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MRC/NHLS/UCT Molecular Mycobacteriology Research Unit (MMRU)

The MRC/NHLS/UCT Molecular Mycobacteriology Research Unit (MMRU) is based in the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM) and forms the UCT node of the DST/NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical TB Research (CBTBR).

Research in the MMRU is focused on aspects of mycobacterial physiology and metabolism that are of relevance to drug discovery and drug resistance, and the Unit is best known for its work on mechanisms of DNA metabolism, resuscitation and culturability, respiration and cofactor biosynthesis in mycobacteria.

To this end, the MMRU has developed specific expertise in mycobacterial molecular genetics and applied these skills in the construction of approximately 150 single and multiple mutant strains of M. tuberculosis H37Rv and several hundred targeted mutants of M. smegmatis. As a Unit that receives funding through two major grants from the South African government, research capacity development forms a key focus of the laboratory's work.

The Unit, which currently comprises senior scientists, post-doctoral fellows, PhD and MSc students, also participates in several major TB drug discovery consortia funded by grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation under the TB Drug Accelerator program (IMTB and HIT-TB), and the Technology Innovation Agency of South Africa (SATRII).

Director: Prof Valerie Mizrahi