Immunology Research Group
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Stellenbosch University Immunology Research Group


The Team

Management

Prof Gerhard Walzl

 gwalz@sun.ac.za


 


 


 

Head of the Department of Biomedical Sciences

Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics

Stellenbosch University Immunology Research Group

Prof Walzl leads SU-IRG as principal investigator for most of its projects.

Please see his scientist profile.



 

Dr Nelita du Plessis

Tel: +27 21 938 9953
nelita@sun.ac.za


 


 


 

Leader of TB Cellular Immunology Group

Laboratory Manager

Senior Scientist

Nelita is the leader of the TB Cellular Immunology Group within SUN-IRG, providing direction for research in this field.

As laboratory manager, she supervises all activities that occur within the laboratory.  This includes the scheduling of staff, implementation of proper laboratory procedures and standard operating procedures according to ISO15189, and equipment management.

Please see her scientist profile.   


Dr Léanie Kleynhans

Tel: +27 21 938 9953
leaniek@sun.ac.za


 


 


 

Biosafety Level 3 Laboratory Manager

Senior Scientist

Léanie oversees laboratory work for our group in the Biosafety Level 3 laboratory, ensuring all safety standards are being complied with.  She also drives the establishing of the experimental animal house and will manage this facility which is currently under construction.

Please see her scientist profile


Dr Andre Loxton

Tel: +27 21 938 9953
gl2@sun.ac.za


 


 

Leader of Vaccine Immunology Group

Resource Manager

Senior Scientist

Andre heads up the Vaccine Immunology Group within SUN-IRG, as well as managing resources for the whole group, overseeing grants, procurement and staff appointments.

Please see his scientist profile.


Dr Novel Chegou

Tel: +27 21 938 9953
novel@sun.ac.za


 


 


 

Leader of TB Diagnostic Group

Senior Scientist

Novel leads research into TB Diagnostics within the Immunology Research Group, and also manages the multiplex cytokine array platforms (Luminex and MSD)

Please see his scientist profile.


Andrea Gutschmidt

Tel: +27 21 938 9475
andreag@sun.ac.za


 


 

Flow Cytometry Core Facility Manager (CAF Lite)

Clinical Trial Lab Manager

Andrea manages the flow cytometry facility ensuring equipment services and staff training are up to date.  She also oversees the development of standard operating procedures for clinical trials for whom SUN-IRG acts as laboratory.


Susanne Tönsing

Tel: +27 21 938 9646
stonsing@sun.ac.za


 


 

Clinical Project Coordinator

Susanne is responsible for effective coordination, communication, training and information sharing between the Clinical Research Unit, the Immunology laboratory, data management, pharmacy, scientists, as well as project partners. She also asissts with progress report writing, as well as financial management and budgets.


 

Bronwyn Smith

Tel: +27 21 938 9997
bronwynt@sun.ac.za

 

 





Clinical Project Coordinator

Bronwyn is a project coordinator in the Mol. Bio. Clinical Research Group. She is currently coordinating a large multi-country clinical trial. She is also responsible for aspects of clinical quality assurance.


Dr Fanie Malherbe

Tel: +27 21 938 9639
malherbe@sun.ac.za


 


 


 

Chief Medical Officer of the Molecular Biology Clinical Research Unit / Study Clinician

Dr Malherbe leads the Mol.Bio. CRU staff and operations, as well as being one of the team study clinicians of the CRU.

 

 


Liesel Muller

Tel: +27 21 938 9839
lmuller@sun.ac.za


 


 


 

Quality Assurance Manager

As the quality assurance manager I am responsible for establishing and maintaining the quality system essentials for SU-IRG. Our aim is to maintain a quality assurance program which complies with ISO 15189 to ensure proper handling and processing of clinical samples. Quality Assurance includes all the activities undertaken by our group to ensure that reliable and accurate testing and research is undertaken at all times. These activities include document control, laboratory audits, management reviews, sampling, processing and storage of samples, control of non-conforming work, complaints, corrective and preventative actions, as well as technical and quality records. This is accomplished through a continuing program to improve upon operational systems and procedures.


Prof Gian van der Spuy

Tel: +27 21 938 9412
gvds@sun.ac.za


 


 

Data manager


Kim Stanley

Tel: +27 21 938 9475
kstanley@sun.ac.za


 


 

Data Manager

The database managers assist with the organisation, storage and access to information within databases, as well as modelling and designing in-house databases to meet the needs of specific studies. Apart from building new databases, they are also in charge of monitoring data entry procedures.


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Postdoctoral Researchers

The post-doctoral fellows recently completed their doctoral degrees and conduct full-time research. A Postdoctoral Research Fellowship provides opportunities for the development of professional and research skills with the intent to transition to independent scholars.

Caroline Beltran

Tel: +27 21 938
cbeltran@sun.ac.za

 


Research Assistants

The research assistants are involved in the processing and storing of samples that are brought in from the field sites or other clients.  They  process and test samples following study specific standard operating procedures in the laboratory, and utilize a wide range of laboratory techniques.

Belinda Kriel

Tel: +27 21 938 9839
belindak@sun.ac.za

 

 


 


 

Andrea Gutschmidt

Tel: +27 21 938 9475

andreag@sun.ac.za



Devon Allies

Tel: +27 21 938 9839
devona@sun.ac.za

 


Ilana van Rensburg

Tel: +27 21 938 9839
ilanavr@sun.ac.za

 


 


Field staff

The research nurses recruit participants for the current studies at the research sites and conduct study procedures such as history taking and sample collection according to the study-specific protocols and follow up schedules.
Clinical research assistants and field assistants support the work of the nurses and play an important role in the follow-up of patients, frequently conducting home visits to participants who missed appointment dates in order to retain them for the ongoing studies.
The drivers' responsibilities are mainly transport of study participants to the research site or to special investigations, as well as quality assured sample transport, ensuring temperature stability and safe arrival of biological samples to the research laboratory.

Charmaine Abrahams

Research nurse

Tel: +27 21 938 9996
charmaine@sun.ac.za


 


 

Cathy Swartz

Research nurse

Tel: +27 21 938 9996
kswartz@sun.ac.za


 


 

Leilani Abrahams

Field assistant


 


 


 

Trudi Persence

Field assistant


 


 


 

Roslyn Pienaar

Driver


 


 


 

Shirley McAnda

Research nurse

Tel: +27 21 938 9996
shirleym@sun.ac.za


 


Maria Didloff

Assistant nurse


 


 


 


 

Jaftha Kruger

Driver​

Students

Dolapo Awoniyi

Tel: +27 21 938 9400
dawoniyi@sun.ac.za

 


 

PhD student

​​Project title: Immunological markers of active TB and early treatment response indicators.


Happy Tshivhula

Tel: +27 21 938 9400
tshivhula@sun.ac.za

 


 

PhD student

Project title: Identification of distinct bio-signatures in whole blood and live Mycobacterium tuberculosis stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells of TB household contacts with and without type 2 diabetes.


 

Leigh Kotze

Tel: +27 21 938 9400
lakotze@sun.ac.za

 


 

 MSc student

Project title: Identification of Host Biomarkers for Tuberculosis Treatment Response.


Carine Kunsevi-Kilola

Tel: +27 21 938 9400
kunsevicaryn@sun.ac.za

 


 

PhD student

Project title: Characterisation of human alveolar macrophage and blood monocyte derived macrophage responses to Mycobacterium tuberculosis in TB household contacts with and without type 2 diabetes.