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MCB seminar series

2020 seminars

The MCB seminar series is a wonderful resource for students and staff to discover the research of local and international researchers in molecular biology and associated fields. Recordings of their 2020 zoom presentations can be found below.

Prospects for producing molecular complexes for vaccines and antibodies in plants | Prof. Julian Ma
Institute for Infection and Immunity, St George's University of London
Professor Ma holds the Hotung Chair of Molecular Immunology. He has been Director of the Institute for Infection and Immunity at St George's since 2014. He is also the Principal Investigator for Pharma-Factory, an €8.3M EU Horizon 2020 project to advance the commercial pipeline of products from molecular pharming.
Julian Ma’s research focuses on the development and production of recombinant protein medicines, through plant biotechnology. By using plants such as tobacco, as production hosts for pharmaceutical proteins, his research group works on the treatment and prevention of diseases that are major concerns in developing countries – including HIV, tuberculosis, rabies, dengue and chikungunya.

Exploring gene regulatory dynamics during development | Dr Dorit Hockman
Division of Cellular, Nutritional and Physiological Sciences, University of Cape Town
Dr Hockman received her undergraduate and MSc from UCT and her PhD from University of Cambridge. In 2013, she joined Trinity College (University of Oxford) as a Junior Research Fellow and began work on her current research into the evolution of the neural crest gene regulatory network. From 2016, she worked as a Leverhulme Trust funded post-doctoral researcher in the Sauka-Spengler lab at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine. During this period, Dorit also held the Sydney Brenner Post-Doctoral Fellowship, which allowed her to establish a new collaboration between the University of Cape Town, the University of Oxford and the California Institute of Technology. Dr Dorit Hockman was appointed as a lecturer in the Division of Cell Biology in 2018 and was awarded the Royal Society/African Academy of Sciences FLAIR fellowship in 2019.
Developing High-Throughput CRISPRi-based Functional Genomic Techniques for Mycobacteria | Timothy de Wet 
Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town
Mr de Wet is a MBChB/PhD candidate at the Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town

Eh!Woza | Dr Anastasia Koch
Molecular Mycobacteriology Research Unit, Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town
Dr Koch is the cofounder of Eh!Woza, a public engagement project that aims engage young people from areas that are heavily affected by TB with biomedical research and then provide the tools and platforms for young people to produce documentaries, skits, poetry and music videos around the social and personal impact of the disease. From Medical & Health Humanties Africa

Coronaviruses: the good, the bad and the ugly | Prof.  George Lomonossoff
John Innes Centre, UK
Prof. Lomonossoff is a virologist who uses molecular biology to understand the assembly and properties of viruses. He uses a synthetic biology approach to create synthetic virus-like particles. He has exploited a highly efficient transient expression system to produce pharmacologically active proteins within plants. Research on protein expression in plants, including secondary metabolite biosynthesis, resulted in Frank Sainsbury (then a PhD student at the John Innes Centre) and George being named BBSRC Overall Innovators of the Year in 2012. From

Computational and wet-lab approaches to inferring the evolution of viral disease symptoms over ~100 year time-frames| Assoc. Prof. Darren Martin
CBIO,  Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town
The Computational Biology (CBIO) Group is the centre of Bioinformatics activities at the University. It aims to perform world-class bioinformatics research and provide high-quality bioinformatics education, training, and services. The CBIO Division is part of the Department of Integrative Biomedical Sciences and is located within the IDM. Dr Martin’s main research interests lie in studying the role that genetic recombination plays during virus evolution. From

A rapid assay for SARS-CoV-2 mRNA detection which is non-mAb and non-PCR | Prof. Johannes Buyel
RWTH Aachen University, Germany
Prof. Buyel is Head of Department of Integrated Production Platforms, supervising process development and scale-up, supervising projects focussed on the expression of challenging proteins (e.g. containing intrinsically disordered regions), the overall bioprocess integration (e.g. using side-stream biomass) and the modeling of manufacturing processes as well as their digitalization. From 


For any seminar-related queries, please contact Dr Felix Dube.