Head of Institute of Infectious Disease & Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town

Director and Full Member, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine; Director, SAMRC/NHLS/UCT Molecular Mycobacteriology Research Unit (MMRU) which constitutes the UCT node of the DST/NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical TB Research (CBTBR); Division of Medical Microbiology, Department of Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town; former Senior International Research Scholar, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, USA (to October 2017).

Received the L'Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science (2000); the Gold Medal from the South African Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology for her contributions to the field (2006); the Department of Science and Technology's Distinguished Woman Scientist Award (2006); named to the Order of Mapungubwe (2007); awarded the Institut de France's Christophe Mérieux Prize for her work in tuberculosis research (2013), and the Platinum Medal of the SAMRC for lifetime contributions to medical research in South Africa (2017).

Research in the MMRU is focused on aspects of mycobacterial physiology and metabolism of relevance to tuberculosis drug discovery, drug resistance, mycobacterial persistence and tuberculosis transmission. Currently, the Unit is actively involved in studying mechanisms of DNA metabolism, nucleotide metabolism, and cofactor metabolism in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, particularly as they apply to TB drug discovery. As a Unit that receives funding through two major grants from the South African government, research capacity development forms a key focus of the MMRU’s work.

The MMRU comprises senior scientists, early-career researchers, post-doctoral fellows, and PhD and MSc students, and also participates in several major TB drug discovery consortia funded by grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation under the TB Drug Accelerator program (SHORTEN-TB) and the SHIP programme of the SAMRC.

Experience

  • –present
    Head of Institute of Infectious Disease & Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town