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Research Fellows Directory

Grant Theron

Dr Grant Theron

Research Fellow

Organisation

University College London

Research summary

Dr Theron’s research is on the diagnosis and transmission of TB. Both under-diagnosis and person-to-person transmission (including for drug-resistant TB) are likely the two biggest drivers of the TB epidemic (TB is, in the applicant’s home country of South Africa, the single biggest cause of death). Dr Theron conducts both applied and basic research on TB diagnostics where, for example, the diagnostic accuracy and utility of new tools is assessed or, as funded by this fellowship, new biomarkers for discriminating active cases from symptomatic patients are identified. His work on transmission involves characterising the infectiousness of patients by quantifying their respirable aerosol containing culturable Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. He is also analysing the blood from patients to see if signatures associated with active TB disease are useful for identifying highly infectious patients. The potential impact is that it provides new diagnostic tools for potential deployment in TB burden countries (several of Dr Theron’s publications have been cited in international policy documents). Such tools can also be used to identify highly infectious patients (which can then be triaged or targeted for interventions to reduce their infectiousness). From a societal perspective, improving diagnosis and thus alleviating the burden of TB will reduce the high rates of mortality, scale, and catastrophic economic impact associated with the disease.

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded

Using transcriptional profiling to identify highly infectious patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis and determine when they become non-infectious

Scheme: Newton Advanced Fellowship

Dates: Oct 2015 - Sep 2018

Value: £111,000

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