Page 38 - Faculty of Health Sciences

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UCT Research Report '11
use in a wide range of immunological studies applicable
to communicable and non-communicable diseases. These
have been used to make important advances in diseases,
such as Tuberculosis, Bilharzia, African Trypanosomiasis,
Candidiasis and cutaneous Leishmaniasis and have
contributed significantly to identifying fundamental cellular
and molecular immunological mechanisms. Together with
international and national collaborations, these animal tools
contribute to many advances in Immunology and other
fields. Basic research in the Allergy Section has focused
on the role of IL-4 and IL-13 in allergy as well as the
application of novel assays to identify sensitivity profiles.
There are very close ties with the South African component
of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and
Biotechnology, providing a very strong genomics thrust to
the Division.
Translational Research: There is also a strong clinical
immunology emphasis in the Division, specifically in
HIV and TB immunology where studies are underway
to understand adaptive and innate immune responses
during acute HIV infection and in infants exposed to
HIV in utero and upon receiving different childhood
vaccinations. Funding has been garnered that will allow
breast-feeding practices of mothers to be linked with
the immune activation status of the newborn infant and
mechanisms that may potentially mitigate EPI responses.
Understanding the link between HIV-induced inflammation
and autoimmunity, where peripheral tolerance has been
broken, is a new direction within the Division.
Service: Thecombined functionsof theLaboratory for Tissue
Immunology (LTI) and the Clinical Immunology and Allergy
Laboratory are responsible for providing NHLS activities.
The LTI is responsible for HLA class I and class II typing for
solid organ and bone marrow/stem cell matching. It is the
only HLA lab in South Africa to have European Federation
of Immunogenetics (EFI) accreditation. The Laboratory
also performs cross-matching and pre-formed antibody
testing for renal transplantation. The Clinical Immunology
and Allergy Laboratory performs routine diagnostic testing
for autoantibodies and different allergies.
Teaching: The Division has an active teaching component
in the medical undergraduate syllabus and provides up
to date lectures on the basics of the immune system and
integrates immunology concepts and principals with the
case studies and problem based learning approach by the
Faculty. More advanced courses are offered at the post-
graduate level through the Honours in Infectious Disease
and Immunology programme and the relatively newly
formed Immunology Course for postgraduate students.
Moreover, members of the Division are involved in the
International Research Training Group (IRTG), a student
exchange program between the University of Wuerzburg,
Germany, Stellenbosch and UCT. The Division also holds
workshop on infectious disease and immunology and
specifically train students from other countries in Africa
on advanced immunology related techniques and cutting-
edge science.
International Links: There are very strong links between
staff in the Division with international collaborators on all
continents in both basic and applied research.
Divisional Statistics
Permanent & Long Term Contract Staff (UCT/
Associate Professors
Research Staff
Technical Staff
Technical Support Staff
Administrative Staff
Research Fields & Staff
Academic Staff
Professor Clive Gray PhD
Wernher Beit Chair and HOD Immunology; Full member of the
IIDMM; B rating by NRF; Research Profile: Immunology of HIV
infection and specific T cell responses during acute infection.
Professor Frank Brombacher, PhD
Professor of Immunology; UCT Fellow; SARChI Chair,
Director of an MRC Unit; ICGEB Coordinator & Group
leader, Member of IIDMM; A1-rating by NRF; Research
profile: Immunology of infectious diseases, including
Tuberculosis, African Trypanosomiasis, Leishmaniasis,
Bilharzia and other Helminth infections.
A/Professor Muazzam Jacobs, PhD
NHLS Medical Scientist and UCT Senior Lecturer; Full
member of the IIDMM. Research profile: Understanding
host pathogen interaction and associated immune
mechanisms that bring about protection against
tuberculosis infection.
Dr Barbara Nurse, PhD
NHLS Medical Scientist. Research profile: T cells in allergic
diseases: Cytokine responses to allergen and mTB protein
in atopic asthmatic children; Immune changes underlying