The division Molecular Biology and Human Genetics is a research unit focused on two main fields namely tuberculosis and inherited genetic disorders. These two apparently different fields are united through the study of fundamental biology of nucleic acids and genetic material of both human and organism. This molecular approach to research is enhanced through the use of modern laboratory techniques and collaboration with national and international leaders in the field.
The discipline is supported and funded by, amongst others, the MRC, DST and NRF through two centers. The DST/NRF Centre for Excellence in Biomedical TB Research (CBTBR) is one of only seven similar centers for top research opportunities in South Africa created over the last two years. The MRC Centre for Molecular and Cellular Biology (CMCB) is a well established centre that has enjoyed support for more than ten years. The discipline comprises about 75 staff and postgraduate students that publish numerous manuscripts in peer-reviewed international journals every year.
In July 2009, Prof. Paul van Helden was featured in an article on Thompson Reuters' Sciencewatch, citing him as the 4th highest ranked scientist in the World in the field of tuberculosis.