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Who is Zela?

Zela is a PhD student based at the Molecular Mycobacteriology Research Unit (University of Cape Town, South Africa), where her research focuses on understanding factors that contribute to the emergence of tuberculosis drug resistance.

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Medical Research

Zela’s interest in tuberculosis (TB) is motivated by the fact that, together with HIV/AIDS, this disease continues to threaten public health systems in South Africa and internationally. Through her own interest in, and aptitude for, the medical sciences, she aims to conduct fundamental translational research. In addition, consistent with the ethos of her host research unit, Zela recognizes the importance of infusing a strong research mandate with an awareness of the role of community engagement in tackling a microbiological problem that is exacerbated by social inequality, economic disadvantage, limits to public health capacity, and poor advocacy.

Global Incidence of TB


About one third of the world’s population is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes TB.


TB shouldn’t be a problem

In 2012, 8.6 million people fell ill with TB and a total of 1.3 million people died, but the disease is curable and preventable.


TB drug resistance

The emergence and spread of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) are a major medical and public problem, threatening the global health.