Biomedical Research and Innovation Platform

The Biomedical Research and Innovation Platform (BRIP) was established in April 2006 by the South African Medical Research Council, as a spin-off from the former Diabetes Research Group of the Medical Research Council.

The BRIP has more than 20 years of experience in the field of histology, image analysis, immunocytochemistry, molecular biology and tissue/cell culture systems.

Key focus areas 

The Effect of Diet and Lifestyle on the Development of Type 2 Diabetes
  • The Group’s longstanding innovative research on early changes leading to Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) has resulted in the discovery and characterisation of previously unreported pathological changes related to the very early stages of development of the disease, prior to raised blood sugar levels.  The Group is currently investigating their potential as very early markers of people at risk of developing T2D.  These markers will be able to identify the risk of developing T2D at a much earlier stage than any other marker available to date, allowing significantly earlier intervention and treatment and, hopefully, prevent the secondary effects of T2D which affects both the quality of life and leads to the early death of people.
  • The group has also established and characterised several animal models for further research, including an insulin resistant rat model for typical symptoms of early-stage type-2 diabetes, a streptozotocin model typical of type-1 diabetes and a triglyceride model representing the ‘metabolic syndrome’ (Syndrome X) patient who is at risk of developing type-2 diabetes. These models enable in depth research of type-2 diabetes and type-1 diabetes.  Particularly how the disease develops, what external factors induce and/or promote the disease and the process by which this occurs.
The Identification of Indigenous Plant Extracts, Effective in Correcting Various Aspects of T2D pathology
  • Many plants of Southern African or African origin have been claimed to have anti-diabetic properties. The group’s investigations have already been successful in identifying two plants for their efficacy in treating aspects of the broader metabolic syndrome.
Director: Dr Johan Louw
Tel: +27 21 938 0322; Fax: +27 21 938 0456
E-mail: johan.louw@mrc.ac.za