Prof Duncan Steele
Co- Director: Prof M. Jeffrey Mphahlele
Email: Jeffrey.firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The Diarrhoeal Pathogens Research Unit (DPRU) was established at the former MEDUNSA in April 1996, and was the first SAMRC unit to be founded at a previously disadvantaged institution. The DPRU was founded in order to address a national and continental disease that was under-researched in Africa. Diarrhoeal diseases remain a leading cause of mortality among infants and young children in Africa. It is estimated that diarrhoeal diseases are the primary cause of death in infants younger than 5 years, leading to between 160 and 200 deaths per day in South Africa.
The mission of this unit is to:
- study viral and microbial agents associated with diarrhoea in infants and young children in southern Africa
- investigate the molecular epidemiology of rotavirus infection in southern Africa with a view to optimising the future implementation of a rotavirus vaccine strategy
- study the molecular pathogenesis of rotavirus infection, using the vast array of clinical material available, as well as detailed molecular analysis of the associated viruses
- support biotechnological developments in the field of anti-diarrhoeal vaccines, which could have a dramatic effect on our population
- promote a public understanding and awareness of diarrhoeal disease, and the importance of research in this area
- develop human capital capacity by training young researchers, equipping them to join the local scientific community
- collaborate actively with both national and international researchers
- contribute to the science system through a range of scholarly activities.
In addition, the unit strives to:
- study the epidemiology and molecular characterisation of small round structured viruses that have emerged as important aetiological agents in other developing countries
- characterise enterotoxin-producing strains of E. coli and Shigella.
View the Diarrhoeal Pathogens Research Unit's Website