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Awelani Mutshembele: photo

Awelani Mutshembele

Research Capacity Development Intramural Postdoctoral Research Fellow - TB Platform at SAMRC | Pretoria , South Africa

Basic Medical Sciences, Biology, Environmental Studies, Life Sciences
Spoken languages:
Available for mentoring and open to collaboration.
Support Level:
Editing Support, Long-term mentoring and support
Support Offered:
Writing, Article planning, Book planning, Language polishing/light editing, Presentation planning, Proposal development, Responding to peer review, Language editing or proofreading support, Literature reviews, Theses and dissertation writing, Career mentoring, Data analysis


Life Sciences, Basic Medical Sciences, Biology, Environmental Studies
Research Keywords:
Genome assembly evaluation and annotation, TB drug resistance, DNA/RNA extraction from bacteria and virus, sequencing analysis
Collaboration interests:
I would like to collaborate with Researchers who focused on Communicable diseases research especially TB. Currently I am also working on detection of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA from wastewater
Awelani Mutshembele, PhD., I am an SAMRC Intra-mural Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Division of Research Capacity Development (RCD), based at SAMRC TB Platform in Pretoria. My research project focus on the establishment of Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) catalog using various virulence genes in TB resistant and susceptible sequences for identification of lineage specific SNPs in South Africa and to develop and expand a web based program for identification of M. tuberculosis lineages using genomes sequence data and/or raw Illumina reads. A set of detected SNPs within virulence genes may show the evolutionary relationship between lineages. Future studies needed to establish a South African specific M. tuberculosis SNPs catalog of virulence genes, which will complement the whole genome sequence (WGS) data workflows for rapid detection of lineage/sub-lineages and also aid in speeding the diagnosis and treatment of M. tuberculosis. The catalog will provide a critical resource for addressing some of the important questions related to drug resistance and virulence TB. This project also forms part of our collaboration on Brazil, Russia, India, China and South AFRICA Innovation Science and Technology (BRICS-IST) project “The role of region -specific SNPs in virulence genes in Mycobacterium tuberculosis drug resistance. My role as a research coordinator being responsible for management of laboratory, bioinformatics analysis contributing to the production of a list of genes and SNPs to be used in the research study. Writing and submitting a progress report to National Research Foundation (NRF) and keep abreast with the relevant aspects of this project and discuss regularly with stakeholders and travel for training internationally. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, SAMRC TB Platform joined a collaboration together with SAMRC Environmental and Health Research Unit and SAMRC Biomedical Research and Innovation Platform to be part of a research project that focus on the detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in South African wastewater: Development of a national early warning system for COVID-19. I’m a research coordinator for detection and analysing SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater in Tshwane area. This research also involves genotyping analysis of SARS-CoV-2 isolates which is the effective tool for monitoring and tracking the epidemic of pathogenic viruses in local genetic variations. Before joining SAMRC I joined Department of Microbiology at University of Pretoria as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. My research focus was on speciation and evolution of fungi, predominantly non-model Ascomycetes. This includes research on genetic variation within as well as between species. Thus, a certain component of the work done in my group also considered to be molecular taxonomy. I also, however, have an interest in basic evolutionary biology based on ribosomal RNA-genes and this extends beyond fungi. I therefore have a variety of collaborations within research groups working on a spectrum of different organisms. Much of this collaboration was in association with the tree pathology research group and the DST/NRF Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology and the emphasis of this research has therefore been on important plant and tree pathogens and was linked to agriculture and food safety

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