Stellenbosch University Immunology Research Group
The main focus of the Stellenbosch University Immunology Research Group is to identify immune biomarkers that can be taken forward into future trials for novel diagnostics, new treatment regimens and vaccines. We work with several international consortia and with several US, European and African partners on large cohorts of participants with well-characterized TB infection and disease phenotypes to search for biomarkers of TB infection and disease.
We also focus on immune-endocrine interactions and particularly the role of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in TB susceptibility.
Our laboratory team processes a range of sample types from participants, including serum, urine, saliva, sputum, exhaled breath condensate, broncho-alveolar lavage, pleural fluid and cerebrospinal fluid, depending on specific studies. Sample storage takes place in minus 80⁰C freezers and liquid nitrogen tanks and sample management is performed through customized, open-source databases with a laboratory data management system. We routinely perform Quantiferon and TSPOT-TB tests, cryopreserve PBMCs, perform short- and long term whole blood culture or PBMC assays, stimulated with a range of mycobacterial antigens, conduct whole blood and PBMC flow cytometric analyses (8-colour), including phenotyping and intracellular cytokine production, extract RNA for quantitative real-time PCR and perform multiplex cytokine arrays (Luminex platform, MSD platform, large-scale studies for own and several South African groups) and ELISA tests.
We also work as an immunology specialist laboratory on subcontracts in clinical trials.
The Stellenbosch University Immunology Research Group is passionate about education in immunology and produces several doctoral, masters and honours degrees annually.
Our quality statement
The Stellenbosch University Immunology Research Group
is committed to good professional practice through quality in research and
service. This commitment to quality is realized throughout the research process, from sample
collection to the publication and reporting of results. We are ISO 15189
accredited (M0498) by the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS). This provides evidence to all
interested parties that the Stellenbosch University Immunology Research Group
is committed to establishing and maintaining a quality research laboratory
capable of conducting excellent research, including clinical trials. As part of this
commitment to quality standards, our laboratory has enrolled in external proficiency
schemes for specialized immunological procedures, including Quantiferon and
TSPOT-TB tests, as well as Luminex, GeneXpert, Flow Cytometry and PBMC isolation and