expertise
Molecular basis of eye development; models for inherited and acquired forms of glaucoma: skin pigmentation; embryonic stem cells; skin stem cells

Positions held
Principal Investigator, Cell and Developmental Biology Group.

Biosketch
PhD. Department of Human Biology; 9 PhD and 13 MSc students graduated; 5 PhD and 6 MSc students in progress, 2 post-doctoral students; 38 papers; molecular basis of eye development; models for inherited and acquired forms of glaucoma: skin pigmentation; embryonic stem cells; skin stem cells; collaborations: Dr B Hogan, N Duke University, USA: Prof G Todd, Dermatology UCT, Dr J O'Raian, UCT.

Research siteemail

Darren Martin

MARTIN, Assoc Prof Darren
Computational Biology Group

Main areas of expertise
Bioinformatics, virus evolution, genetic recombination

Positions held
Associate Professor in the Computational Biology Group

Biosketch
I joined IDM as a full member in June 2009. My research centres around studying the role that genetic recombination plays during virus evolution. After I obtained my PhD at UCT in 2001, I have been actively persuing this line of research thanks to generous grants from the Harry Oppenheimer foundation, Sydney Brenner and the Wellcome Trust. In June 2010 I was appointed as a senior lecturer in the computational biology group at the IDM.

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Graeme Meintjes

MEINTJES, Prof Graeme

Main areas of expertise
HIV-associated tuberculosis
Tuberculosis-associated immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (TB-IRIS)
Cryptococcal meningitis

Positions held
Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town; Principal Investigator, Clinical Infectious Diseases Research Initiative (CIDRI); Honorary Clinical Lecturer, Imperial College London; SARChI Chair in Poverty-related Infections, in Department of Medicine; Principal Investigator/Director of the South African Medical Research Council Clinical and Community HIV-TB Research Collaborating Centre (C2HTB)

Biosketch
MBChB(UCT) MRCP(Glasgow) FCP(SA) DipHIVMan(SA) PhD(UCT). Graeme Meintjes is a Professor of Medicine and an adult Infectious Diseases Physician based at the University of Cape Town in the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine. He obtained his PhD in 2011 for a thesis that focused on the diagnosis, treatment and immunopathogenesis of paradoxical tuberculosis-associated immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (TB-IRIS). He was the lead investigator on a randomized controlled trial of prednisone for the treatment of paradoxical TB-IRIS. His other research interests include the complications of antiretroviral therapy and cryptococcal meningitis. He has collaborated with researchers from St Georges Hospital, London, on trials aimed at improving initial treatment of cryptococcal meningitis since 2005, and is currently the site PI of the NIAID-funded Cryptococcal Optimal ART Timing (COAT) trial at GF Jooste Hospital in Cape Town. He was a Wellcome Trust training fellow from 2007 until 2011, and has been awarded a 5-year Wellcome Trust Intermediate Fellowship in Public Health and Tropical Medicine in 2012. He is currently undertaking a Masters in Public Health through Johns Hopkins University. He jointly established the Infectious Diseases Unit at GF Jooste Hospital in Cape Town in 2004. Since 2010 he has been an Honorary Clinical Lecturer, Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, and since 2004 a Senior Clinical Consultant for the Aid for AIDS managed care group.

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Bob Millar

MILLAR, Prof Robert

Main areas of expertise
Peptide regulators of reproductive hormones

Positions held
Emeritus Professor,Division of Medical Biochemistry, UCT; Co-Director, MRC Receptor Biology Unit, IDM; Professor and Director, Mammal Research Institute, University of Pretoria; Research Fellow, Centre of Integrative Physiology, University of Edinburgh.

Biosketch
Bob's research focuses on peptide regulators of reproductive hormones. He pioneered the discovery of the GnRH prohormone, novel GnRH structures, and the first cloning of the GnRH I and GnRH II receptors. His laboratory delineated GnRH binding sites and the molecular mechanisms underlying receptor activation and coupling. He has participated in, and led, a number of programmes developing GnRH analogues for use in a wide range of clinical pathologies. His group's research on direct antiproliferative effects of selective GnRH analogues on tumour cells has revealed the novel concept of ligand-induced-selective-signalling by GnRH analogues, which has implications for improved selectivity in the development of new GnRH therapeutics and other GPCR targets. His research encompasses a continuum of basic through to clinical and he has been involved in successfully taking ten neuropeptides and analogues into the clinic. One of these (Triptorelin) received FDA approval for prostatic cancer.

Most recently he has focused on novel GPCRs regulating reproduction, appetite, inflammation, cell invasion and angiogenesis with a particular focus on the RFamides such as metastin/kisspeptin and gonadotropin-inhibitory-hormone, and NKB and prokineticins. He developed kisspeptin antagonists as potential therapeutics in hormone-dependent diseases. The functional 'rescue' of human GPCRs with inactivating mutations by small molecule orthosteric and allosteric analogues is a new interest.

Previously he was Director of the MRC Human Reproductive Sciences Unit in Edinburgh which comprised over 100 researchers. He secured over £70 million during his tenure.  The Unit research focused on pathologies of female and male reproductive tissues (eg prostate, breast and ovarian cancers). He was founder of the reproductive health company Ardana Biosciences which raised £73 million, was listed on the LSE, and took three drugs into the market. He has published over 400 papers which have received over 10,000 citations, and 18 patents.

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Valerie Mizrahi

MIZRAHI, Prof Valerie
MRC/NHLS/UCT Molecular Mycobacteriology Research Unit

Main areas of expertise
Mycobacterial physiology and metabolism of particular relevance to TB drug resistance and drug discovery, including DNA repair and replication, central carbon metabolism, co-factor biosynthesis and function.

Positions held
Director, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine; Director, MRC/NHLS/UCT Molecular Mycobacteriology Research Unit which constitutes the UCT node of the DST/NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical TB Research (CBTBR).

Biosketch
I joined UCT as the Director of the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine in January 2011. My research interests are in areas of mycobacterial physiology and metabolism of particular relevance to TB drug resistance and drug discovery. I launched the Molecular Biology Unit at the South African Institute for Medical Research when I returned to South Africa in 1989, and subsequently established and led the Molecular Mycobacteriology Research Unit (MMRU) which was jointly funded by the South African Medical Research Council, the National Health Laboratory Service and University of the Witwatersrand from 2000-2010. From 2004-2010, I served as the co-director of the Centre of Excellence for Biomedical TB Research (CBTBR) which is jointly funded by the Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation. In addition to my current role as institute director, I have continued as head of the MMRU which is now based at UCT and, in partnership with Wits and Stellenbosch Universities, forms the UCT node of the CBTBR. I have been an International Research Scholar of the HHMI since 2000 and currently serve on the Scientific Advisory Boards of the TB Alliance, K-RITH and SACEMA, on the Council of Scientific Advisors of the ICGEB and on the Board of Directors of K-RITH.

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Nicola Mulder

MULDER, Prof Nicola
Computational Biology Group

Main areas of expertise
Bioinformatics of infectious diseases from the perspectives of the host and pathogen's biological systems.

Positions held
Professor, Head of UCT Computational Biology Group; PI of H3ABioNet –Pan African Bioinformatics Network

Biosketch
Prof Mulder is the Head of the Computational Biology Group at UCT, which forms the centre of bioinformatics activities at the university. After her PhD in Medical Microbiology, she spent 8 years at the European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridge, moving into the area of Bioinformatics. At the EBI she was a Team Leader, responsible for development of one of the most heavily used Bioinformatics resources at the Institute. At UCT Prof Mulder works in the area of bioinformatics of infectious diseases, looking at the systems biology of the host and pathogens and interactions between them, as well as population genetics and the genetic basis for human diseases. Her group also provides bioinformatics support to researchers at UCT and other universities in the country. Prof Mulder is actively involved in bioinformatics training and capacity development on the continent.

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Mark Nicol

NICOL, Prof Mark

Main areas of expertise
Novel diagnostics for tuberculosis, strain biology of tuberculosis.

Positions held
Professor and Head, Division of Medical Microbiology and the National Health Laboratory Service

Biosketch
MB BCh MMed (MedMicro) Wits DTM&H, FCPath (Microbiol) SA PhD Cape Town. I am a clinical microbiologist with a particular interest in tuberculosis and in developing and testing point of care diagnostics suitable for the developing world. Professional experience: Clinical Research Fellow, School of Child and Adolescent Health, University of Cape Town; and part-time consultant microbiologist, Red Cross Children's Hospital, Cape Town (2001-3); Wellcome Trust Research Training Fellow, Division of Medical Microbiology and Institute for Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town (2003-6); Senior Clinical Researcher / Senior Specialist, South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative and Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town (2007); Wellcome Trust Career Fellow, Division of Medical Microbiology and Institute for Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town (2008); Wernher and Beit Professor of Medical Microbiology, University of Cape Town and NHLS (2008-to date).

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Jo-Ann Passmore

PASSMORE, Assoc Prof Jo-Ann
Mucosal Immunology Laboratory

Main areas of expertise
HIV/HPV Mucosal Immunology; genital tract, innate immunity, cytokine biomarkers, genital tract immune activation

Positions held
Head, Mucosal Immunology Laboratory in the Division of Medical Virology

Biosketch
Jo-Ann Passmore obtained her PhD from the University of Cape Town in 1999 in Clinical Immunology. She has been mentored through the MRC (South Africa) Career Development Program (2003-2006), Fogarty AITRP (2004) and the Wellcome Trust with an Intermediate Fellowship in Infectious Diseases (2006-2008). Jo-Ann Passmore's research has focused on studying genital tract adaptive and innate immune responses associated with protection from or susceptibility to sexually transmitted viral diseases including HPV and HIV. She is project leader for the CAPRISA Mucosal Immunology Laboratory at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (2011-) heading a group of 3 Post-Doctoral Fellows and 1 PhD student on studies focusing on development and testing of microbicides to prevent HIV infection. Member, SAMRC Gynaecological Cancer Research Centre, UCT.

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RAMESAR, Prof Rajkumar
MRC Human Genetics Research Unit

Main areas of expertise
Genetic predisposition to cancer; eye or neuropsychiatric diseases.

Positions held
Professor and Head: Division of Human Genetics
Director: MRC Human Genetics Research Unit

Biosketch
Professor Raj Ramesar is Head of the Division of Human Genetics and Director of the MRC Human Genetics Research Unit at the University of Cape Town and its Allied Hospitals. His work involves translating sophisticated molecular genetic research for application to rural and indigenous communities. Ramesar was recently awarded the UCT Vice-Chancellor's Alan Pfifer Award (2009) for his research in this regard. His current interest is in investigating the genetics of complex chronic disorders, and weaving genomic information with that of human origins, diversity and health. He currently serves on the Executive of the African Society for Human Genetics, the International Federation of Human Genetic Societies, and on the editorial board of several international journals.

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Ed Rybicki

RYBICKI, Prof Ed
URC Biopharming Research Unit

Main areas of expertise
Vaccine and viral biotechnology - novel human papillomavirus and rotavirus and human pandemic and avian influenza virus vaccine candidates made in plants via transient expression; investigation of the potential of plants to make Rift Valley and Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus and bluetongue virus vaccines; diversity studies and vaccine development for beak and feather disease virus of parrots; investigations of the diversity and molecular biology of maize streak virus host-virus interactions.

Positions held
Professor in Microbiology, Molecular and Cell Biology Department, Faculty of Science, University of Cape Town
Academic Liaison, Research Portal Project
Fellow of the University of Cape Town
Fellow of the Royal Society of Southern Africa
Member of the Academy of Science of South Africa

Biosketch
Ed qualified in Virology at UCT in 1984. He taught Virology and Vaccine Biotechnology and Immunology until 2009, and is now seconded to UCT's Research Office as Research Liaison to the Research Portal Project until 2016.  His main research interests are presently in the area of vaccine biotechnology, and in developing mainly plant expression systems as platforms for the production of a wider range of proteins. He is a Member of the  SAMRC Gynaecological Cancer Research Centre, led by Professor Lynn Denny (UCT).

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Tom Scriba

SCRIBA, Assoc Prof Tom

Main areas of expertise
Clinical Immunology, Tuberculosis and mycobacterial infection, novel TB vaccines

Positions held
Associate Professor and Deputy Director, Immunology, South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI)

Biosketch
MSc (Stell), DPhil (Oxon). Tom Scriba is Associate Professor and Deputy Director, Immunology, South African TB Vaccine Initiative. He trained in HIV and mycobacterial clinical immunology. His research interests focus on immunopathology of mycobacterial infection and TB disease, correlates of risk of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection and TB disease, immunological development in childhood and novel TB vaccine development.

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Trevor Sewell

SEWELL, Prof Trevor
Structural Biology Group

Main areas of expertise
Large biological structures, inter-molecular interactions, chaperoning nitrilases and chromatin

Positions held
Director: Electron Microscope Unit

Biosketch
PhD; UCT; 2 PhD and 3 MSc students graduated; convenor, Joint UCT-UWC Structural Biology Masters Programme; 27 papers; Wellcome Trust collaboration with Birkheck College London and University of Houston, USA.

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Ed Sturrock

STURROCK, Prof Ed
Zinc Metalloprotease Group

Main areas of expertise
Protein biochemistry, protease inhibitor design, enzyme structure-function relationships, ectodomain shedding of angiotensin-converting enzyme.

Positions held
Prof Medical Biochemistry, Head of Department of Integrative Biomedical Sciences, University of Cape Town;
Fellow and Vice President, Royal Society of South Africa.

Biosketch
PhD, 1994, on the synthesis and metabolism of bilirubin. Went on to do a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School where he started his research on angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), a protein that plays a key role in blood pressure regulation. In 2003 he was awarded a Wellcome Trust International Senior Research Fellowship for his work on ACE. His research interests include: structure-function aspects of ACE; design and synthesis of novel domain-selective ACE inhibitors; and the processing of the membrane-anchored proteins. He has published over 70 peer-reviewed papers and 4 patents, and has trained more than 25 students at PhD and MSc levels. Together with colleagues in the US and UK, he founded a spin-off company AngioDesign Inc in 2003.

research site email

Jack van Honk

VAN HONK, Prof Jack
Social and Clinical Neuroscience

Main areas of expertise
Social and Affective Neuroscience (Human Neuroscience), psychobiology of human social-emotional behavior, psychopathologies of fear and aggression

Biosketch
My research is in the fields of Social and Affective Neuroscience (Human Neuroscience), focusing on the psychobiology of human social-emotional behaviour, with the aim of developing new biological treatments for the psychopathologies of fear and aggression. I currently hold a double professorship position at Utrecht University (UU) in the Netherlands, and at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa. I completed my MSc and PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience and Biological Psychology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, worked as Assistant and Associate Professor at Utrecht University until appointed full Professor of Social Neuroscience in 2012. In 2013 I received an 'A'-Rating from SA NRF and was appointed full Professor of Clinical Neuroscience at UCT.

research siteemail

Robert Wilkinson

WILKINSON, Hon Prof Robert John

Biosketch
MA PhD DTM&H FRCP, Director, Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa (CIDRI-Africa). Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow in Clinical Tropical Medicine, MRC Programme Leader, National Institute for Medical Research London and Professor in Infectious Diseases, Imperial College London. Seconded to the Institute. Major research interest is tuberculosis and the effect of HIV infection on this disease. Investigations include the role of Interferon gamma release assays in the diagnosis of HIV- associated tuberculosis; the immune effects of preventive therapies against tuberculosis (HAART, IPT and vitamin D); The HIV-TB immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome; and the clinical consequences of strain variation within M. tuberculosis.

research site email

Anna-Lise Williamson

WILLIAMSON, Prof Anna-Lise
HIV Vaccine Development Group and
Human Papillomavirus Research Group

Main areas of expertise
HIV, papillomavirus, poxviruses, vaccine development

Positions held
FRSSAf, MASSAf, Fellow of UCT; Chair in Vaccinology (NRF South African Research Chairs Initiative), Division of Medical Virology, Department of Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, UCT and of the National Health Laboratory Service; Director of UCT Vaccine Research Group GLP Facility; Head of WHO HPV Labnet lab for the Africa Region: Member of SAMRC Gynaecological Cancer Research Centre.

Biosketch
PhD (Wits, 1985), FRSSAf, MASSAf, Fellow of UCT; Ad hominem promotion to Professor (UCT) 2004; awarded a Chair in Vaccinology 2008 (South African Research Chairs Initiative); Director of UCT Vaccine Research Group GLP Facility; Head of WHO HPV Labnet lab for the Africa Region; Joint Head of UCT/NICD/NHLS Molecular Epidemiology Laboratory; Member of the South African HPV Advisory Board; Member, SAMRC Gynaecological Cancer Research Centre, UCT. She is a virologist on the joint staff of the Division of Medical Virology, Dept Clinical Laboratory Sciences, University of Cape Town and the National Health Laboratory Service. She is internationally recognized for both HIV vaccine and Human Papillomavirus expertise. She has headed the South Africa AIDS Vaccine Initiative funded vaccine development team since 2000. This team of people has been responsible for the development of two vaccines tested in Phase 1 clinical trials in the USA and South Africa. She has published more than 100 papers in peer reviewed journals and is actively engaged in training of post-graduate students.

research siteemail

Carolyn Williamson

WILLIAMSON, Prof Carolyn
HIV Diversity and Pathogenesis Group

Main areas of expertise
HIV diversity and pathogenesis; HIV-1 vaccine development, microbicides

Positions held
Head of Department: Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town; Head of Division: Medical Virology; Lead PI: HIV Diversity and Pathogenesis Group; Research associate of the Centre for AIDS Research in South Africa (CAPRISA).

Biosketch
Professor Carolyn Williamson received her PhD in 1988 from the Department of Microbiology, University of Cape Town, where she worked on insect viruses as biological control agents of agricultural pests. Since then Carolyn has worked on viral diseases at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Johannesburg and then for the South African Institute for Medical Research, Cape Town. In 2000, she was appointed Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Cape Town and in 2009 was promoted to Professor in the Division of Medical Virology. Carolyn leads the HIV Diversity and Pathogenesis Group which is involved in elucidating properties of recently transmitted virus, and understanding HIV evolution in response to cellular and antibody immune pressure. Carolyn participates in numerous multi-centre national and international studies including the Centre for AIDS Programme for Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD), the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), and the Medical Research Council (MRC) Strategic Health Innovation Partnerships (SHIP).

research site email

Ambroise Wonkam

WONKAM, Prof Ambroise
GENEMAP (Genetic Medicine of African Populations)

Main areas of expertise
Genetic Medicine, Sickle Cell Disease, Hearing Impairment, Medical Ethics, Genetic Education

Positions held
Professor and Senior Medical Genetics Consultant (HPCSA 0686980), Division of Human Genetics, Department of Pathology; & Member, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM), Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town.

Biosketch
After a MD training from the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaoundé 1 (Cameroon), Dr. Wonkam completed a thesis in Cell Biology in the Department of Morphology, University of Geneva (Switzerland). He was awarded the 2003 Denber-Pinard prize for the best thesis from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva. Other salient aspects of Dr. Wonkam's background include his education as a medical geneticist at a highly reputable genetics department in Geneva, and a PhD in Human Genetics, University of Cape Town. He subsequently practices medical genetics in both European and African contexts. Dr. Wonkam's interests are reflected in more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, which are in molecular, clinical, educational and ethical aspects of medical genetics. He was recently awarded for 2014, the very competitive UK Clinical Genetics International Fellowship from the British Society of Genetics Medicine. Dr. Wonkam is secretary of the African Society of Human Genetics, board member of the International Federation of Human Genetics Societies, and member of the HUGO council.

email

Robin Wood

WOOD, Prof Robin
Desmond Tutu HIV Centre

Main areas of expertise
Pathogenesis of tuberculosis and HIV infection

Positions held
Director, Desmond Tutu HIV Centre

Biosketch
My current position is Director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Research Centre (DTHC) at the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town, a member of the governing council of the International AIDS Society and a founding member of the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society. I have authored or co-authored 10 book chapters; published over 300 scientific and academic editor for PloS Medicine and a scientific reviewer for 25 prominent national and international peer-reviewed journals. I am currently a member of the scientific advisory board of the Global AIDS Prevention Model and TB/HIV modelling projects (CEPAC) at Harvard University, IPM (International partnership for microbicides and Pepfar President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. I hold the positions of Visiting Scientist, Harvard Medical School; Research Fellow, University of Stellenbosch; and TB/HIV Consultant, University of Witwatersrand. I am overall Principal Investigator of the Cape Town Clinical Trials Unit and Site Leader for the DTHC Clinical Research Site.

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