Senior Group Leader at The Francis Crick Institute, London; and Wellcome Senior Fellow in Clinical Science at Imperial College London [both posts seconded to the University of Cape Town]; Director, Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa (CIDRI-Africa); Group leader and Director, Crick African Network; and Member, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine; Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town
Robert J. Wilkinson’s interests are focused on clinical and immunological aspects of tuberculosis, particularly in the context of HIV-1 infection.
HIV and TB are the most pressing public health problems in Africa: in South Africa, many hundreds of people still die prematurely per day because of HIV, many due to co-existent TB. The epidemiology and clinical features of HIV associated TB are well researched, but few studies have addressed in detail the cellular mechanisms. His research programme derives its research questions from the clinical care of tuberculosis (TB) and HIV-TB co-infected persons in South Africa and London. Through clinically-based studies, they aim to improve knowledge of pathogenesis and thereby improve prevention and treatment. Projects underway at present include the following:
How can tuberculosis infection in HIV infected people be more effectively prevented?
By what immune mechanisms do preventive therapies decrease susceptibility to TB?
What is the cause and best management of the HIV-Tuberculosis-associated Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome? This project is led by Professor Graeme Meintjes, Professor and Infectious Diseases Physician, CIDRI-Africa, UCT.
What is the pathogenesis of tuberculous pericarditis?