A/Prof Katharina Ronacher

MSc, PhD

Principal Research Fellow - Group Leader Infection, Immunity and Metabolism


Altered immune-endocrine axis during type 2 diabetes and tuberculosis risk

Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM2) is on the rise in developing countries where tuberculosis (TB) is endemic with now more individuals suffering and dying from TB-DM2 than TB-HIV co-infection. DM2 increases the risk of TB significantly, but it is unknown how this increased risk occurs. This project investigates the role that hormones and the immune system play in increasing TB risk among household contacts of TB patients with and without DM2, both in the blood and the lungs, the latter the site of infection.

About me

Katharina Ronacher obtained an MSc degree from the University of Vienna (Austria), followed by a PhD degree from the University of Cape Town (South Africa). After her post-doctoral training she worked on biomarkers for TB treatment response at Stellenbosch University (South Africa), where she held a position for over ten years. She now heads the Infection, Immunity and Metabolism group at the Mater Research Institute – University of Queensland. Katharina's research investigates the underlying immunological mechanisms of the increased risk of tuberculosis in patients with type 2 diabetes for which she received a 5 year NIH R01 grant. She continues to hold an appointment as Extraordinary Associate Professor at Stellenbosch University, South Africa.

Research fields

Infectious diseases, tuberculosis, host-directed therapies