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Head of Division:  Professor Gary Maartens

Divisional Profile

The major research thrusts of the division are focused on drugs for 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. The analytical laboratory has recently been awarded funding from NIH as an International Pharmacology Specialty Laboratory. Prof Helen McIlleron heads our clinical pharmacokinetic group, which conducts a series of pharmacokinetic studies evaluating antitubercular drugs, antiretroviral drugs, and the interaction between them in adults and children with funding from the Wellcome Trust, NIH, and MRC. Our collaboration on population pharmacokinetics with Uppsala University is ongoing and we have a pharmacometric laboratory to perform these complex analyses.


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