Democratizing Imaging for Infectious Disease Research in Africa
Award Imaging Scientist
Funding Cycle Cycle 2
Caron Jacobs, PhD
University of Cape Town (Confocal and Light Microscope Imaging Facility)
Caron Jacobs is a South African cell biologist interested in human disease biology and the role of microscopy to drive discovery in this area. She completed her PhD at University College London, where she used super-resolution microscopy to study how HIV manipulates the organization of receptor proteins at the cell surface. Since moving to the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine at University of Cape Town (UCT) as a postdoctoral researcher, Caron has focused on establishing imaging assays to study infectious diseases and cancer, while also working with UCT’s Confocal and Light Microscope Imaging Facility to train scientists in imaging methods and assist with assay development.
Microscopy drives discovery and translational research in many aspects of human biology and disease research, yet despite the disproportionate disease burden across Africa, access to high-end microscopy facilities and dedicated local expertise is severely limited. Through this program, Dr. Jacobs will establish a set of context-driven microscopy training and internship programs that serve the needs of local and international researchers who are studying diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV, and build a network of regional and pan-African imaging researchers. She will also establish an infectious disease-focused branch of the Confocal and Light Microscope Imaging Facility, building collaborations with researchers throughout the continent, and contributing imaging assay design and computational analysis to critical biomedical research.