Research

The research conducted in the laboratories of the CBTBR is internationally recognized. The two nodes of the CBTBR are positioned adjacently on the research continuum. The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) node of the CBTBR is at the forefront of fundamental research in mycobacterial metabolism that is aimed at identifying, validating and characterizing novel drug targets and vaccine candidates for TB. The major areas of interest in this laboratory include the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of dormancy and persistence in M. tuberculosis and the mechanisms of DNA metabolism underlying the development of strain diversification and the evolution of drug resistance. These areas are being investigated using a highly inter-disciplinary approach involving molecular genetics, biochemistry, microbial physiology, bioinformatics, comparative genomics and transcriptomics.

The Stellenbosch University (SU) node 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 the identification and characterisation of novel drug targets and 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. 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. For these reasons, the SU node has developed an extensive, collaborative clinical research network, which will be essential for the successful application of post-genomic research findings in a clinical setting.

The research focus of the CBTBR thus falls directly within the theme of 'cutting edge technology development for diseases of poverty' identified in the National R&D Strategy of the Department of Science and Technology. The highly integrated, inter- and multidisciplinary approach that is being adopted provides a particularly powerful platform for the training of young scientists on the new-to-established researcher track in state-of-the-art health research. The vast network of collaborations with which the laboratories are involved will also provide considerable international training opportunities for researchers associated with the CBTBR in leading institutions around the world.


Research


© CBTBR 2006 | Last updated: 17 August, 2015