New appointment - Director of the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM)

01 Dec 2023
Prof Digby Warner
01 Dec 2023

Dear Staff and Student Colleagues 

I am thrilled to announce that Professor Digby Warner, a recognised higher education leader and distinguished scholar, has been appointed as the fourth director of the IDM, effective 1 January 2024. Professor Warner succeeds Professor Valerie Mizrahi, who will retire at the end of December 2023 after 13 years at the helm of the IDM. My deepest gratitude goes out to Professor Mizrahi for her profound contribution to UCT.  

Born and raised in Johannesburg, Professor Warner obtained a BCom; a BSc in chemistry and medical biochemistry; an Honours in medical biochemistry (with distinction); and a PhD in molecular biology and mycobacteriology, all from the University of the Witwatersrand. He moved to the University of Cape Town in 2011 to work as a senior research officer in the IDM. In 2019, he became a professor in the Division of Medical Microbiology, Department of Pathology. Since 2023, he has served as chair of UCT’s Institutional Biosafety Committee.  

Professor Warner’s approach to science is innovative and collaborative. His research spans the fields of mycobacterial physiology and metabolism, with a special focus on the molecular mechanisms that underlie the evolution and propagation of drug resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and the factors enabling tuberculosis transmission. His work, which operates at the interface of clinical and fundamental mycobacteriology, has motivated him to develop advanced microscopy and imaging tools for clinical and laboratory samples.  

Professor Warner is devoted to developing young researchers. He has supervised numerous postdoctoral researchers, PhD, Master’s and Honours students to completion. He is a member of the postgraduate committee in the Department of Pathology; he serves on the advisory committee of the Postgraduate Academic Training Programme in the Departments of Pathology, Human Biology and Integrative Biomedical Sciences; and he has a long track-record of teaching and course convening in the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Faculty of Science. 
Beyond UCT, Professor Warner is engaged in service to the community. He is the co-founding director of Eh!woza, a registered non-profit organisation with a focus on tuberculosis and its social impact in our high-burden, under-resourced environment. He has also served as co-organiser and local host of Imaging Africa, a pan-continental microscopy workshop which provided the impetus for the creation of the Africa Microscopy Initiative, a pioneering development which aims to expand utilisation of imaging in bioscience research across the continent. 

Congratulations, Professor Warner. I look forward to working with you in great anticipation that, under your leadership, this internationally acclaimed Institute will continue to spearhead the discovery of scientific solutions to diseases impacting our continent.  
Kaise ke gangans
Associate Professor Lionel Green-Thompson
Dean: Faculty of Health Sciences