Main Research Theme:
Group Leader: Dr. Renay Ngobeni
Office: JC Smuts Building A314
Phone: +27 21 808 5846
Our work tackles some of the most important health issues facing the globe today. Diarrhoea is a health issue that can have a substantial influence on people's health, particularly in younger children. While there are numerous infections that can cause diarrhoea, parasitic protozoans like Giardia, Entamoeba, and Cryptosporidium are the most common cause. These organisms are primarily spread by the faecal-oral route. Poor sanitation, insufficient water supply, overcrowding, and low socioeconomic position are associated with a high prevalence of intestinal parasite infection. Children under five, the elderly, and those with impaired immune systems continue to experience large and ongoing morbidity and death from diarrheal illnesses. Only a portion of those infected with these parasites experience symptoms. Why symptoms appear in only some infected persons is still a mystery. Studies on children have linked infections to disruptions in microbiota, gut leakiness, growth impairment, mucosal inflammation, and cognitive development; nevertheless, the mechanisms governing the shift from colonization to invasive illnesses remain poorly understood.
- Identification of pathogen reservoirs that increase the risk of contracting intestinal parasites.
- Identification of Parasite Virulence Factors.
- Investigation of the circulating strains/species of these parasites in the study population.
- Determination of the risk of increased Giardia, E.histolytica and Cryptosporidium virulence associated with environmental factors.