I am a mycobacteriologist with over 20 years experience in the molecular biology and immunology of TB. Following completion of my PhD at Stellenbosch University, I took up a post-doctoral fellowship at the Harvard School of Public Health. Here, I gained extensive experience in development and testing of TB vaccine candidates. Upon being awarded a Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellowship, I moved to Imperial College London to start a research program aimed at dissecting the TB host-pathogen interface. I also contributed to work aimed at developing cutting-edge reporter technology for in vivo imaging of mycobacterial infection.
I was recently awarded a South African National Research Foundation Research Chair Initiative (SARChI) award in Mycobactomics, allowing me to return to South Africa to establish my own research group in the DST/NRF Centre of Excellence in Biomedical Tuberculosis Research at Stellenbosch University. Here my research interests include advancing our understanding of how the pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis interacts with its host to cause disease. To achieve this, we use molecular mycobacteriology and in vitro infection models together with data-rich methodologies such as whole genome sequencing, transcriptomics and proteomics. These methods are underpinned by computational approaches. Specific research areas include advancing our understanding of: (a) TB host-pathogen interactions, with a particular focus on persistent mycobacteria, (b) biology of drug resistant strains of M. tuberculosis, and (c) TB/HIV interactions at the molecular level.