Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine

The Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine was established in 2004 as a cross-faculty postgraduate research institute based within the University of Cape Town (UCT). It is physically and administratively located within the Faculty of Health Sciences.

Our Vision is to be an international centre of excellence where world-class scientists work together to tackle diseases of major importance in Africa.

Our Mission is:

  • To conduct basic, clinical and public health research that is leading-edge and relevant to the needs of African people
  • To develop indigenous scientific capacity in the biomedical sciences
  • To influence health policy and practise by translating scientific discoveries and applying them in our communities
  • To build partnerships with other research centres in South Africa and elsewhere

Our Values are:

  • Excellence
  • Collaboration
  • Transformation

Our Membership is comprised of 33 Full and 12 Associate Members with 16 IDM Fellows, 13 Affiliate Members from departments across UCT, and 11 Adjunct Members from other institutions. Working within our Members' laboratories and clinical research sites are approximately 467 scientific, technical and administrative staff, 60 postdoctoral fellows and 266 postgraduate students.

Our research efforts are focused on:

  • Tuberculosis:
    • Diagnosis, pathogenesis & management of TB, TB-IRIS & TBM
    • Vaccine development
    • Biomarker discovery 
    • Drug discovery & drug resistance 
    • Aerobiology
    • Prevention, treatment & management of HIV & HIV-associated infections
    • Vaccine development
    • Viral evolution
  • COVID-19:
    • T- and B-cell immunology
    • Vaccine & diagnostics development
    • Viral evolution
    • Genomic surveillance
  • Other infectious diseases:
    • STIs, AMR, viral, parasitic, fungal & helminthic infections
    • Pathogenesis (including role of the microbiome)
    • Vaccine design & drug discovery
  • Non-communicable diseases:
    • Cervical & other prevalent cancers
    • Genomic & precision medicine
    • Sickle cell disease, eye, hearing, cardiovascular & psychiatric disorders

Our research is supported by the these cross-cutting platforms:

  • Biosafety level 3 facility
  • Flow cytometry & cell sorting
  • Genomics, bioinformatics & data science
  • Mass spectrometry & bioimaging

The IDM conducts research at the laboratory-clinic-community interface by engaging a wide range of scientific and clinical disciplines. Collaborative research is an important focus for the IDM, with collaborators being based at 44 South African institutions, 68 African institutions in 22 African countries, and 356 institutions in 35 countries internationally. The IDM also has links to other institutions through 39 research consortia and 22 industrial partners.