​​Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics

About us


The Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics (MBHG) is a state-of-the-art research unit comprised of over 250 staff and postgraduate students. Our institute focuses on two main research fields, namely tuberculosis (TB) and inherited genetic disorders. These fields are further subdivided into core research thrusts that conduct a spectrum of research utilizing innovative molecular techniques to bridge the gap between basic fundamental and its clinical application.


To this end, our research involved the study of fundamental biology of genetic material of both humans and organism to provides knowledge and build capacity that informs the development of new diagnostics and treatment regimens. Notably, these research efforts extend beyond the field of human disease into areas such as wildlife management and veterinary disease in the case of TB. The quality of research conducted at MBHG is further enhanced through national and international collaboration with world-class leaders in the field.


MBHG is supported and funded by, amongst others, the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and National Research Foundation (NRF) through two well-established research Centers which it houses, namely:

The SAMRC Centre for TB Research (CTR), and; 

​​​The DSI/NRF Centre of Excellence in Biomedical TB Research (CBTBR)​.​

As such, a key goal of MBHG is to contribute to the discovery and development of new tools for the control of tuberculosis. The unit's efforts in this regard includes:

    • Development of point-of-care TB diagnosis strategies for improved disease monitoring and systematic screening of high-risk groups
    • Development and implementation of rapid drug-susceptibility testing for enhanced TB treatment regimens and effective disease management
    • Investigation into the effects of comorbidities such as HIV and diabetes to better patient support and infection control and;
    • Identification of the influence of various high-risk activities, such as smoking and substance abuse, on disease incidence, progression and treatment outcomes.


The impact of this work and translation into clinically relevant tools will enable faster and more accurate diagnostic tools to shorten time to diagnosis and to optimize treatment regimens which leads to improved patient outcomes. To this end, MBHG will continue to challenge dogma, develop new technologies, collaborate more widely to move knowledge forward to inform policy to improve quality of life and reduce the cost of health care.  


While achieving all the above, MBHG continues to train the next generation of research leaders of all ethnicities, thereby redressing past imbalances and inequities, stimulating economic development through future discoveries, product development, entrepreneurial ventures and inspiring future generations to follow careers in science. In addition to this innovative research and capacity development, MBHG also engages with communities and patients, to provide feedback on research findings to inform and educate to improve health care behaviour and practices to reduce disease burden.