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Honorary Associate Professor in Medical Microbiology, University of Cape Town

Dr Coussens is an infectious disease immunologist with a keen interest in host-pathogen interaction in tuberculosis (TB), the interaction with HIV-1, and other non-communicable diseases, including vitamin D deficiency and diabetes. Her research focuses on developing host-directed therapies for TB in the context of immunomodulation caused by these co-morbidities and the development of biomarkers of infection, using systems biology approaches to integrate transcriptomic, proteomic, cellular, epigenetic and genetic variables to enable early detection of individuals at risk of developing TB as well as to unravel mechanisms of protective immunity in TB through comparison between blood and site of disease markers.
She was the 2014-2015 Sydney Brenner Fellow, awarded by the Academy of Science of South Africa. In 2014 she elected to the Global Young Academy, where she is the Southern Africa lead on a project to investigate the Global State of Young Scientists.


  • 2018–present
    Laboratory Head, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
  • 2018–present
    Honorary Associate Professor, University of Cape Town
  • 2015–2017
    Senior lecturer, University of Cape Town
  • 2012–2015
    Postdoctoral fellow, University of Cape Town
  • 2008–2012
    Postdoctoral fellow, UK MRC National Institute for Medical Research


  • 2007 
    Queensland University of Technology, PhD
  • 2002 
    University of Adelaide, BSc(Hons)
  • 2001 
    University of Adelaide, Dip(lang)

Grants and Contracts

  • 2018
    Honorary Associate Professor in Medical Microbiology
    Funding Source:
    National Research Foundation
  • 2014
    Blood signature of recent tuberculosis infection or re-infection
    Funding Source:
    South African Medical Research Council

Professional Memberships

  • South African Immunology Society
  • Australasian Immunology Society


ASSAf Sydney Brenner Fellow