Research Units


Mecru Clinical Research Unit (MeCRU) is a unit which was established at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University from October 2005. The facility was established with the support of MRC through the South African AIDS Vaccine Initiative (SAAVI) and was officially opened by Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, on the 3rd of June 2010. The Unit is administratively under the Department of Microbiological Pathology. It is managed by the leadership of a site principal investigator, supported by sub investigators, manager together with a board.

An important element of the administration of the work of the Unit is the Community advisory groups (CAG) established to maintain a strong link between the Unit and the community. This gives credence to the belief that all research needs to be of benefit to the communities in which it is conducted.

Read about current achievements




Electron Microscope Unit

As an Academic Support Unit, the Electron Microscope Unit provides a centralised research and high-resolution diagnostic support facility to all staff and postgraduate students of the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, as well as external users.  A new Variable Pressure Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope with a cryo-attachment and X-Ray microanalysis is available for high-resolution imaging of research samples.   Diagnostic and research support related to tissue samples are facilitated with our Transmission Electron Microscope.  State-of-the-art equipment is available to support new innovative techniques for electron microscopical preparation and digital imaging.  Further to this, a high-end research stereomicroscope and fluorescence microscope is also available for specific investigations.  Please contact the Electron Microscope Unit directly at (012) 521-4334 to discuss your microscopy needs, as a vast range of samples can be viewed at high magnification to meet your research requirements.



MRC Diarrhoeal Pathogens Unit

The MRC Diarrhoeal Pathogens Research Unit (DPRU) was established at the former MEDUNSA in April 1996, and was the first MRC unit to be founded at a previously disadvantaged institution. The DPRU was founded on the principle that it will address a national and continental disease that was under-researched in Africa. Diarrhoeal diseases remain a leading cause of mortality among infants and young children in Africa. It is estimated that diarrhoeal disease is the primary cause of death in children younger than 5 years, leading to about 160 – 200 deaths per day in South Africa.

Rota unit: The lady in the photo is loading a gel to allow detection of PCR

PhutiCurrent Priority Research Programmes:

WHO Rotavirus Regional Reference Laboratory core functions

Rotavirus epidemiology and genomics in Africa

Microbiome and metagenomics of the gut

Epidemiology and surveillance studies of diarrhoeal pathogens


SAVICThe South African Vaccination and Immunisation Centre (SAVIC) were established in 2003, as a network of partners in the field of vaccination and immunisation. SAVIC is a Public Private Academic alliance between the National Department of Health (NDoH), the vaccine industry, academic institutions and other stakeholders, with its activities undertaken in close collaboration with the NDoH, Network for Education and Support in Immunisation (NESI, based at the University of Antwerp), the World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners.


The strategic operational areas of SAVIC focus on three issues:

Education and Training

SAVIC, in collaboration with NDoH, the National Advisory Group on Immunisation (NAGI) and partners from the vaccine industry initiated the development of an online Higher Certificate (HCert) Vaccinology Programme geared towards the training of in-service HCWs who work in EPI-SA and private sector clinics that offer childhood vaccination services.

Operational Research

SAVIC research is based around three key areas: behavioral and social issues; epidemiology of VPDs; and health systems management and policy.

Technical Support and Advocacy

The main objective is to allow rapid dissemination of up-to-date information on vaccines and immunisation at global, regional and national level.