Page 87 - UCT Research Report 2011

Basic HTML Version

Centre of excellence
associated with this theme
UCT node of the DST/NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical
TB Research
A new node of the DST/NRF Centre of Excellence for
Biomedical TB Research (CBTBR) was established
at UCT in 2011, under the leadership of Professor
Valerie Mizrahi. Through this development, UCT
became the third co-hosting institution of this centre,
together with Stellenbosch University that serves
as the leadership and administrative hub, and the
University of the Witwatersrand.
The UCT node of the CBTBR was established
coincident with Professor Mizrahi’s move to UCT
as the new director of the IIDMM. The MRC/NHLS/
UCT Molecular Mycobacteriology Research Unit,
directed by Professor Mizrahi, serves as the base of
the UCT node of the CBTBR. The first four months
of the year were spent setting up the node’s new
biosafety level two laboratory in the IIDMM and
equipping the biosafety level three laboratory with
the equipment and reagents needed to support the
CoE node’s tuberculosis research programme. By
June 2011, the UCT node’s laboratories were fully
operational and the first cohort of postgraduate
students and postdoctoral fellows was in place. The
node currently comprises Professor Mizrahi (head),
Dr Digby Warner (team member), three postdoctoral
fellows as well as three new PhD students. Also
affiliated to the UCT node in 2011 was one MRC-
funded senior scientist, who is seconded full-time
to the University of Stellenbosch node, and one
research officer who is seconded full-time to the
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases,
NIH (USA). In addition to those based at UCT, three
existing students (two PhD and one MSc) who are
registered at the University of the Witwatersrand
were co-supervised by Dr Warner and Professor
Mizrahi in 2011.
In addition to establishing the node’s laboratories
and recruiting new students, major emphasis was
also placed in 2011 on obtaining new research
grants. The node was successful in this regard,
securing three new grants for tuberculosis drug
discovery research, from the Bill and Melinda Gates
Foundation as a member of the High-Quality Hits
for Tuberculosis (HIT-TB) Consortium, the EU FP7
Programme as a member of the More Medicines
for Tuberculosis (MM4TB) Consortium, and the
Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) under the
auspices of the South African Tuberculosis Research
and Innovation Initiative (SATRII).
burden of disease
Prevent and cure: Dr Digby Warner (right) and Dr Thomas Scriba of the IIDMM were named winner and first runner-
up, respectively, of the prestigious BioVision-Lilly Award in conjunction with TWAS (the academy of sciences for the
developing world). The award recognises young researchers from developing countries for outstanding scientific
achievements in tuberculosis-related research.