Elizna Maasdorp, MB.ChB.
Dr Elizna Maasdorp is a medical doctor who grew up in the Southern Cape of South Africa. After completing her medical degree at Stellenbosch University, she worked for ten years in high HIV and TB burden primary care settings in the Free Sate, Eastern Cape and Western Cape before deciding to pursue a career in research. To this end she completed a MSc in Clinical Epidemiology from the Stellenbosch University in 2016. She currently works as a study clinician in the Stellenbosch University Immunology Research Group who conducts observational and clinical trials in the tuberculosis field. Elizna will soon start a PhD in bioinformatics, a field she has become interested in during her work with this group. She will investigate cytokine and gene expression biomarkers of tuberculosis disease.
Stephanie Pitts, MSc.
Stephanie obtained her undergraduate degrees in Medical Bioscience at the University of the Western Cape, and in 2016, graduated with an MSc in Bioinformatics from the South African National Bioinformatics Institute (SANBI), based at UWC.
Her interest in developing computational methods to derive disease mechanisms was sparked during her MSc during which she worked on miRNA-gene interactions in Lupus.
In 2016, Stephanie joined the TB Host-Genetics research group, to pursue her PhD degree in a field of infectious disease with a tremendous impact on the South African population. Within the South African Coloured (SAC) population, she aims to identify associations between the host genotype, and the infecting
M. tuberculosis strain.
Stephanie is jointly supervised by Drs Craig Kinear and Marlo Möller and Prof. Eileen Hoal of the Host Genetics group and Profs Gian van der Spuy and Gerard Tromp of the Bioinformatics group.
Anél Sparks, BSc. (hons)
Anél Sparks obtained a BSc (Hons) degree in Human Genetics from Stellenbosch University in 2016. Her main research interest is bioinformatics and biostatistics. She is currently a MSc student in the TB Host Genetics research group and will focus on assembling a reference genome for an admixed South African population. This population is highly susceptible to tuberculosis and affected by various monogenic disorders. The reference genome will not only help to discover new aspects of TB, but will also facilitate genetic research of other diseases commonly plaguing the population studied, such as diabetes mellitus and heart diseases.
Anél is jointly supervised by Drs Marlo Möller and Brigitte Glanzmann of the Host Genetics group and Profs Gian van der Spuy and Gerard Tromp of the Bioinformatics group.
Gerald van Eeden, BSc. (Hons)
Gerald van Eeden obtained a BSc in Human Life Sciences from the University of Stellenbosch in 2016 with majors in Genetics and Human Physiology. His main interest is innovation, especially in the areas where Biology overlaps with modern life, like it does in Bioinformatics. He also has a passion for business in science.
He obtained his BSc (hons) in the bioinformatics group under the supervision of Prof. Gian van der Spuy, focusing on dealing with missing data by imputation.
Gerald is currently a MSc student in the TB Host Genetics research group. His project involves the development of a bioinformatic pipelline for generating a recombination map in admixed populations. He is jointly supervised by Dr Marlo Moller, Dr Caitlin Uren and Prof. Gian van der Spuy.
Darryn Zimre, BSc. (Hons)
Darryn Zimire obtained his undergraduate degree in Biotechnology from the University of the Western Cape in 2014. He then went on to do an internship in 2015 at the South African National Bioinformatics Institute, (SANBI) where he worked on the role of microRNAs in cancer research. Following the internship, he completed his BSc. (Hons) degree in Biotechnology where he worked on determining the mutations rates for rapidly mutating Y-STRs in male relatives in the Forensic DNA Laboratory, UWC.
In 2017, Darryn joined the South African Tuberculosis Bioinformatics Initiative to pursue his MSc. degree where he will work on evaluating the impact of sequencing depth, read length and base-call quality in transcriptome profiling in RNA-sequencing experiments. The success of this project will inform researchers who are planning these experiments on the strengths and weaknesses of various sequencing platforms available across Cape Town.
Darryn is supervised by Prof. Gerard Tromp of the Bioinformatics group.