Liezel Smith

Liezel Smith

Senior Scientist and Project Manager

Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Tel: +27219389400






Network Associate


Research Keywords: 

Tuberculosis, Immunology, Animal Models



I am currently employed as a Senior Scientist and the Project Coordinator for the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical TB Research, based at Stellenbosch University. The Centre is housed in the Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine. One of the primary roles of my current position is to annually and quarterly report to the various NRF and SAMRC, the major funding bodies that support the Division.

During my postdoctoral tenure at the University of Cape Town I was part of the Lung Infection and Immunity Unit in the Department of Medicine. My core research interests were and still is (i) transmission of Tuberculosis, (ii) investigating the transcriptomics patterns and the immunological profiles of patients with TB (iii) Animal Models, (iv) The interaction of the host and pathogens during disease progression and (v) the development of new vaccines.


Related Websites: 



Key Publications:

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. Epub 2005 Mar 23.

Swarts L, Leisegang F, Owen EP, Henderson HE.  An OTC deficiency 'phenocopy' in association with Klinefelter syndrome.  J Inherit Metab Dis. 2007 Feb;30(1):101. Epub 2006 Dec 20.

Hurdayal R, Nieuwenhuizen NE, Revaz-Breton M, Smith L, Hoving JC, et al. (2013) Deletion of IL-4 Receptor Alpha on Dendritic Cells Renders BALB/c Mice Hypersusceptible to Leishmania major Infection. PLoS Pathog 9(10): e1003699. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003699


Theron, G., Peter, J., Calligaro, G., Meldau, R., Hanrahan, C., Khalfey, H., Matinyenya, B., Muchinga, T., Smith, L., Pandi, S., Lenders, L., Patel, V., Mayosi, B and Dheda, K. (2014). Determinants of PCR performance (Xpert MTB/RIF), including bacterial load and inhibition, for TB diagnosis using specimens from different body compartments. Scientific Reports, 4, 1–10. May 2014 doi:10.1038/srep05658

Calligaro GL, Theron G, Khalfey H, Peter J, Meldau R, Matinyenya B, Davids M, Smith L, Pooran A, Lesosky M, Esmail A, Miller MG, Piercy J, Michell L, Dawson R, Raine RI, Joubert I, Dheda K. (2015). Burden of tuberculosis in intensive care units in Cape Town, South Africa, and assessment of the accuracy and effect on patient outcomes of the Xpert MTB/RIF test on tracheal aspirate samples for diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis: a prospective burden of disease study with a nested randomised controlled trial. Lancet Respir Med. 2015 Aug;3(8):621-30. doi: 10.1016/S2213-2600(15)00198-8. Epub 2015 Jul 22.

Theron G, Venter R, Calligaro G, Smith L, Limberis J, Meldau R, Chanda D, Esmail A, Peter J, Dheda K (2016) Xpert MTB/RIF Results in Patients With Previous Tuberculosis: Can We Distinguish True From False Positive Results? Clin Infect Dis. 2016 Apr 15;62(8):995-1001. doi: 10.1093/cid/civ1223. Epub 2016 Feb 16.

McNerney R, Clark TG, Campino S, Rodrigues C, Dolinger D, Smith L, Cabibbe AM, Dheda K, Schito M. (2016) Removing the bottleneck in whole genome sequencing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis for rapid drug resistance analysis: a call to action. Int J Infect Dis. 2016 Dec 13. pii: S1201-9712(16)31642-3. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2016.11.422. [Epub ahead of print] Review.

Dheda K, Limberis JD, Pietersen E, Phelan J, Esmail A, Lesosky M, Fennelly KP, Te Riele J, Mastrapa B, Streicher EM, Dolby T, Abdallah AM, Ben-Rached F, Simpson J, Smith L, Gumbo T, van Helden P, Sirgel FA, McNerney R, Theron G, Pain A, Clark TG, Warren RM. (2017) Outcomes, infectiousness, and transmission dynamics of patients with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis and home-discharged patients with programmatically incurable tuberculosis: a prospective cohort study. Lancet Respir Med. 2017 Jan 18. pii: S2213-2600(16)30433-7. doi: 10.1016/S2213-2600(16)30433-7.

Calligaro GL, Zijenah LS, Peter JG, Theron G, Buser V, McNerney R, Bara W, Bandason T, Govender U, Tomasicchio M, Smith L, Mayosi BM, Dheda K. Effect of new tuberculosis diagnostic technologies on community-based intensified case finding: a multicentre randomised controlled trial. Lancet 2017; 17:441-450. IF: 47.831

Theron, Grant; Venter, Rouxjeane; Smith, Liezel; Esmail, Aliasgar ; Randall, Philippa; Sood, Vishesh; Oelofse, Suzette; Calligaro, Greg; Warren, R; Dheda, Keertan (2017). False positive Xpert MTB/RIF results in re-tested patients with previous tuberculosis: frequency, profile, and prospective clinical outcomes. J Clin Microbiol. 2018 Feb 22;56(3). pii: e01696-17. doi: 10.1128/JCM.01696-17

Grant Theron, Liezel Smith , Jason D. Limberis , Rouxjeane Venter , Aliasgar Esmail , Ruth McNerney , Gregory L. Calligaro , Kevin P. Fennelly , Robin M. Warren , Keertan U.J. Dheda (2017 ). Bacterial and Host Determinants of Infectiousness in Patients with Drug-Susceptible or Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 2017;195:A7319

Tomasicchio M, Davids M, Pooran A, Theron G, Smith L, Semple L, Meldau R, Hapgood JP, Dheda K (2019). The Injectable Contraceptive Medroxyprogesterone Acetate Attenuates Mycobacterium Tuberculosis-Specific Host Immunity Through the Glucocorticoid Receptor. J Infect Dis. 2019 Apr 8;219(8):1329-1337. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiy657.

Grant Theron, Jason Limberis, Rouxjeane Venter, Liezel Smith, Elize Pietersen, Aliasgar Esmail, Greg Calligaro, Julian te Riele, Frederick A Sirgel, Paul van Helden, Tawanda Gumbo, Taane G Clark, Kevin Fennelly,  Robin Warren, Keertan Dheda (2019).Bacterial and host determinants of infectiousness in patients with drug-resistant versus drug-susceptible tuberculosis. Submitted to Nature Medicine. Reference number: NMED-L99125