Professor William Horsnell

Parasite Immune Regulation Laboratory

Professor William (Bill) Horsnell BSc(Hons) PhD (London)

Division of Immunology, Department of Pathology; Member of the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM), Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town (UCT).

William (Bill) Horsnell's team mainly studies host immunity to helminths, these infections are very common and exert a strong influence on our immune system, causing both transient and long lasting immune changes. These changes to our immune system can have important consequences to how we can control both the helminth and unrelated diseases.

The lab studies how host adapted and zoonotic helminth infections cause pathology and change host susceptibility to a number of other diseases. These include viral infections (including HPV, HSV, muHV and RSV), bacterial infections (including salmonella, streptococcus, tuberculosis) and non-infectious diseases, especially allergy. They also study the effects of helminth infection on both parasite colonised anatomical sites (e.g. the intestine and lung) as well as systemic effects at body sites the parasite does not colonise. The team look's at how both current, past and maternal infections influence these responses. Their work consists of both basic animal models of disease as well as human studies. 

Key areas of expertise: Type 2 immunity, maternal immunity, co-infection immunity

Selected publications:

See publications and profile on Research Gate.

Contact details:

Room 3.20, Falmouth Building
Division of Immunology
Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine &
Division of Immunology, Department of Pathology
Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town
Observatory 7925
South Africa

Tel:  +27 21 4066220
Cell: +27 82 9769753
Fax:  +27 21 4066029

Alternate site


Group Members:

Member Position
Matthew Darby Post-doctoral fellow
Alisha Chetty Post-doctoral fellow
Milicent Omondi PhD Student
Malika Gabier PhD Student
Tatenda Murangi PhD Student
Claire Butters PhD Student
Jamie Pillaye PhD Student (University of Birmingham) Jonathon Pollock


The group collaborates widely with fellow UCT researchers and with other institutions.

Key external collaborations at present include:
A Cunningham, T Mitchell and K Toellner and M O'Shea, University of Birmingham. United Kingdom (UK)
L Layland and M Ritter, University of Bonn, Germany
M Selkirk, Imperial College, UK
B Dewals, University of Liege, Belgium
Gnatoulma Katawa, University of Lome, Togo
M Oudhoff, University of Trondheim, Norway
V Quesniaux and B Ryffel, CNRS-Orleans, France
K Smith, University of Cardiff, UK
C Svanes and Dr R Bertelsen, University of Bergen, Norway.