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.


World Diabetes Day Awareness Activities - 2022

The SAMRC’s Biomedical Research and Innovation Platform (BRIP) and the Non-Communicable Research Unit (NCDRU) successfully hosted another World Diabetes Day Awareness Campaign at Jack Muller Park on the 20th of November. Walkers and runners alike completed either a 3 or 5 km route around the park to promote physical activity. Lifestyle modifications, such as increasing physical activity and eating healthy, nutritious foods are an essential part of managing or even preventing diabetes and other metabolic diseases. Supported by Corporate and Marketing Communications Division, the theme for the year, access to diabetes care, was promoted and information around diabetes risk factors and management was shared.   View the SAMRC World Diabetes Day Brochure

The theme for 2022 is “Access to Diabetes Care for All” and under the initiative of “Education to Protect Tomorrow”, SAMRC staff and students went out to the Parow Senior Centre sharing important information on Diabetes care and preventive measures.

55th SEMDSA Congress awards

The 55th SEMDSA Congress was held this past weekend, 8-11 September 2022 and a few of our colleagues and students had the pleasure and opportunity of attending and presenting their work and studies.

We Acknowledge and Congratulate two of our colleagues who received Awards for the work they do; and because of them, BRIP received 5 awards!

Huge Congratulations to YOU BOTH.

@Tarryn Willmer  SAMRC

  • Travel Award
  • Endocrine Publication Award (Basic Sciences)
  • Best Poster award (Basic Sciences)

@Julia Goedecke  SAMRC

  • Diabetes Publication Award (Clinical)
  • Diabetes Publication Award (Basic Sciences)  - Award to Amy Mendham (Julia’s postdoc)
RFA: International Partnership for Building a Vaccine R&D and Manufacturing Workforce for Africa the CSSFF-SAMRC Capacity Development Programme

The Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation (CSSFF) and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) have announced a five-year collaboration to initiate a skills development programme that aims to train a cohort of young African candidates to build a skilled workforce to manufacture vaccines on the African continent. This Programme will be achieved through a mixture of virtual, online, in-person lectures and, most importantly, hands-on lab-based training by awarding Studentships, Scholarships and Fellowships in vaccine-related disciplines in the health, life and allied sciences.

Link to RFA on the Website

GACD Implementation Science e-Hub

The South African Medical Research Council participates in the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases, a collaboration of major international research funding agencies that support joint funding calls and research capacity building activities to address chronic, non-communicable diseases. The alliance focuses on implementation research in low- and middle- income countries (LMICs) and in vulnerable and indigenous populations in high-income countries (HICs).

The GACD have announced the launch of the Implementation Science e-Hub. The e-Hub is a free, virtual platform for knowledge and skill development in implementation research. It is intended for researchers, students, policymakers and practitioners at any stage in their career, from anywhere in the world, interested in improving their knowledge of implementation research, especially its application for the prevention and management of non-communicable diseases in low-resource settings.

For further information, visit 


12th Annual BRIP Research Symposium, 18 - 19 October 2022
12th Annual BRIP Research Symposium
11th Annual BRIP Research Symposium, 18 - 19 October 2021



10th Annual BRIP Research Symposium, 19-20 October 2020, Virtual


Heritage Day Celebrations 2022

“Heritage is generally defined as an acknowledgment of historical artifacts, practices, and sites that should be preserved for the benefit of future generations.”

BRIP celebrated the rich and diverse tapestry that makes up the team with our infamous “braai under the tree”.  A time of sharing food, stories and everything that makes us PROUDLY South African. We are stronger together and are fortunate to stand on the shoulders of giants.



Dr Gabuza completes another Comrades marathon Sunday the 28th August, Dr Kwazi Gabuza, senior Scientist at the Biomedical Research Innovation Platform, took part and completed his second Comrades marathon.

The Comrades Marathon is an ultramarathon of approximately 89 km, which is run annually in the KwaZulu-Natal province and is said to be the world's largest and oldest ultramarathon race. The race takes place between the cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg, with the direction of the race alternating each year between the "up" run (87 km) starting from Durban and the "down" run (now 90.184 km) starting from Pietermaritzburg. The race had been postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID pandemic.

Completed the race for the 3rd time in a race-time of 10:52:59, Dr Gabuza said "It was uncertain that the Comrades would take place this year, following the two year break and the restrictions that were only scraped early this year. Only in March was everyone made aware that it will be happening in 2022.

My training then started with the hope to be fully fit by 28 August. The two-year break definitely took its toll on the runners. It was a very challenging Comrades marathon, much harder than my previous attempts in 2017 and 2019.”

Well done Kwazi and congratulations on finishing yet another Comrades marathon. Here’s to many more to come

World Diabetes Day



World Diabetes Day Brochure


Co-Deputy Director: Prof Rabia Johnson
Tel: +27 21 938 0866
Co-Deputy Director: Prof Carmen Pheiffer
Tel: +27 21 938 0292