Page 90 - UCT Research Report 2011

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UCT Research Report '11
Institute of Infectious Disease
and Molecular Medicine (IIDMM)
Concentrating its research efforts on infectious diseases,
particularly HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, and on non-
communicable diseases prevalent in Africa, the Institute of
Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine aims to be a
centre of research excellence inAfrica, and a major training
hub for biomedical, clinical, and public health researchers.
The institute provides its members, affiliates, and visiting
scholars from around the world with an environment that
is highly interactive, allowing complex scientific problems
framed in a public health context to be tackled in a
multi-disciplinary way. Collaborations, partnerships, and
networks contribute to its world-class scientific endeavours.
Its strong scientific base spans many areas of modern,
molecular-based enquiry, including molecular and cell
biology, immunology, virology, microbiology, genetics
and genomics, biochemistry, pharmacology, vaccinology,
molecular epidemiology, and structural, high-throughput,
and computational biology. The institute’s aim is to apply
scientific discovery from the bench to the bedside and
to the community through a dynamic interplay between
basic, clinical, and public health research.
Director: Professor V. Mizrahi
MRC/UCT Immunology of
Infectious Diseases Research
Human infectious diseases are a high-priority area
for South Africa and Africa, where they continue to
be a leading cause of childhood and adult morbidity
and mortality. Thus, the MRC/UCT Immunology of
Infectious Diseases Research Unit focuses on the
understanding of host protective immune responses
and the development of effective vaccine strategies for
the eradication of diseases that are identified as priority
areas by the World Health Organisation: tuberculosis,
leishmaniasis, helminthis diseases (bilharziosis) and
African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness). The unit’s
mission is to be relevant as an excellent multi-disciplinary
and international team, embracing both basic and applied
research, in order to improve capacity, teaching, and
training in the immunology of infectious diseases.
Director: Professor F. Brombacher
MRC/UCT Oesophageal
Cancer Research Group
The MRC/UCT Oesophageal Cancer Research Group
is an inter-disciplinary and inter-institution group (UCT,
MRC, and the University of Stellenbosch), established
by the MRC in 1997. Squamous cell carcinoma of the
oesophagus is one of the eight most common cancers
worldwide. High-incidence areas include China, Japan,
and certain hot spots in France, Iran, and South America.
More important is the fact that the incidence of squamous
cell carcinoma of the oesophagus is very high in
Southern and Eastern Africa, but virtually absent in West
Africa. This group is investigating the environmental and
genetic factors that predispose Africans to this disease.
Director: Professor M.I. Parker
MRC/UCT Receptor Biology
Research Group
The mission of the group is to study the structure and
function of G protein-coupled receptors and to apply the
research to understanding and treating diseases that
have major effects on the social and economic welfare
of South Africa. The group focuses on the gonadotropin-
releasing hormone receptors and on the kisspeptin
receptor, which are central regulators of the reproductive
function, on the prostaglandin receptors and their role in
cervical cancer and on the CCR5 chemokine receptor
and its role in HIV entry and infection.
Co-Directors: Associate Professor A.A. Katz, Dr C.A.
Flanagan and Professor R.P. Millar
UCT Leukaemia Unit
The UCT Leukaemia Unit was established with the
objective of fostering basic and clinical research in the
area of haematological stem cell disorders and blood
malignancies. Some of the current interest includes
the marrow microenvironment in multiple myeloma,
molecular genetics of acute or chronic leukaemias, and
clinical studies in lymphoproliferative disorders. As a
consequence, a laboratory with a comprehensive array
of equipment is available where honours, master’s,
and doctoral students are running research projects.
Based on these studies, a number of clinical and
Research groupings
associated with this theme