Professor Collet Dandara

Pharmacogenomics, Drug Metabolism and Cancer Research Group

Professor Collet Dandara PhD (University of Zimbabwe) ASSAf and AAS Fellow

Professor of Human Genetics, Division of Human Genetics, Department of Pathology Chair, Faculty of Health Sciences Transformation and Equity Committee; representative, University Transformation Advisory Committee (UTAC); Member, Research Ethics Committee, Full Member of Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM), Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town.

The elusive nature of a cure for HIV has meant that we have to evaluate the effectiveness of the available drugs especially with respect to adverse drug reactions (ADRs). Pharmacogenetics knowledge allows us to identify individuals who are likely to present with side effects when given certain drugs, thus, should be excluded or given adjusted dosages. We have extensively characterised the pharmacogenomics of efavirenz and nevirapine, the main drugs used as part of the highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). In addition, the quadruple burden of disease in southern African populations inadvertently results in the need for combination therapy. In terms of genetic susceptibility, African populations are the most genetically diverse and are likely to provide clues to genetic variants that make certain individuals more susceptible to disease/infection than others. Thus, the research group also looks at genomics and its contribution to the observed differential susceptibility to disease.

KEY EXPERTISE: Pharmacogenetics, HIV/AIDS, drug metabolism, cytochrome P450, genetic susceptibility, human genetic variation

Selected recent publications:

Thomford, N.E., Mkhize, B., Dzobo, K., Mpye, K., Rowe, A., Parker, M.I., Wonkam, A., Skelton, M., September, A.V., Dandara, C. African lettuce (Launaea taraxacifolia) displays possible anticancer effects and herb-drug interaction potential by CYP1A2, CYP2C9, and CYP2C19 inhibition. OMICS A Journal of Integrative Biology (2016) 20(9):528-537

Thomford, N.E., Dzobo, K., Chopera, D., Wonkam, A., Maroyi, A., Blackhurst, D., Dandara, C. In vitro reversible and time-dependent CYP450 inhibition profiles of medicinal herbal plant extracts Newbouldia laevis and Cassia abbreviata: implications for herb-drug interactions. Molecules (2016) 21(7):891

Mhandire, K., Duri, K., Mhandire, D., Musarurwa, C., Stray-Pedersen, B., Dandara, C. Evaluating the contribution of APOBEC3G haplotypes on influencing HIV infection in a Zimbabwean paediatric population. South African Medical Journal (2016) 106(6):S119-S123

Mpeta, B., Kampira, E., Castel, S., Mpye, K.L., Soko, N.D., Wiesner, L., Smith, P., Skelton, M., Lacerda, M., Dandara, C. Differences in genetic variants in lopinavir disposition among HIV-infected Bantu Africans. Pharmacogenomics (2016) 17(7):679-690

Dandara, C., Robertson, B., Dzobo, K., Moodley, L., Parker, M.I. Patient and tumour characteristics as prognostic markers for oesophageal cancer: a retrospective analysis of a cohort of patients at Groote Schuur Hospital. European Journal of Cardio-thoracic Surgery (2016) 49(2) ezv135 629-634

Thomford, N.E., Awortwe, C., Dzobo, K., Adu, F., Chopera, D., Wonkam, A., Skelton, M., Blackhurst, D., Dandara, C. Inhibition of CYP2B6 by medicinal plant extracts: implication for use of efavirenz and nevirapine based highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) in resource-limited settings. Molecules (2016)21(2):211 

Swart, M., Evans, J., Skelton, M., Castel, S., Wiesner, L., Smith, P.J., Dandara, C. An expanded analysis of pharmacogenetics determinants of Efavirenz response that includes 3'-UTR single nucleotide polymorphisms among black South African HIV/AIDS patients. Frontiers in Genetics (2016)6 Jan:356

Chattopadhyay, K., Williamson, A.-L., Hazra, A., Dandara, C. The combined risks of reduced or increased function variants in cell death pathway genes differentially influence cervical cancer risk and herpes simplex virus type 2 infection among black Africans and the Mixed Ancestry population of South Africa. BMC Cancer (2015)15(1):680

Thomford, N.E., Dzobo, K., Chopera, D., Wonkam, A., Skelton, M., Blackhurst, D., Chirikure, S., Dandara, C. Pharmacogenomics implications of using herbal medicinal plants on African populations in health transition. Pharmaceuticals (2015)8(3):637-663

Swart, M., Dandara, C. Genetic variation in the 3′-UTR of CYP1A2, CYP2B6, CYP2D6, CYP3A4, NR1I2, and UGT2B7: Potential effects on regulation by microRNA and pharmacogenomics relevance. Frontiers in Genetics (2014) 5 JUN, Article 167


Contact details:

Division of Human Genetics
Department of Pathology
Room 3.15, Wernher & Beit North
Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine
Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Cape Town
Observatory 7925
South Africa

Tel:  +27 21 406 6506

Alternate site:

Group members:

Keleabetswe Mpye, Postdoctoral fellow

Nyarai Soko, PhD Student

Donald Tanyanyiwa, PhD Student

Nicholas Thomford, PhD Student

Zinhle Cindi, PhD Student

Jonathan Evans, PhD Student

Kamogelo Lebeko, PhD Student

Khuthala Mnika, PhD Student

Neo Mokhesi, PhD Student


Dr Elizabeth Kampira, College of Medicine, University of Malawi. HIV/AIDS pharmacogenomics & human genetic variation; mitochondrial genetic diversity.

Professor Collen Masimirembwa, African Institute of Biomedical Science and Technology, Harare, Zimbabwe. African genetic variation and pharmacokinetics.

Dr Kerina Duri, Department of Immunology, University of Zimbabwe. Immunogenetics.

Professor Jonhstone Kumwenda, Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Malawi. HIV/AIDS.

Professor Joanna Elson, Newcastle University, UK. Mitochondrial genetic diversity.

Associate Professor Ian Ross, UCT. Thyroid cancer.

Associate Professor Ambroise Wonkam, UCT. Pharmacogenomics and hearing loss.

Professor M. Iqbal Parker, ICGEB & UCT. Cancer.

Dr Shaheen Mowla, UCT. Drug metabolism and gene regulation.

Dr Kevin Dzobo, UCT. Cancer and drug metabolism.