Ticks and Tick-Borne Disease Programme

Christine Maritz-Olivier's research on ticks and tick-borne diseases comprises four pillars. The first is the development of anti-tick vaccines using a combined functional genomics and reverse vaccinology approach. The second focuses on understanding the genetic diversity of ticks throughout South Africa, their current acaricide resistance status and tick-borne pathogen profiles. The third research pillar aim to enhance our understanding of pathogen-host interactions of the tick-borne pathogens Babesia divergens (causative agent of redwater) and Anaplasma marginale (causative agent of gall sickness) via drug screening, transcriptome analyses and interactome studies. The fourth research pillar is entails the development of vector-control strategies for haematophagous vectors such as mosquitoes and biting midges using in vivo gene silencing strategies and artificial feeding systems.