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Head of Division:  Professor Gary Maartens

Divisional Profile

The major research thrusts of the division are focused on malaria, tuberculosis and HIV. The research in these fields is broad and encompasses drug discovery, pharmacokinetics, pharmacogenomics, clinical trials, pharmacoepidemiology, and pharmacoeconomic evaluation. The analytical laboratory plays a key research role with small animal models for drug discovery and in patient samples for drug concentrations. A large multicentre malaria clinical research group headed by Prof. Karen Barnes has secured substantial funding from the Gates Foundation and the Global Fund – this programme is at the forefront of translational malaria research in Africa. The MRC South African Traditional Medicines Research Group is a drug discovery programme: Prof. Kelly Chibale, Dept Chemistry, UCT and Prof. Peter Smith from our division are co-directors. Compounds with antimalarial, antibacterial (including antitubercular) and antifungal activity are identified and optimised from plants used in traditional medicine. Dr Helen McIlleron heads our clinical pharmacokinetic group, which conducts a series of pharmacokinetic studies evaluating antitubercular drugs, and the interaction between rifamycins and antiretroviral drugs in adults and children has commenced with funding from the Wellcome Trust, MRC, Department of Health and the EDCTP. Our collaboration on population pharmacokinetics with Uppsala University is ongoing and our research group is flourishing – this year we set up a pharmacometric laboratory to perform these complex analyses.


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