I obtained my PhD in Human Genetics at Stellenbosch University where my work allowed me to contribute to identifying potential modifiers of cardiac structure and functions in South African families with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in the context of left ventricular hypertrophy. In 2014, I took up a post-doctoral fellowship in the host-pathogen mycobactomics research group, headed by Samantha Sampson at Stellenbosch University. I was awarded a South African National Research Foundation Scarce Skills Post-doctoral fellowship to focus on understanding the biology of non-replicating "persister" populations of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) at the host-pathogen interface. We exploit molecular genetics, in vitro infection models, multi-colour flow cytometry, confocal microscopy and proteomics to study how dynamic interactions between host and pathogen influence the formation of persistent bacterial populations, as well as to elucidate the physiological characteristics thereof.
I am interested in the physiology of persistent Mtb, particularly in understanding the biology of non-replicating populations of Mtb, which are the underlying cause of latent Mtb infections and lengthening of the period of antibiotic treatment. By targeting non-replicating populations of Mtb, I believe that we could aim to elucidate currently unanswered questions about the physiology and characteristics of persistent Mtb, which could possibly reveal novel drug and vaccine targets.