Dr Marta C. Nunes is a reader and associate Professor at the Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytics (VIDA) Research Unit of the University of the Witwatersrand.
Marta developed her PhD thesis work in Professor S Goldman’s laboratory at the Department of Neurology and Neuroscience, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, USA and obtained her PhD from the University of Lisbon, Medical College, Lisbon, Portugal in January 2004. During her PhD training she isolated and described a very unique multipotential neural progenitor cell population from the subcortical white matter of the adult human brain. At the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France, during her EMBO and Human Frontiers post-doctoral fellowships, Marta was involved in several projects dedicated to identifying new malaria vaccine candidates for pregnancy malaria. And after her post-doctoral training at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France in 2009 (where she developed different projects aimed at understanding the cell biology of Plasmodium falciparum and to identify molecular candidates for malaria vaccines for pregnant women) Marta moved to South Africa.
The focus of her research with Wits VIDA has been on the interaction of different putative pathogens on respiratory disease in children and the different manifestations in health and disease to these infections. To approach the problem of infant morbidity and mortality related to infections she is exploring the potential of intervening through vaccination of pregnant women to protect the women and their babies against infections. This also includes the evaluation of this intervention in reducing adverse birth outcomes.