Molecular Biology Human Genetics
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics



​The Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics is a research unit focused on two main fields, namely tuberculosis and inherited genetic disorders. These two apparently distinct 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 of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics is supported and funded by, amongst others, the MRC, DST and NRF through two centers. The DST/NRF Centre for Excellence in Biomedical TB Research (CBTBR) is one of the Centres of Excellence for top research opportunities in South Africa created over the last 10 years. The MRC Centre for Tuberculosis Research is a well-established centre that has enjoyed support for more than 20 years. The division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics comprises over 100 staff and postgraduate students that publish numerous manuscripts in peer-reviewed international journals every year.

In July 2009, Prof Paul van Helden, was featured in an article on Thompson Reuters' Sciencewatch, citing him as the 4th highest ranked scientist in the World in the field of tuberculosis.

The Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics currently 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 of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics will foster knowledge-based solutions to health challenges facing Africa.


To achieve this vision through quality fundamental and translational research and quality training of students


Our core values include:

a.       Excellence in research, training and community outreach.

b.      Joint responsibility for the achievement of the division's vision.

c.       Empathy to promote a culture and behaviour that include self-respect, respect for others, and respect for the physical environment.

d.      Innovation by making wiser choices and decisions for ourselves and our environment.

Strategic priorities:

·         Broaden access for students and staff from all walks of SA life

·         Connectedness to synergistic networks

·         Enhance societal impact

·         Broaden our income base to ensure sustainability

·         Broaden our research focus areas without weakening our strengths in TB research