The Department of Pathology and Microbiology is involved in the training and development of PhD students. Currently, six students are working in tuberculosis and malaria research which is comprised of the following areas:
Molecular epidemiology of M. tuberculosis clinical isolates: Research in this area has focused on the development of tools for typing of strains which have been used for determination of prevalent genogroups and their relationship to drug resistance and pathogenesis. These include, spacer-oligotyping, IS6110 based RFLP typing, mycobacterium interspersed repeat units - VNTR typing, deletion analysis of the M. tuberculosis genome and models to study strain virulence.
Correlates of protection in mycobacterial diseases: Research is focused on identification of biomarkers of infection, in exposed individuals and in patients. This has lead to the identification of cytokines which identify disease severity in tuberculosis. In addition, ongoing work addresses cytokine gene polymorphisms in susceptibility to tuberculosis.
Molecular pathogenesis of M. tuberculosis infections: Research focuses on the role of chemokines in disease progression in tuberculosis; pulmonary and extra-pulmonary infections. Also, the role of the Interferon-gamma signaling pathway in regulating protective responses against M. tuberculosis.
Malaria research: Research includes rapid detection of chloroquine resistance in Plasmodium falciparum using molecular methods.