Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics
The Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics is a research unit focused on two main fields, namely tuberculosis and inherited genetic disorders. These two apparently distinct fields are united through the study of fundamental biology of genetic material of both human and organism and the utilization of innovative molecular techniques. This approach to research is enhanced through the use of modern laboratory equipment and collaboration with national and international leaders in the field.
The Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics is supported and funded by, amongst others, the SAMRC, DST and NRF through two centers. The DST/NRF Centre for Excellence in Biomedical TB Research (CBTBR) is one of the Centres of Excellence for top research opportunities in South Africa created over the last 10 years. The SAMRC Centre for Tuberculosis Research is a well-established centre that has enjoyed support for more than 20 years. The Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics comprises over 200 staff and postgraduate students that publish numerous manuscripts in peer-reviewed international journals every year.
The Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics currently engages in fundamental research towards a better understanding of the biology of the bacterium, which enables it to avoid destruction in the host and spread rapidly within human populations. This may result in the identification and characterisation of novel drug targets. It is also at the cutting edge of research to identify novel bacterial and host markers that will considerably shorten the time taken to evaluate new drug and vaccines and to develop new diagnostic tools and new, multidisciplinary approaches for understanding the epidemiology of the disease. Each one of these efforts is aimed at bridging the gap between basic fundamental research and its clinical application and management. Notably, some of these efforts have broader application beyond the field of human TB, most notably in areas such as wildlife management and veterinary disease.