The Mycobacterium Metabolism research group focuses on investigating vulnerability of mycobacterial essential genes for drug targeting and discovery of new inhibitors of vulnerable essential gene products as potential antimycobacterial agents. In collaboration with experienced local natural product scientists, an explorative project expected to run into 2022 involving extensive screening of plants extracts against a panel of CRISPRi knockdown mutants is underway.
An early lead drug discovery strategy led to a grant from the Grant Challenges Africa Round 10, 2nd Drug Discovery Grant by AESA (Alliance for Acceleration of Excellence in Science in Africa). Over the past two years period, the group optimized methods to generate CRISPRi hypomorphs and LC-MS/MS for analysis of intracellular mycobacterial metabolites, which has resulted Dr Mashabela being awarded NRF's Competitive Support for Unrated (SRU210328591204) to study effect of the MEP pathway [Fe-S] cluster-dependent enzymes.
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