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Hanif Esmail


Clinical Lecturer in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

  • Honorary Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Acute Medicine
  • Honorary Research Associate - University of Cape Town
  • James Maxwell Grant Prophit Fellow 2018/9- Royal College of Physicians


My research focuses on understanding the natural history of tuberculosis in humans, specifically the nature of latent tuberculosis infection and its progression to clinical disease and the impact of HIV-1 co-infection on this. 

The main purpose of this work is to address the issue that the currently available tests for latent infection poorly predict who will develop disease. 

Much of my research is conducted in South Africa embedded within larger clinical trials.  I am closely affiliated with the new Wellcome Center for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa at the University of Cape Town. 

Our work has challenged the conventional binary division of asymptomatic latent infection and symptomatic disease.  In a proof of concept study we have recently characterised evidence of subclinical disease in a number of asymptomatic HIV-1 infected adults, conventionally determined to have latent infection, utilising high resolution imaging (FDG-PET/CT). 

In on-going work we are using whole blood transcriptomics and targeted proteomics to identify biomarkers for subclinical disease and to understand biological processes in early disease. 


I co-ordinate the microbiology and infection component of the Laboratory Medicine module for 4th year medical students and am pathology tutor to second year students at Jesus College.

Key publications

Recent publications

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