Mohlopheni Marakalala

Dr Mohlopheni Jackson Marakalala is a Faculty Member and Wellcome Trust Intermediate Fellow at AHRI, an Associate Professor at University College London’s Division of Infection and Immunity, Honorary Research Associate at the University of Cape Town (UCT), and Visiting Scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases.

Mohlopheni received his PhD in Chemical Pathology at UCT in 2008, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in innate immunity at UCT’s Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine. He joined Harvard in 2012 for a four-year postdoctoral fellowship in Immunology and Infectious Diseases. In 2016 he rejoined UCT as a Senior Lecturer until his current appointment at AHRI and UCL.

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Mohlopheni Marakalala

Marakalala Group

Dr Mohlopeni Marakalala’s  group’s core interest is in developing TB biomarkers and host-directed therapies by studying factors associated with disease progression using lung tissue and blood samples from TB patients. He is also interested in cell death modalities in the mononuclear phagocyte system and their role in TB immunopathogenesis.

The group’s other focus is on understanding strategies utilized by Mycobacterium tuberculosis to subvert the host immune system.

Meet the Team

Kerishka Rajkumar  - Marakalala Group

Kerishka Rajkumar

Laboratory Technologist

Kerishka Rajkumar was awarded her Honours from Stellenbosch University. At AHRI, her Master’s project focused on the optimisation and use of the CRISPRi to target genes that may be involved in drug resistance. Her current work at AHRI involves targeting inflammatory mediators associated with lung pathological damage and TB disease progression for HDT (host-directed therapy) development.

Denelle Moodley - Marakalala Group

Denelle Moodley

Laboratory Technologist

Denelle Moodley holds a Master’s degree in Medical Science (Medical Biochemistry) from UKZN. Her Masters project focused on the antioxidant effect of a plant antimetabolite on hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Her work at AHRI focuses on understanding mechanisms underlying neutrophil-mediated cell death in granuloma development and TB pathogenesis.

Stephanie Ncube - Marakalala Group

Stephanie Ncube

Collaborating laboratory technologist

Stephanie Ncube is a joint collaborating laboratory technologist, working between the Ndlovu laboratory at UCT and the Marakalala Group at AHRI. She holds a BSc in Biochemistry and Genetics, a B.Med.Sci (Honours) in Medical Cell Biology and has recently completed her MSc in Medicine, specialising in Medical Cell Biology. Stephanie’s current work is focussed on developing methods to validate and characterise host factors driving various cell death modalities in mononuclear phagocytes.

Selected Recent Publications

Marakalala MJ, Martinez FO, Plüddemann A, Gordon S. (2018). Macrophage Heterogeneity in the Immunophathogenesis of Tuberculosis. Front Microbiol. 23;9:1028. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.01028.

Parihar SP, Ozturk M, Marakalala MJ, Loots DT, Hurdayal R, Beukes D, Van Reenen M, Zak DE, Mbandi SK, Darboe F, Penn-Nicholson A, Hanekom WA, Leitges M, Scriba TJ, Guler R, Brombacher F. (2018). Protein kinase C-delta (PKCδ), a marker of inflammation and tuberculosis disease progression in humans, is important for optimal macrophage killing effector functions and survival in mice. Mucosal Immunol. 11(2):579-580. doi: 10.1038/mi.2017.108.

Marakalala MJ, Raju RM, Sharma K, Zhang YJ, Eugenin EA, Prideaux B, Daudelin IB, Chen P, Booty MG, Kim JH, Eum SY, Via LE, Behar SM, Barry III CE, Mann M, Dartois V, Rubin EJ. (2016). Inflammatory signaling in human Tuberculosis granulomas is spatially organized. Nature Medicine. 4. 22 (5): 531-538.

Wilson GJ, Marakalala MJ*, Hoving JC, van Laarhoven A, Drummond RA, Kerscher B, Keeton R, van de Vosse E, Ottenhoff THM, Plantinga TS, Alisjahbana B, Govender D, Besra GS, Netea MG, Reid DM, Willment JA, Jacobs M, Yamasaki S, van Crevel R, Brown GD. 2015. CLECSF8 (CLEC4D) is an essential component of anti-mycobacterial immunity . Cell Host Microbe. 2015;17(2):252-9 .

Mavrici D, Marakalala MJ, Holton JM, Prigozhin DM, Gee CL, Zhang YJ, Rubin EJ, Alber T. 2014. Mycobacterium tuberculosis FtsX extracellular domain activates the peptidoglycan hydrolase, RipC. PNAS. 2014;111(22):8037-42. .