Medicine and Health Sciences
Welcome to Stellenbosch University


​​​​​The Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Department of Biomedical Sciences

The Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics conducts research on two main fields namely tuberculosis and inherited genetic disorders. These two apparently different fields are united through the study of fundamental biology of nucleic acids and genetic material of both human and organism.

This molecular approach to research is enhanced through the use of modern laboratory techniques and collaboration with national and international leaders in the field.

The division occupies a position bridging the gap between basic research and its application in clinical TB research and management. This laboratory is engaged 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 fundamental research and its clinical application and some have broader application beyond the field of human TB, most notably in areas such as wildlife management and veterinary disease.

The division is home to a number of research entities, many of which focus on several aspects of research on tuberculosis.


The division hosts the Stellenbosch node of the DST/NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Tuberculosis Research, and three South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) Chairs in the field of tuberculosis research. The purpose of this initiative is to stimulate high-level research and research capacity via postgraduate research and training.

The three SARChI Chairs are in:

  • Mycobactomics (genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics and other 'omics' studies of mycobacteria and specifically the tuberculosis-causing species)
  • Biomarkers for Tuberculosis
  • Animal Tuberculosis


Other research entities in the division are:

The DST/NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Tuberculosis Research (CBTBR)

The major objective of the CBTBR is to contribute to local and global research efforts that are aimed at developing new tools for controlling tuberculosis and to use the research as a vehicle for training a new generation of high-quality biomedical research scientists.


The MRC Centre for Molecular and Cellular Biology

The MRC Centre for Molecular and Cellular Biology provides a strong teaching and research environment to approximately 50 scientists, technicians and postgraduate students. It also hosts scientists and students from other regional institutions, whose work is complemented by our facilities and research interests.


The African Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation (ANDI) Centre of Excellence in HIV Translational Research


The Desmond Tutu TB Centre

The Desmond Tutu TB Centre is an academic research centre which has its main offices at the FMHS and satellite offices in various communities affected by tuberculosis and poor health.

It has as its mission the improvement of the health of vulnerable groups through influencing policy based on new knowledge created by research focusing on health, mainly TB and HIV.