I have been at the University of Cape Town (UCT) since I came to Cape Town on holiday from Zambia in 1974, and fell in love with the place. I obtained a BSc in Chemistry and Microbiology in 1976, an Hons in Virology in 1977, an MSc in Virology in 1979, and a PhD in the same discipline in 1984. I became a Lecturer in Virology in 1981, and have risen through the ranks to become a Professor in Microbiology (in January 2003). I am also a Founder Member of the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM) based in the Health Sciences Faculty. For the duration of 2011-2016 I am seconded to the Research Office and ICT Services at UCT to liaise on the creation of a Research Portal.
My undergraduate teaching speciality (when I teach) is Molecular and General Virology, then Molecular Biology Techniques specialising in PCR, with some dabbling on the side in Molecular Immunology. Postgraduate teaching involves seminars on “Viruses as Vectors / Virus Vaccines” and PCR Techniques for Honours.
My main research interests are presently in making human and animal vaccine candidates in plants and insect cells: these include vaccines for mucosal Human papillomaviruses (HPV). We also work on characterisation and molecular biology of the parrot ssDNA virus Beak and feather disease virus and the possibility of making vaccines and therapeutics for the virus disease.
I still have an interest in the diversity of southern African mastreviruses (family Geminiviridae), the molecular determinants of pathogenicity and host range in these viruses, and especially in Maize streak virus, the use of geminiviruses as vectors of foreign genes in plants, and in the engineering of viral resistance, especially in maize.