PhD in Medical Immunology
South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC)
Cape Town, Western Province | South Africa
Main Specialties: Biochemical Genetics, Biology, Clinical & Laboratory Immunology, Epidemiology, Infectious Disease, Medical Genetics, Medical Microbiology, Public Health
Additional Specialties: Vaccinology, HIV and TB pathogenesis, Medical Immunology, Medical Biochemistry.
I am currently employed by the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), Cochrane South Africa Centre as a Senior Scientist working on Vaccine Implementation Research where I prepare research findings for publication in leading academic journals in collaboration with other Unit staff and lead/coordinate ongoing projects on vaccine acceptance and uptake. I am a registered Professional Natural Scientist (registration number: 119189) holding a PhD in Medical Immunology and an M.Sc. degree in Medical Sciences (Medical Biochemistry). I have also completed training courses in ICH GCP, CITI, Good Clinical Practices and Protecting Human Research Participants, and Good Clinical Laboratory Practice (GCLP). I have over 8 years’ research experience on HIV/AIDS and over two years on TB. Dr. I was previously employed by EQUIP Innovation for Health (Right to Care) as a Senior Research Manager working in 17 countries across Africa, South East Asia, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean towards achieving the UNAIDS 90- 90-90 targets, the project is funded by USAID which include HIV Self-testing (HIV)-Co-PI, Multi-month Scripting and Dispensing (MMSD) and other projects include Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PreP) demo projects (Namibia), Hepatitis C Virus projects (HCV) (Ukraine and Myanmar) and Costing and cost-effectiveness assessments of various innovative interventions. I also was previously employed by the University of Limpopo as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Pre-Clinical Sciences (Medical Biochemistry), lectured Medical and Nutritional Biochemistry.
I have completed an NIH FIC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship with the University of Venda (South Africa), HIV/AIDS & Global Health Research Programme, Department of Microbiology and the University fo Virginia (USA), Center for Global Health where I worked as a Genetic Epidemiology/Statistical Genetics and Metabonomics Research Fellow conducting analytical and genetic epidemiological research with existing data sets. Primary analytical methods included statistical modelling of common genetic variant factors influencing a trait or clinical outcome and statistical modelling of rare genetic variant factors influencing a trait or clinical outcome including the use of burden or aggregate marker test. I worked under the mentorship of Drs. Richard Guerrant, Infectious Diseases and International Health and Josyf Mychaleckyj, Public Health Sciences Administration at UVA and Dr. Bessong at Univen collaboratively analyzing existing GWAS samples from Gambia and Sierra Leone with local South African children after obtaining and isolating salivary DNA and another Postdoctoral fellowship with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, in the Cell Biology Laboratory within the Centre for HIV and STIs.
I graduated with a PhD in Medical Immunology with the University of Pretoria (South Africa) at a graduation ceremony held on the 5th of September 2014, with a research project titled: “Compartmentalization, Adaptive Evolution and Therapeutic Response of HIV-1 in the Gastrointestinal Tract (GIT) of African patients infected with Subtype C: Implications for the Enhancement of Therapeutic Efficacy”. I completed a B.Sc. degree with the University of the North (now University of Limpopo), where I majored in Microbiology and Biochemistry. During my Honours work at the same institution, I completed a project on cancer research titled, “Determination of the influence of lithium chloride (LiCl) on pro- and anti-apoptotic proteins in PK cells (15)”. These studies solidified my desire to pursue a career in health research, and highlighted the need to focus on transitional research that is of critical importance to South Africa and the developing world. As a result of a growing interest in HIV-1/AIDS and AIDS-related infections including tuberculosis and malnutrition and enteric diseases, I seized the opportunity to continue my scientific training in TB research with Dr. Gey van Pittius and Professor Rob Warren at the University of Stellenbosch (South Africa), where I successfully co-designed and completed a research project entitled, “Trafficking of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis PE and PPE proteins”. I graduated for my M.Sc. in Medical Sciences at a graduation ceremony held at the University of Stellenbosch in December 2007.
These research projects provided me with a range of different skills that are necessary for the development of a successful career in health research, including laboratory-based experience in tissue and cell culture, DNA isolation, immunohistochemistry, SDS-PAGE, Western blotting, PCR, site-directed mutagenesis, cloning, and gene knockout techniques, the use of statistical genomics/genetic epidemiology techniques and tools. Teaching experience has ranged from assisting undergraduate students with their practicals (as a lab demonstrator) to the marking of their scripts and the supervision of undergraduate research activities. I also facilitated lectures on HIV and TB pathology and pathogenesis and on how to write a scientific abstract, paper/manuscript and dissertation/thesis. I also learned a lot working in the field, managing a project for collecting saliva samples to determine the impact of malnutrition and enteric diseases on child growth and development.
Through out my studies and research career over the years financial support was provided by the NIH Forgaty International Center, South African National Research Foundation, South African Medical Research Council, Poliomyelitis Research Foundation, Department of Immunology University of Pretoria, University of Pretoria Postgraduate Scholarship, University of Stellenbosch Postgraduate Bursary, DST/NRF Centre of Excellence in Biomedical Tuberculosis Research and US/MRC Centre for Molecular and Cellular Biology Bursary. I have published more than 8 articles/papers published in reputable journals and have been serving as an editorial board member of repute in international journals.
My Research Interest is in Vaccine Implementation Research, Infectious Diseases, HIV/AIDS Research, Tuberculosis (TB) Research, Malnutrion and Enteric Pathogens Research, Clinical Research and Clinical Trials and Public Health research.
Primary Affiliation: South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) - Cape Town, Western Province , South Africa
200PubMed Central Citations
BMC Public Health 2018 May 29;18(1):668. Epub 2018 May 29.
EQUIP - Innovation for Health, 1006 Lenchen Avenue North, Centurion, South Africa.
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BMC Infect Dis 2015 Oct 17;15:430. Epub 2015 Oct 17.
MRC Unit for Inflammation and Immunity, Department of Immunology and the Tshwane Academic Division of the National Health Laboratory Service, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa.
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J Infect Dis 2010 Sep;202(5):723-33
MRC Unit for Inflammation and Immunity, Department of Immunology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria and the Tshwane Academic Division of the National Health Laboratory Service, Pretoria, South Africa.
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Mol Microbiol 2009 Aug 7;73(3):329-40. Epub 2009 Jul 7.
Department of Medical Microbiology and Infection Control, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
ESX-5 is one of the five type VII secretion systems found in mycobacteria. These secretion systems are also known as ESAT-6-like secretion systems. Here, we have determined the secretome of ESX-5 by a proteomic approach in two different strains of Mycobacterium marinum. Comparison of the secretion profile of wild-type strains and their ESX-5 mutants showed that a number of PE_PGRS and PPE-MPTR proteins are dependent on ESX-5 for transport. The PE and PPE protein families are unique to mycobacteria, are highly expanded in several pathogenic species, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis and M. marinum, and certain family members are cell surface antigens associated with virulence. Using a monoclonal antibody directed against the PGRS domain we showed that nearly all PE_PGRS proteins that are recognized by this antibody are missing in the supernatant of ESX-5 mutants. In addition to PE_PGRS and PPE proteins, the ESX-5 secretion system is responsible for the secretion of a ESAT-6-like proteins. Together, these data show that ESX-5 is probably a major secretion pathway for mycobacteria and that this system is responsible for the secretion of recently evolved PE_PGRS and PPE proteins.
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