Research interests

I am a clinical microbiologist with a particular interest in tuberculosis and in developing and testing point of care diagnostics suitable for the developing world. My joint position with the University of Cape Town and the National Health Laboratory Service of South Africa affords me the opportunity to coordinate the activities of a research group involved in a range of clinical and laboratory based studies with a clinical and laboratory team involved directly in patient diagnosis and care. This interface between research and diagnostic laboratories is a major strength of the Division and provides an excellent platform for clinical laboratory research relevant to the developing world.



Boehme CC, Nabeta P, Hilleman D, Nicol MP, Shenai S, Krapp F, Allen J, Tahirli R, Blakemore R, Rustomjee R, Milovic A, Jones M, O'Brien SM, Persing DH, Ruesch-Gerdes S, Gotuzzo E, Rodrigues C, Alland D, Perkins MD. Rapid Molecular Detection of Tuberculosis and Rifampin Resistance. NEJM, In press

Nicol MP, Zar, HJ. New specimens and laboratory diagnostics for childhood pulmonary TB: progress and prospects. Paediatric Respiratory Reviews, In press.

Chatterjee A, D'Souza D, ViraT, Bamne A, Ambe GT, Nicol MP, Wilkinson RJ, Mistry N. Strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from Western Maharashtra, India exhibit a high degree of diversity and strain-specific associations with drug resistance, cavitary disease and treatment failure. J Clin Microbiol, In press.

Mann G, Squire SB, Bissell K, Eliseev P, Du Toit E, Hesseling A, Nicol M, Detjen A, Kritski A, Beyers N. Beyond accuracy: creating a comprehensive evidence base for TB diagnostic tools. International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 2010 In press

Nicol MP. New developments in the laboratory diagnosis of tuberculosis. Continuing Medical Education. 2010 June

Connell TG, Davies MA, Johannisen C, Wood K, Pienaar S, Wilkinson KA, Wilkinson RJ, Zar HJ, Beatty D, Nicol MP, Curtis N, Eley B. Reversion and conversion of M. tuberculosis IFN-γ ELISpot results during anti-tuberculous treatment in HIV-infected children.
BMC Infect. Dis. 2010, 10:138.

Zar HJ, Connell T, Nicol MP. Diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis in children: new advances. Expert Rev. Anti Infect. Ther. 2010 8(3), 277-288

Nicol MP, Grobler LA. MVA-85A, a novel candidate booster vaccine for the prevention of tuberculosis in children and adults. Current Opinion in Molecular Therapeutics. Curr Opin Mol Ther. 2010 Feb;12(1):124-34.

D'Souza DTB, Mistry NF, Vira TS, Dholakia Y, Hoffner S, Pasvol G, Nicol M, Wilkinson RJ. High levels of Multidrug Resistant Tuberculosis in new and treatment-failure patients from the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme in an Urban metropolis (Mumbai) in Western India. BMC Public Health. 2009 Jun 29;9:211

Davies MA, Connell T, Johannisen C, Wood K, Pienaar S, Wilkinson KA, Wilkinson RJ, Zar HJ, Eley B, Beatty D, Curtis N and Nicol MP. Detection of tuberculosis in HIV-infected children using an enzyme-linked immunospot assay. AIDS. 2009 May 15;23(8):961-9.

Evans J, Stead M, Nicol, MP, Segal H. Rapid Genotypic Assays to Identify Drug-Resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis in South Africa. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2009 Jan;63(1):11-6.

Nicol MP, Davies MA, Wood K, Hatherill M, Workman L, Hawkridge A, Eley B, Wilkinson K, Wilkinson RJ, Hanekom WA, Beatty D, Hussey D. A comparison of T-SPOT.TB and tuberculin skin test for the evaluation of young children at high risk for tuberculosis in a community setting. Pediatrics. 2009 Jan;123(1):38-43.

Th1 and FoxP3 positive T cells and the HIV-tuberculosis immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome. Meintjes G, Wilkinson KA, Rangaka M, Skolimowska K, van Veen K, Abrahams M, Seldon R, Pepper D, Rebe K, Mouton P, van Cutsem G, Nicol MP, Maartens G, Wilkinson RJ. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2008 Nov 15;178(10):1083-9.

Cowley C, Govender D, February B, Wolfe M, Steyn L, Evans J, Wilkinson RJ, Nicol MP. Recent and Rapid Emergence of a Virulent Lineage ofMycobacterium tuberculosis in Cape Town, South Africa. Clin Infect Dis. 2008 Nov 15;47(10):1252-9.

Nicol MP, Wilkinson RJ. The clinical implications of strain diversity in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2008 Oct;102(10):955-65.

Nicol MP, Kampmann B, Lawrence P, Wood K, Pienaar S, Pienaar D, Eley B, Levin M, Beatty D, Anderson STB. Enhanced Anti-Mycobacterial Immunity in Children with Erythema Nodosum and a Positive Tuberculin Skin Test. J Invest Derm 2007 Sep;127(9):2152-7

Nicol MP, Wilkinson RJ. Evidence guiding the treatment of children with mycobacterial diseases. Clin Infect Dis 2007 Apr 15;44(8):1065-6

Newton SM, Smith RJ, Wilkinson KA, Nicol MP, Garton NJ, Staples KJ, Stewart GR, Wain JR, Martineau AR, Fandrich S, Smallie T, Foxwell B, Al-Obaidi A, Shafi J, Rajakumar K, Kampmann B, Andrew PW, Ziegler-Heitbrock L, Barer MR, Wilkinson RJ. A deletion defining a common Asian lineage of Mycobacterium tuberculosis associates with immune subversion. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2006 Oct 17;103(42):15594-8

Kampmann B, Tena G, Nicol MP, Levin M , Eley B. Reconstitution of anti-mycobacterial immune responses in HIV-infected children receiving HAART. AIDS 2006 Apr24, 20(7):1011-1018.

Gagneux S, Deriemer K, Van T, Kato-Maeda M, de Jong BC, Narayanan S, Nicol M, Niemann S, Kremer K, Gutierrez MC, Hilty M, Hopewell PC. Variable host-pathogen compatibility in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006; 103 (8):2869-2873

Anderson ST, Williams AJ, Brown JR, Newton SM, Simsova M, Nicol MP, Sebo P, Levin M, Wilkinson RJ, Wilkinson KA. Transmission ofMycobacterium Tuberculosis Undetected by Tuberculin Skin Testing. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2006 May 1; 173(9):1038-1042

Nicol MP, Sola C, February B, Rastogi N, Steyn L, Wilkinson RJ. Distribution of strain families of Mycobacterium tuberculosis causing pulmonary and extra-pulmonary disease in hospitalized children in Cape Town, South Africa. J Clin Microbiol. 2005 Nov;43(11):5779-81

Kampmann B, Hemingway C, Stephens A, Davidson R, Goodsall A, Anderson S, Nicol MP, Schölvinck E, Relman D, Waddell S, Langford P, Sheehan B, Semple S, Wilkinson KA, Wilkinson RJ, Ress S, Hibberd M, Levin M. Acquired predisposition to mycobacterial disease due to auto-antibodies to IFNγ. J Clin Invest. 2005 Aug

Nicol MP, Pienaar D, Wood K, Eley B, Wilkinson RJ, Henderson H, Smith L, Samodien S, Beatty D. Enzyme-linked immunospot assay responses to early secretory antigenic target 6, culture filtrate protein 10, and purified protein derivative among children with tuberculosis: implications for diagnosis and monitoring of therapy. Clin Infect Dis. 2005 May 1;40(9):1301-8

Nicol MP, Sola C, February B, Rastogi N, Steyn L, Wilkinson RJ. Distribution of strain families of Mycobacterium tuberculosis causing pulmonary and extrapulmonary disease in hospitalized children in Cape Town, South Africa. J Clin Microbiol. 2005 Nov;43(11):5779-81.

Huebner RE, Nicol M, Mothupi R, Kayhty H, Mbelle N, Khomo E, Klugman KP. Dose response of CRM197 and tetanus toxoid-conjugatedHaemophilus influenzae type b vaccines. Vaccine. 2004 Dec 21;23(6):802-6

Tena GN, Young DB, Eley B, Henderson H, Nicol MP, Levin M, Kampmann B.
Failure to control growth of mycobacteria in blood from children infected with human immunodeficiency virus and its relationship to T cell function.
J Infect Dis. 2003 May 15;187(10):1544-51

Nicol M, Huebner R, Mothupi R, Kayhty H, Mbelle N, Khomo E, Klugman K. Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate vaccine diluted tenfold in DTP: a randomised trial. Pediatr Infect Dis J 2002 Feb;21(2):138-141

Nicol M, Eley B, Kibel M, Hussey G. Intradermal BCG vaccination: adverse events and their management. S Afr Med J 2002 Jan;92(1):39-42

Karas JA, Nicol M, Martinson N, Heubner R. The investigation of an outbreak of food poisoning at an international sports event. S Afr Med J 2001 May;91(5):417-21

Michelow IC, Nicol M, Tiemessen C, Chezzi C, Pettifor JM. Value of cerebrospinal fluid leukocyte aggregation in distinguishing the causes of meningitis in children. Pediatr Infect Dis J 2000 Jan;19(1):66-72

Koornhof HJ, Smego RA Jr, Nicol M. Yersiniosis II: The pathogenesis of Yersinia infections. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 1999 Feb;18(2):87-112


Research support

September 2009-August 2015
National Institutes of Health, Tuberculosis Clinical Diagnostic Research Consortium
Total local costs: US$1,463,340
Role: Site Principal Investigator

September 2009-August 2011
Gates Grand Challenges Explorations
Detection of Tuberculosis Using Chemiresistive Sensor Arrays
Total local costs:US$33,000
Role: Co-investigator

August 2009-July 2010
Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, GeneXpert Demonstration Study
Total local costs: US$257,000
Role: Site Principal Investigator

February 2009-January 2011
Center for Point-of-Care Diagnostics for Global Health (GHDx Center), PATH
Integrated Microanalytical Extraction-Amplification System for Detection of Tuberculosis in Low Resource Settings
Total costs: US$250 000
Role: Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI: David Kelso, NWU)

October 2008-September 2010
NHLS Research Trust: Diagnosis of TB in HIV infected children
Total costs: ZAR460 000
Role: Principal Investigator

September 2008-Sept 2012
Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellowship: The use of modern molecular tools to understand and intervene in the spread of multidrug resistant tuberculosis in rural South Africa
Total costs: US$1,101,650
Role: Principal investigator

August 2008-August 2010
EDCTP Senior Fellowship: The impact of rapid genotypic detection of multidrug resistant tuberculosis on treatment outcome in a semi-rural region of South Africa
Total costs: US$314,000
Role: Principal investigator

September 2008-August 2013
National Institutes of Health R01 Diagnosis of tuberculosis in HIV-infected children – development of microbiological and immunological strategies
Total costs: US$2,520,000 
Role: Co-Principal investigator (Co-PI Heather Zar)

June 2007-May 2011
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Tuberculosis Research Unit (TBRU). 
Total annual direct costs, University of Cape Town (for 7 years): US$529,888
Role: Co-investigator (Site PI: Gregory Hussey)

March 2007-February 2009
National Research Foundation of South Africa Focus Area Award. Innate immunity to TB is lineage and host dependent. 
Total costs:US$50,310
Role: Principal Investigator

April 2006-March 2009
South African Medical Research Council Self-Initiated Project Award. Novel Immunodiagnostics for Childhood Tuberculosis. Total costs:US $33,540 Role: Principal Investigator

March 2007-March 2008
NHLS Research Trust Genetic Basis of Rifampicin Resistance in multi-drug resistant M. tuberculosis in the Western Cape (co-PI: Heidi Segal). Total costs: US$11,610
Role: Principal Investigator

January 2008-December 2008
FIND Diagnostics. Cepheid Xpert MTB evaluation study. 
Total costs: US$209,170
Role: Co-investigator

January 2006-December 2006
Columbia University-Southern African Fogarty AITRP Traineeship: The Expression Profile of Primary Human Monocyte-Derived Macrophages Following Infection with Two Distinct Lineages of M. tuberculosis
Total costs: US$18,060
Role: Principal Investigator

January 2004-December 2007
Bristol Myers Squibb Secure the Future Award. Novel immunodiagnostics for childhood tuberculosis.
Total costs: US$516,011
Role: Co-investigator

October 2004-September 2007
Wellcome Trust Research Training Fellowship. Phenotypic and genotypic characterization of strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis causing disease in children. 
Total costs: US$263,807
Role: Principal Investigator