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About UP

Prof B.A. Allsopp

(1941 - )

Basil Alwyn Allsopp is ‘n professor in molekulêre parasitologie aan die Universiteit van Pretoria. Hy het ‘n groot bydrae gelewer tot die uitbreiding van kennis oor die stamgeskiedenis en epidemiologie van Ehrlichia ruminantium en het ook nuwe molekulêre diagnostiese toetse vir hierdie organisme ontwikkel. Prof Allsopp het sy PhD in biochemie in 1967 aan die Universiteit van Londen behaal en is aangestel as ‘n navorser by die British Overseas Development Administration in Uganda van 1968 tot 1972, in Kenia van 1972 tot 1985, en by die Universiteit van Cambridge, Verenigde Kononkryk (VK), van 1985 tot 1991. In 1991 is hy aangestel as Assistant-Direkteur en hoof van die Molekulêre Biologie afdeling van die Onderstepoort Veeartsenykundige Navorsingsinstituut (OVNI) waar hy ‘n navorsingsprogram vir hartwater, ‘n dodelike bosluis oordraagbare siekte onder herkouers wat veroorsaak word deur E. ruminatium, ontwikkel het. In 1998 het hy die Landbounavorsingsraad se Presidentstoekenning vir uitnemende navorsing ontvang en is hy bevorder tot hoofspesialiswetenskaplike. In 2003 is hy aangestel as ‘n professor in die Fakulteit Veeartsenykunde – ‘n pos wat hy steeds beklee. In 1999 het hy ‘n internasionale konsortium gestig wat grootliks deur die Departement Wetenskap en Tegnologie befonds word. Die doel van hierdie konsortium was om die E. ruminantium genoom-sekwens te bepaal. Die volledig verklaarde sekwens wat in 2005 bekendgemaak is, is die grootste genoom projek van sy soort in Afrika tot op hede. Prof Allsopp se huidige belangstelling is om ‘n genoomwye ekspressie studie te onderneem in ‘n poging om die E. ruminantium gene te identifiseer wat gebruik kan word in die ontwikkeling van ‘n rekombinante entstof. Om hierdie doel te bereik, bestudeer hy die transkripsie profiele van virulente en verswakte vorms van die organisme in soogdier en bosluisselle om sodoende die gene te identifiseer wat betrokke is by die bepaling van aansteeklikheid en virulensie . Prof Allsopp is, of was, ‘n lid van die American Society for Rickettsiology, die British Society for Parasitology, die International Society for Computational Biology, die Parasitologiese Vereniging van Suid Afrika, die Royal Society of Tropical Medicines and Hygiene, die Vereniging vir Tropiese Veterinêre Medisyne en die Suid Afrikaanse Biochemie se Vereniging. In 2006 het Prof Allsopp befonding van die National Research Foundation (NRF) ontvang om ‘n navorsingsnisgebied vir molekulêre studies oor aansteeklike en parasitiese siektes in diere te stig. Hierdie is ‘n gesamentlike projek van die Departement Veterinêre Tropiese Siektes en die OVNI. Hy is die outeur of mede outeur van meer as 80 wetenskaplike artikels en het ook bygedra tot ses hoofstukke in boeke.

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Basil Alwyn Allsopp is a professor of molecular parasitology at the University of Pretoria (UP). He has contributed significantly to an improved understanding of the phylogeny and epidemiology of E. ruminantium and has developed new molecular diagnostic tests for the organism. Prof Allsopp obtained his PhD in biochemistry at the University of London in 1967 and was then employed as a researcher by the British Overseas Development Administration in Uganda from 1968 to 1972, in Kenya from 1972 to 1985, and at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom (UK) from 1985 to 1991. In 1991 he was appointed as assistant director and head of the Molecular Biology Section at the Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Institute (OVI), where he initiated a research programme on heartwater, a fatal tick-borne disease of ruminants caused by Ehrlichia ruminatium. In 1998 he received the Agricultural Research Council President’s Award for outstanding research and was promoted to chief specialist scientist. In 2003 he was appointed as a professor in the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences – a position he still retains. In 1999 he created an international consortium, largely funded by the Department of Science and Technology, to sequence the E. ruminantium genome. The full annotated sequence, announced in 2005, is the largest genome project of its kind in Africa to date. Prof Allsopp’s present interest is to conduct a genome-wide expression study to locate E. ruminantium genes suitable for use in a recombinant vaccine. To this end, he is investigating the transcription profiles of both virulent and attenuated strains of the organism in mammalian and tick cells in order to identify genes involved in determining infectivity and virulence. Prof Allsopp is, or has been, a member of the American Society for Rickettsiology, the British Society for Parasitology, the International Society for Computational Biology, the Parasitological Society of South Africa, the Royal Society of Tropical Medicines and Hygiene, the Society for Tropical Veterinary Medicine and the South African Biochemical Society. In 2006, Prof Allsopp was supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) to lead a research niche area for molecular studies of infectious and parasitic diseases of animals — a collaborative project between the Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases and the OVRI. He has authored or co-authored more than 80 scientific articles and contributed six chapters to books.