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Professor Jonathan Blackburn PhD MASSAf

Applied Proteomics & Chemical Biology Group

Jonathan BlackburnSouth African Research Chair in Applied Proteomics & Chemical Biology; Full Member & Deputy Director Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM); Head of Division Chemical and Systems Biology, Department of Integrative Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town; Head, African Network for Drugs & Diagnostics Innovation (ANDI) Centre of Excellence in Proteomics & Genomics.

Jonathan Blackburn applies the expertise he has gained in both academia and in a UK start-up biotech environment to drive new independent and collaborative translational research programs aimed at providing a new level of understanding and prediction concerning the individual nature of disease progression and of drug response.

Jonathan's research strategy is to leverage his Research Group's established technological platforms, technical expertise, and clinical collaborations to create internationally competitive, interdisciplinary clinical proteomics research programs that have a strong translational emphasis. Their overarching goal is to combine basic and clinical research in order to create a pipeline for each lead program from discovery through to quantitation and ultimately to application in the human health sector.

Jonathan's academic expertise ranges from mechanistic enzymology, protein biochemistry, molecular biology and proteomics, to the creation of novel biomolecules by in vitro evolution. He is currently particularly interested in the translational applications of custom protein microarrays, mass spectrometry-based proteomics & metabolomics, and genomics in diagnostic marker discovery and validation, in unraveling molecular mechanisms of disease, and in the high throughput study of protein-drug interactions, as well as in studying the effects of polymorphic variation on protein function.


What is applied proteomics & chemical biology?

Current research programs in the Applied Proteomics & Chemical Biology Group including facilities and infrastructure


Selected recent publications:

Alula, M.T., Krishnan, S., Hendricks, N.R., Karamchand, L., Blackburn, J.M. Identification and quantitation of pathogenic bacteria via in-situ formation of silver nanoparticles on cell walls, and their detection via SERS. Microchimica Acta (2017) 184(1):219-227

Soares, N.C., Bou, G., Blackburn, J.M. Editorial: Proteomics of microbial human pathogens. Frontiers in Microbiology (2016) 7 NOV, 1742

Lennard, K.S., Goosen, R.W., Blackburn, J.M. Bacterially-associated transcriptional remodelling in a distinct genomic subtype of colorectal cancer provides a plausible molecular basis for disease development. PLoS ONE (2016) 11,11

Parvez, M., Qhanya, L.B., Mthakathi, N.T., Kgosiemang, I.K.R., Bamal, H.D., Pagadala, N.S., Xie, T., Yang, H., Chen, H., Theron, C.W., Monyaki, R., Raselemane, S.C., Salewe, V., Mongale, B.L., Matowane, R.G., Abdalla, S.M.H., Booi, W.I., Van Wyk, M., Olivier, D., Boucher, C.E., Nelson, D.R., Tuszynski, J.A., Blackburn, J.M., Yu, J.-H., Mashele, S.S., Chen, W., Syed, K. Molecular evolutionary dynamics of cytochrome P450 monooxygenases across kingdoms: Special focus on mycobacterial P450s. Scientific Reports (2016) 6:33099

Soares, N.C., Blackburn, J.M. Mass spectrometry targeted assays as a tool to improve our understanding of post-translational modifications in pathogenic bacteria. Frontiers in Microbiology (2016) 7 AUG, 1216

Blackburn, J.M., Martens, L. The challenge of metaproteomic analysis in human samples. Expert Review of Proteomics (2016) 13(2):135-138

Peters, J.S., Calder, B., Gonnelli, G., Degroeve, S., Rajaonarifara, E., Mulder, N., Soares, N.C., Martens, L., Blackburn, J.M. Identification of quantitative proteomic differences between Mycobacterium tuberculosis lineages with altered virulence. Frontiers in Microbiology (2016) 7 MAY, 813


Contact details:

Wernher & Beit Building North level 3
UCT Faculty of Health Sciences
Anzio Road
Observatory 7925
South Africa

Tel: +27 21 4066071
Fax: +27 21 6504833
Email:  jonathan.blackburn@uct.ac.za

Alternate site: www.chemsysbio.uct.ac.za


Group members:

Name Surname Position
Sriram Krishnan   Project Manager GCC
Nelson Soares Junior Research Fellow
Andrew Nel Chief Scientific Officer
Nazla Hassen PA / Administrator
Bridget Calder Postdoctoral Fellow
Suereta Fortuin Postdoctoral Fellow
Nicolette Hendricks Postdoctoral Fellow
Benedikt  Hermann Postdoctoral Fellow
Karamchand Leshern Postdoctoral Fellow
Tadele Melisew Postdoctoral Fellow
Bianca Amos-Brown PhD student
Shaun Garnett PhD student
Alexander Giddey  PhD student
Fezile Khumalo  PhD student
Zandile Mlamla PhD student
Brandon Murugan  PhD student
Kehilwe Nakedi PhD student
Janique Peyper PhD student
Muneerah Smith PhD student
Zarinah Sonday PhD student
Claudia Albeldas MSc student
Marine Barnabe MSc student
Naadir Ganief MSc student



Prof Keertan Dheda, Prof Raj Ramesar, Prof Paul Goldberg, Prof Dan Stein, Prof John Joska, Prof Robert Wilkinson, A/Prof Graeme Meintjes, Prof Robin Wood, Prof Val Mizrahi, A/Prof Digby Warner, A/Prof Tom Scriba, Prof Nicky Mulder, Prof Clive Gray & Dr Heather Jaspan (all UCT).

Prof Rob Warren (University of Stellenbosch)

Profs Matt Glucksberg & Rick van Duyne (Northwestern University, USA)

Profs Rick Haselton & David Wright (Vanderbilt University, USA)

Dr Christa Brosseau (St Mary's University, Canada)

Prof Jonathan Cebon (Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Australia)

Prof Lennart Martens (University of Ghent, Belgium)

Prof Boris Macek (University of Tubingen, Germany)

Prof Tom Blundell & Prof Austin Smith (University of Cambridge, UK).