New research could identify those most susceptible to tuberculosis
Dr Claire Hoving – CIDRI Fellow and Lecturer in the Division of Immunology at UCT - is one of a team of scientists led by the University of Aberdeen who have identified a key receptor involved in the control of tuberculosis (TB) which could help to identify those most likely to get the infection.
Dr Hoving says: "With the high TB infection rate in South Africa we would benefit substantially from new diagnostic tools and treatment strategies. For this reason UCT and specifically the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM) have such a strong focus on TB research. Within the Division of Immunology, our research group led by Gordon Brown (an adjunct IDM member and Honorary Professor at UCT) focuses on host immune response to disease. Our work here at UCT, in conjunction with the University of Aberdeen and several other international Universities) identified a new receptor recognising aerosol administered virulent MTB. This work was performed in our state-of-the-art biosafety level 3 laboratory and animal facility which is considered the most technologically advanced facility of its kind in Africa. A collaboration of UCT researchers were involved in the project including, Prof Gordon Brown (based at University of Aberdeen), Dr J. Claire Hoving (funded by CIDRI), Dr Jackson Marakalala (currently a postdoctoral scientist at Harvard), Assoc Prof Muazzam Jacobs, Prof Dhiren Govender and Dr Roanne Keeton."
The team recently published a paper in "Cell Host and Microbe" »
Wilson GJ, Marakalala MJ, Hoving JC, van Laarhoven A, Drummond RA, Kerscher B, Keeton R, van de Vosse E, Ottenhoff TH, Plantinga TS, Alisjahbana B, Govender D, Besra GS, Netea MG, Reid DM, Willment JA, Jacobs M, Yamasaki S, van Crevel R, Brown GD.
Cell Host Microbe. 2015 Feb 11;17(2):252-9. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2015.01.004. PMID: 25674984
CIDRI World TB Day event
On the 28th of March 2015, representatives from the Clinical Infectious Diseases Research Initiative (CIDRI) held a World TB Day event at the Ubuntu Clinic in Khayelitsha. About 50 community members attended the event and a great discussion around TB and biomedical TB research was held.
Congratulations from Interim Dean, Professor Greg Hussey
I am extremely proud and delighted to announce that Professor Robert Wilkinson, Director of the Clinical Infectious Disease Research Initiative (CIDRI), Full Member of the IDM and Honorary Professor in the Department of Medicine, has been awarded an A1 rating – the highest – by the National Research Foundation (NRF).
The NRF grants an A1 rating to a researcher who is "recognised by all reviewers as a leading scholar in his/her field internationally for the high quality and wide impact (i.e. beyond a narrow field of specialisation) of his/her recent outputs". An A1 rating is thus a rare honour, reserved for the most distinguished researchers –he is one of 13 A1 rated scientists among 34 A-rated researchers currently at UCT. Nationally, UCT has one third of all A-rated researchers.
Robert joined UCT in 2004 as an Honorary Associate Professor from Imperial College in the UK, became Honorary Professor in 2007, and then Director of CIDRI in 2008. He is a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow in Clinical Science, an MRC Programme Leader at the National Institute for Medical Research London and a Professor in Infectious Diseases at Imperial College London. His major research interest is understanding and intervening in tuberculosis and HIV-associated tuberculosis.
I want to thank him for his significant contribution to the Faculty over the past 10 - 15 years. He has added exceptional value to the Faculty, particularly in deveIopments at the IDM, where he was a founder member. He has profoundly influenced strategic thinking for many years as a member of the Institute's Executive Committee, and currently serves on the IDM Management Board as one of two Full Members, elected by the members. As Principal Investigator of a prestigious strategic award from the Wellcome Trust, he created CIDRI, now a model for research capacity development in the Faculty. CIDRI develops human and physical research capacity and promotes scientific collaboration in Southern Africa, focusing on high-burden infectious diseases relevant to the African continent.
We are also profoundly appreciative of the significant funding he has generated for research capacity development, and for the Faculty. His contribution to nurturing the new generation of clinician scientist, not only in South Africa, but beyond, is best summed up by IDM Director Prof Val Mizrahi's observation that Robert's ability to identify and nurture scientific talent is quite remarkable, as evidenced by his outstanding track record of producing professors!
Congratulations, Robert! We look forward to many more years of working with you in the Faculty.