School of Life Sciences

Dr Thamsanqa Chiliza

Lecturer/Researcher

Dr Chiliza had over 7 years’ experience in the Biotechnology R&D sector before joining UKZN in 2012. He’s experienced in monoclonal antibody development using phage display and hybridoma technologies; recombinant antigen development, expression and purification; in vitro lab to industry scale production of mAbs. He is interested in host-pathogen interaction and biomarker discovery for development of rapid diagnostic test tools, vaccines and drug discovery.    

Research interests

Tuberculosis (TB) kills more people today than any other infectious disease. Success of Mycobacterium tuberculosis lies in its survival during host infection by evasion of host immune responses. Only available TB vaccine is BCG, and its efficacy varies with age and geographical distribution. Therefore, my overall goal is to develop better understanding of the host-pathogen interactions and utilize that to identify potential new vaccine candidates or diagnostic biomarkers. I am using multiple techniques involving combination of molecular biology, biochemistry, recombinant DNA methods and immunology techniques to answer these queries.

The two main research areas aimed at are:

  • Biomarker discovery: Identification of novel mycobacterial secretory proteins involved in host cell invasion and those targeted by the humoral and cellular immune responses for vaccine and diagnostics applications. We also interested in tuberculosis protein-protein interaction for identification of potential drug targets.
  • TB vaccine development: Multi-epitope TB vaccine development for protective immunity against wild-type tuberculosis clinical strains. The candidate vaccines are investigated in vitro and in vivo to study the elicited immunological response pathways to identify best candidates for further preclinical studies.

Research profiles