Dr Zenda Woodman of the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine at UCT is investigating the role of the envelope (surface) protein of HIV-1 in determining the “fitness” of different strains for transmission and disease progression. The work could result in new HIV inhibitor drugs and different approaches to vaccine development. The head of her laboratory and sponsor is Prof Carolyn Williamson.
Dr Shaheen Mowla of the Department of Human Biology at UCT is investigating the role of a specific gene-regulating factor called the “T-box transcription factor Tbx3” in embryonic development and various cancers, including identifying its target genes and signalling pathways. The protein is already known to play a very important role in the development of the limbs, heart and mammary glands in many species.