Mignon du Plessis

University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

I was employed by the Pneumococcal Diseases Research Unit at the South African Institute for Medical Research (SAIMR) in 1995 as a research assistant. I proceeded to complete my Masters and PhD degrees through the University of the Witwatersrand in 2001. In mid-1999, the unit initiated national laboratory-based surveillance for respiratory pathogens Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis. In 2002, the SAIMR was integrated into the newly formed National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), following the restructuring of the public sector medical laboratory services of South Africa and the creation of the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) from the SAIMR together with various governmental and provincial laboratories. Our new mandate comprised three components – diagnostic services, teaching and training, and applied research. In 2007, I was appointed to manage the molecular and research component of the unit. Our molecular research projects focus mostly on molecular epidemiology projects related to the three organisms. My activities include managing the projects from a scientific point of view, as well as preparation and managing of budgets, appointing and managing staff for the various projects and preparation of research reports, conference abstracts and manuscripts. I supervise all specialised molecular diagnostic testing including the R&D, validation and implementation of any new or improved tests. The laboratory is accredited and I oversee all aspects of quality management. I direct the unit’s molecular training activities and supervise postgraduate students. I am actively involved in the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) curriculum development for intern scientists and co-ordinate the national program for the microbiology discipline.

Biography Updated on 27 April 2011

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