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Steering group

Professor Robert J Wilkinson Professor Stephen Lawn
Professor Gregory Hussey Dr Elizabeth Corbett
Professor Gary Maartens Professor Anna-Lise Williamson
Professor Bongani Mayosi Professor Valerie Mizrahi
Professor Frank Brombacher Assoc Professor Darren Martin
Professor Gordon Brown Assoc Professor Tom Scriba
Professor Heather Zar Professor Graeme Meintjes
Professor Mark Nicol Professor Andrew Boulle
Professor Marc Mendelson Assoc Professor Jo-Ann Passmore
  Professor Helen McIlleron


Robert J Wilkinson Robert J Wilkinson MA PhD BM BCh DTM&H FRCP is a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow in Clinical Tropical Medicine and Director of the University of Cape Town Clinical Infectious Diseases Research Initiative. He is also Professor of Infectious Diseases at Imperial College London, and MRC Programme Leader at the National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London - now The Francis Crick Institute. Wilkinson trained in Cambridge, Oxford, London, Edinburgh, Sudan and the United States. His major research interest is the Immunology of tuberculosis, particularly in the context of HIV infection. Wilkinson is an author of the Oxford Handbook of Tropical Medicine and has published a number of original research and review articles on tuberculosis and other infectious diseases.


Gregory Hussey Gregory Hussey is an infectious diseases specialist and served as the Director of the Institute of Infectious Diseases at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and as the Deputy Dean for Research in the Faculty of Health Sciences at UCT. He was also the Director of the SA TB Vaccine Initiative. He is a member of a number of important national scientific advisory committees including the National Advisory Group on Immunisation and the Board of the SA National Health Laboratory Services. For the past ten years he has been a part-time infectious diseases consultant to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and is currently a member of the WHO Tuberculosis Vaccine Advisory Committee and the WHO Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety. He has facilitated a number of African-based initiatives including the TBVACSIN network, VACFA (Vaccines for Africa), the African Rotavirus Expert Working Group and the Annual African Vaccinology Course. His research interest is in vaccine preventable diseases and he has over 200 publications to date. His work is supported by a number of agencies including the NIH, Wellcome Trust, EDCTP and Aeras.

http://www.satvi.uct.ac.za and http://www.idm.uct.ac.za/

Gary Maartens

Gary Maartens is a physician, with an interest in infectious diseases, and clinical pharmacologist. He has a joint appointment as Chief Specialist Physician and professor at Groote Schuur Hospital and University of Cape Town, South Africa, where he is head of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Medicine. He is a consultant to the largest managed care HIV programme in Africa. He has acted as a consultant to the World Health Organization on HIV and tuberculosis. His main research interest is in antiretroviral therapy and HIV-associated tuberculosis. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles (including invited reviews on tuberculosis and HIV in the Lancet), is co-editor of the Handbook of HIV Medicine (Oxford University Press Southern Africa, now in its third edition) and has written several book chapters. He is on the editorial boards of Lancet Infectious Diseases, Antiviral Therapy, Cochrane Collaboration (HIV/AIDS Review Group) and the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.


Bongani Mayosi Professor Bongani Mayosi is the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town. His research interests include the genetics of heart disease, the clinical epidemiology of tuberculous pericarditis, and the prevention of rheumatic fever.

Frank Brombacher Frank Brombacher

Career History
Since May 2008, Coordinator of Immunology & Infectious Diseases, ICGEB Cape Town, South Africa
2008 - present, South African Research Chair (SARCHi) in Immunology of Infectious Diseases in Africa
2000 - present, Director Medical Research Unit, Medical Research Centre (MRC), South Africa
2003 - 2008, Member, Institute of Infectious Disease & Molecular Medicine (IDM), UCT, South Africa
2000 - 2008, Head Division of Immunology (acting), UCT, South Africa (except 2004-2005)
2000 - 2004, International Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow for Medicine in Africa
1998 - 2000, Group Leader Infectious Disease Unit, Division of Immunology, UCT, South Africa
1994 - 1998, Group Leader, Molecular Immunology, Max-Planck-Institute for Immunobiology, Germany
1991 - 1993, Research Fellow, Preclinical Research group of Sandoz Ltd, Switzerland
1989 - 1991, Postdoctoral Fellow, Max-Planck-Institute for Immunobiology, Germany

Teaching Activity
Since 2001, Full Professor, University of Cape Town, South Africa
2000 - present, Visiting Professor, University of Strathclyde, UK
1998 - 2001, Associate Professor, University of Cape Town, South Africa
1997 - 2000, Honorary Lecturer, University of Strathclyde, UK

Scientific Activity
My research interests are general immunological mechanisms of host protection in human diseases, including Tuberculosis, Listeriosis, African Trypanosomiasis, Leishmaniasis and Schistosomiasis, four of the major WHO declared threats to combat. Major general topics include cytokine network and regulation, lymphocytes differentiation and function, dendritic cell and macrophage activation, as well as the role of non-immunological effector cells in health/disease like smooth muscle cells, goblet cells, activated by IL-4 and IL13.


Gordon Brown Gordon Brown completed a PhD in microbiology at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He was a Wellcome Trust travelling postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford, UK, then a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and is now a Professor of Immunology at the University of Aberdeen. His primary research interests are macrophage receptors and their role in immunity and homeostasis.



heather zar

Professor Heather Zar (left) was one of the top three finalists for the Distinguished Woman Scientist Award 2006 for her innovative research in child lung health.

Heather Zar is Professor and Chair of the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Director of the School of Child and Adolescent Health and Director of the Division of Paediatric Pulmonology at Red Cross Childrens Hospital at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. After specialising in Paediatrics she did a fellowship in Paediatric Pulmonology followed by a PhD. Her work, encompasses research, clinical care, education, training and advocacy for child health and is based at Red Cross Childrens Hospital, one of the largest dedicated childrens hospital in Africa. She has developed a strong clinical translational research program focused on child lung health, establishing several clinical research sites, building a core clinical research facility and attracting substantial funding from international funding agencies. Her work focuses on childhood respiratory diseases, including tuberculosis, pneumonia, asthma and HIV-associated lung diseases with more than 180 scientific publications. She is a National Research Foundation A-rated scientist. She currently serves as the President of the Pan African Thoracic Society.
Mark Nicol Mark Nicol is head of the Division of Medical Microbiology at the University of Cape Town and the National Health Laboratory Service. The Division includes both a diagnostic service component for the Groote Schuur Academic Hospital Complex as well as a research component. The research base is within the Clinical Infectious Diseases Research Initiative of the Institute for Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine at UCT. Major research interests within the Division include paediatric tuberculosis, the strain biology of M. tuberculosis, point-of-care diagnostics for tuberculosis, the molecular epidemiology of methicillin-resistant S. aureus and multi-drug resistant Acinetobacter spp.
Marc Mendelson Marc Mendelson studied Medicine at St Mary's Hospital, London and specialised in Infectious Diseases at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, where he attained his PhD in Cytomegalovirus latency. Marc undertook post-doctoral studies at The Rockefeller University, New York, working on the interaction between Mycobacterium tuberculosis and dendritic cells, before transferring his research to Cape Town. In April 2007, Marc was appointed as principal specialist and head of Division of Infectious Diseases & HIV Medicine at Groote Schuur Hospital, University of Cape Town. He is also Director of the Cape Town GeoSentinel Site for surveillance of travel-related illnesses, the first GeoSentinel Site in Africa. Marc was elected President of the Infectious Diseases Society of South Africa (IDSSA) and of the Federation of Infectious Diseases Societies of South Africa (FIDSSA) in August 2009. He has a diverse range of research interests in the fields of HIV, TB and Travel Medicine.
Stephen Lawn The late Professor Stephen Lawn (2016) was a Clinician Scientist who trained in Infectious Diseases in the UK. He spent periods working as a Lecturer in Medicine for the Universities of Ghana in West Africa, and as a Research Fellow at the Centers Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, USA. Studies contributing to his doctoral thesis focussed on the co-pathogenesis of HIV-1 infection and tuberculosis (TB) infection and other coinfections prevalent in tropical settings. He was a Reader in Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine: http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/people/lawn.stephen. With funding from the Wellcome Trust, he was since January 2005 based full-time at the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre at the Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine (IDM) of the University of Cape Town. Here the major focus of his research is TB in the context of the scale-up of antiretroviral therapy. Since 2012, he has been based back in London at LSHTM, but has ongoing research studies in Cape Town.
Liz Corbett Liz Corbett is a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow and a Clinical Epidemiologist with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her main research interests concern control of TB in HIV prevalent populations from the public health perspective, with a focus on the epidemiology at primary care and community level, and intervention trials.  She is a member of the Strategic and Technical Advisory Group for Tuberculosis, World Health Organization, and the Consortium to Respond Effectively to the AIDS and TB Epidemics (CREATE, PI Dick Chaisson).  She has received a number of scientific prizes and awards for her work, which has highlighted the public health importance of undiagnosed infectious TB and community-level interventions.  She has other ongoing research in mathematical modeling, management of smear-negative TB suspects, TB diagnostics, and in the epidemiology of adolescent long-term survivors of mother-to-child transmission of HIV infection.  With support of the Wellcome Trust she has recently moved from Harare, Zimbabwe to join the Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Clinical Research Programme in Blantyre, Malawi, where she is aiming to carry on her main research themes.
Anna-Lise Williamson Anna-Lise Williamson (PhD) is a virologist on the joint staff of the Division of Medical Virology, University of Cape Town and the National Health Laboratory Service.  She is also a member of the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine at the University of Cape Town. She is internationally recognized for both HIV vaccine and Human Papillomavirus  expertise.   She has headed the South Africa AIDS Vaccine Initiative funded vaccine development team since 2000. This team of people has been responsible for the development of two vaccines currently in Phase 1 clinical trials in the USA and South Africa.  She is a member of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise Science Committee and heads the WHO HPV Labnet lab for the Africa Region.  She has published more than 100 papers in peer reviewed journals and is actively engaged in training of post-graduate students.  In 2008 she was awarded a Chair in Vaccinology  by the South African Research Chairs Initiative
Valerie Mizrahi Valerie Mizrahi is professorial director of the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine at the University of Cape Town. She also directs the MRC/NHLS/UCT Molecular Mycobacteriology Research Unit and heads the UCT node of the DST/NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical TB Research. She was an International Research Scholar of the HHMI from 2000-2010, and currently, is a Senior International Research Scholar of the HHMI. Her research focuses on aspects of the physiology and metabolism of Mycobacterium tuberculosis of relevance to TB drug resistance and drug discovery. As an internationally recognised leader in TB research, Valerie holds an "A" rating from the National Research Foundation. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, and Royal Society of South Africa, an Associate Fellow of TWAS, and a Member of the Academy of Science of South Africa. Her major awards include the 2013 Christophe Mérieux Prize from the Mérieux Foundation and Institut de France, the Order of the Mapungubwe (Silver, 2007), the 2006 Gold Medal of the SA Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the 2000 Unesco-L'Oréal For Women in Science Award (Africa & Middle East). She serves on the SABs of K-RITH (Durban), the TB Alliance (New York) and the ICGEB (Trieste).
Darren Martin Darren Martin is a Senior Lecturer in the Computational Biology Group at the University of Cape Town. His research focuses on the role of para-sexual reproduction during virus evolution. He and his research group do experiments and write computer software to figure out why, how, where, and how often viruses have sex.  He has published over 100 papers on this topic and has authored the "recombination detection and analysis" chapter of the popular molecular evolution textbook, "The Phylogenetics Handbook."


Tom Scriba Thomas Scriba received undergraduate and postgraduate training in Biochemistry and Microbiology at Stellenbosch University, and completed doctoral training in immunology at Oxford University. He joined the South African TB Vaccine Initiative (SATVI) at UCT as a post-doctoral fellow in 2006, where he trained in pediatric and clinical immunology in tuberculosis and vaccinology. In June 2009, Scriba took up a faculty position as a Senior Researcher, was appointed as SATVI Deputy Director, Immunology in 2012, and promoted to Associate Professor in January 2014. Scriba's research interests focus on pathophysiological and immunological questions that address critical gaps in TB vaccine development. Among these, large projects aim to identify biomarkers of risk of TB disease, or of protection against TB disease. He is responsible for direction of all laboratory activities at SATVI, including the immunology analyses for more than a dozen clinical trials of novel TB vaccines. Scriba has authored/co-authored 49 publications, and has been successful in generating competitive research funding from the EDCTP, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and MRC, amongst others. He is actively involved in training postgraduate students, and has won various research and teaching awards.
Graeme Meintjes Qualifications: MBChB(UCT) MRCP(Glasgow) FCP(SA) DipHIVMan(SA) MPH (Johns Hopkins) PhD(UCT)

Graeme Meintjes is a Professor of Medicine, an adult Infectious Diseases Physician and a member of the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine at the University of Cape Town. He obtained his PhD in 2011 for a thesis that focused on the diagnosis, treatment and immunopathogenesis of paradoxical tuberculosis-associated immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (TB-IRIS). He was previously the lead investigator on a randomized controlled trial of prednisone for the treatment of paradoxical TB-IRIS. He is currently PI of the EDCTP-funded Pred-ART trial, a placebo-controlled randomized trial of prednisone for preventing TB-IRIS in high risk patients starting ART being conducted in Khayelitsha.(http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT01924286).

His other research interests include the diagnosis of and causes of mortality in HIV-associated TB, the complications of antiretroviral therapy and cryptococcal meningitis. He has collaborated with researchers from St Georges Hospital, London, on trials aimed at improving initial treatment of cryptococcal meningitis since 2005, and was the site PI of the NIAID-funded Cryptococcal Optimal ART Timing (COAT) trial at GF Jooste Hospital in Cape Town (http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT01075152). He was a Wellcome Trust Training Fellow from 2007 until 2011, and was awarded a 5-year Wellcome Trust Intermediate Fellowship in Public Health and Tropical Medicine in 2012. He jointly established the Infectious Diseases Unit at GF Jooste Hospital in Cape Town in 2004. Since 2010 he has been an Honorary Clinical Lecturer, Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, and since 2004 a Senior Clinical Consultant for the Aid for AIDS managed care group.

He recently received »

• The European Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) Rising Star Africa Award for 2013.

• Medical Research Council of South Africa Young Scientist Award (Silver Medal) 2013.

IDM member website:

Andrew Boulle

Andrew Boulle is a public health specialist with the Western Cape Provincial Department of Health and is a Professor of Public Health and Director of the Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Research at the University of Cape Town.  His research addresses operational and clinical questions related to HIV service provision, predominantly through analyses of HIV cohorts. He completed his PhD on the HIV treatment programmes in Khayelitsha and the Western Cape Province, and established the South African data centre for the International Epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA) cohort collaboration in 2007.  A recent focus of his work is on data harmonisation and context-appropriate information systems development to better understand the population-level impact of health programs.

Jo-Ann Passmore Jo-Ann Passmore PhD, is a Medical Scientist with the National Health Laboratory Services, and Associate Professor in the Division of Medical Virology, Institute for Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town.  She heads the HIV and STI Mucosal laboratory at the Institute for Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town.   Since 2002, her research has focused on studying genital tract adaptive and innate immune responses associated with protection from or susceptibility to sexually transmitted viral diseases including HPV and HIV.  She is a member of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) Mucosal Working Group which aims at develop methods to investigate HIV-specific immunity in mucosal tissue including the female genital tract.
Helen McIlleron

Helen McIlleron's research focuses on antituberculosis and antiretroviral drug pharmacokinetics in patient populations. Defining PK/PD relationships in tuberculosis (TB) and HIV, describing and drug-drug interactions in tuberculosis (TB)/HIV co-infected patients, and optimizing dosing in neglected populations such as children and pregnant women and are key areas of interest. She is involved in several ongoing projects in Southern, East and West African adults and children which include evaluation of the associations between genetic variants, pharmacokinetics and drug effects. Many of these have as an objective to develop the capability of sites to conduct research and to encourage and support investigator-initiated pharmacology research projects at collaborating sites.