The most important medical and pathology related works are highlighted below. For a full list of my publications and research activities please see publications.
I am also involved in community outreach and education, for these activities please see the public engagement.
Pyruvate kinase deficiency and malaria
The prevalence of pyruvate kinase deficiency (PKD) is unexpectedly high in some communities. The hypothesis that PKD may be associated with resistance to malaria (in the same way that sickle cell disease or thalassaemias are protective) was considered. I found that PKD does indeed protect against malaria parasite invasion. Myself, and another group, reported this discovery independently in 2008. See the reports in Haematologica and the New England Journal of Medicine. For a mini-review of blood disorders and malaria resistance see this.
Discovery of PKD in a South Africa kindred
Evolutionary patterning and drug resistance
Infectious organisms almost always develop some kind of resistance against antibiotics or other chemotherapeutic agents. Limiting this development can be done in several ways. I produced a method called “Evolutionary Patterning”, using the evolutionary rates to identify the most suitable drug target sites that will minimize the evolution of resistance.
Bioinformatic databases and algorithms
Researchers in my lab has developed an evolutionary rates database (EvoDB: a database of evolutionary rate profiles, associated protein domains, and phylogenetic trees for PFAM-A by Ndhlovu et al.) and bioinformatics algorithms for identifying protein functions based on their evolutionary rate signatures (Robust sequence alignment using evolutionary rates coupled with an amino acid substitution matrix by Ndhlovu et al.).