Prof. Frank Brombacher, Ph.D.
diseases continue to be a leading cause of childhood and adult morbidity and
mortality in many parts of the world, and are devastating to the African population
and economy, including South Africa, where they affects predominantly disadvantaged
Effective vaccine development
and eradication of human infectious diseases is a high priority for WHO and
our country. Consequently, our Unit covers four of the top ten most devastating
communicable diseases, declared by WHO and of high importance to the African
continent, namely :
- African Trypanosomiasis;
- leishmaniasis; and
- helminthic diseases
Taking advantage of sophisticated animal models for these human infectious diseases, i.e. world-wide unique condional gene deficient mouse strains, we are defining host factors important for protective immune responses in natural and acquired immunity to these diseases.
Our approach of studying independent infectious diseases comparatively allows us to define common immunological principles and mechanisms, generally important for immunity to infectious diseases. Recently, we integrated into our infectious disease models genome-wide expression analysis using microarray and Cap Analysis of Gene Expression (CAGE) in conjunction with next generation sequenzing. This Systembiology approach allows for rapid identification of potential host protective genes and pathogen evasion targets.
A better and deeper understanding of these immune mechanisms will facilitate effective vaccine development to achieve immunity for our population, as well as drug development for effective and cheap patient therapy.
Our mission is to be relevant as an excellent multidisciplinary and international team, embracing basic and applied research, in order to improve capacity, teaching and training in the immunology of infectious diseases.
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