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Genetic Susceptibility

The use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for the treatment of HIV/AIDS has converted a once life-threatening disease to a chronic condition.  This has resulted in individuals infected with HIV surviving for much longer. However, this has brought with it problems because not much is known on the long term effects of exposure to both HI virus and HAART on affected persons with respect to many aspects especially neurocognitive development in children born to HIV positive mothers. In addition, HIV/AIDS is now being treated concurrently with other common illness such as tuberculosis and malaria which raises problems with drug-drug interactions. The group is interested in investigating the dynamics at play in HIV/AIDS co-infected individuals with respect to effects on other viruses such as HBV, HCV and HPV; investigating effects of exposure to HIV on the neurocognitive development in children born to HIV infected mothers and dynamics in the interplay between hepatitis B virus (HBV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections and role of host genetics.

Type 2 diabetes mellitus also displays interindividual variability in disease susceptibility, disease progression and response to treatment. The group is involved in identifying genes and variants associated with differential susceptibility to type 2 diabetes mellitus as well as differential response to treatment using anti-diabetic drugs in African populations.

There is great variability in drug response and survival post-therapy in cancer patients. This is largely attributed to differential expression of genes encoding drug metabolising enzymes. This study aims to investigate the effects of chemotherapeutic drugs in cancer cells in terms of differential gene expression. Understanding the effects of these chemicals on human cancer cells may provide us with insight on what is happening in patients with different responses to chemotherapy.