department of chemical engineering @ the university of michigan

current members   -   lab alumni   -   group photos

Elsje Pienaar, PhD
Postdoctoral Scholar
Modeling bacterial dynamics during M. tuberculosis infection and treatment

Research Interests
Mathematical modeling, infectious diseases, pathogen tolerance and diversity, epidemiology

University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Ph.D. Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, 2010
M.S. Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, 2007

University of Pretoria, South Africa
BSc Applied Mathematics, 2005


Pienaar E, Matern WM, Linderman JJ, Bader JS, Kirschner DE. "Multi-scale model of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection maps metabolite and gene perturbations to granuloma sterilization predictions." Infection and Immunity. 2016.

Pienaar E, Dartois V, Linderman JJ, Kirschner DE. "In silico evaluation and exploration of antibiotic tuberculosis treatment regimens." BMC Systems Biology. 9: 79. 2015.

Pienaar E, Cilfone NA, Lin PL, Dartois V, Mattila JT, Butler JR, Flynn JL, Kirschner DE, Linderman JJ. "A computational tool integrating host immunity with antibiotic dynamics to study tuberculosis treatment." Journal of Theoretical Biology. 367: 166-79. 2014.

Viljoen S, Pienaar E, Viljoen HJ. "A state-time epidemiology model of tuberculosis: Importance of re-infection." Computational Biology and Chemistry. 2012;36(0):15-22.

Louw TM, Booth CS, Pienaar E, Termaat JR, Whitney SE, Viljoen HJ. "Experimental Validation of a Fundamental Model for PCR Efficiency." Chem Eng Sci. Apr 15 2011;66(8):1783-1789.

Booth CS, Pienaar E, Termaat JR, Whitney SE, Louw TM, Viljoen HJ. "Efficiency of the Polymerase Chain Reaction." Chem Eng Sci. Sep 2010;65(17):4996-5006.

Pienaar E, Fluitt AM, Whitney SE, Freifeld AG, Viljoen HJ. "A model of tuberculosis transmission and intervention strategies in an urban residential area." Comput Biol Chem. 2010;34(2):86-96.

Valente W, Pienaar E, Fast A, et al. "A Kinetic Study of In Vitro Lysis of Mycobacterium smegmatis." Chem Eng Sci. May 2009;64(9):1944-1952.

Pienaar E, Whitney SE, Viljoen HJ, van Rensburg NF. "A model of the complex response of Staphylococcus aureus to methicillin." J Theor Biol. Apr 2009;257(3):438-445.

Mamedov TG, Pienaar E, Whitney SE, et al. "A fundamental study of the PCR amplification of GC-rich DNA templates." Comput Biol Chem. Dec 2008;32(6):452-457.

Pienaar E, Viljoen HJ. "The tri-frame model." J Theor Biol. Apr 2008;251(4):616-627.

Fluitt A, Pienaar E, Viljoen H. "Ribosome kinetics and aa-tRNA competition determine rate and fidelity of peptide synthesis." Comput Biol Chem. Oct 2007;31(5-6):335-346.

Pienaar E, Theron M, Nelson M, Viljoen HJ. "A quantitative model of error accumulation during PCR amplification." Comput Biol Chem. Apr 2006;30(2):102-111.

Oral Presentations

"Stochastic events in protein synthesis." AIChE Annual Meeting Salt Lake City, UT. 2007.

Poster Presentations

"A Mathematical Model of Early Interaction between M tuberculosis and macrophages." Keystone Symposia - Drug Resistance and Persistence in Tuberculosis 2012, Kampala Uganda.

"Long-term survival of H37Rv-infected human monocyte derived macrophages." 8th International Conference of Pathogenesis of Mycobacterial Infections 2011, Saltsjobaden, Stockholm, Sweden.

"Implications of HIV and Antiretroviral Treatment for Tuberculosis Control: A Model of Tuberculosis Transmission and Intervention Strategies." Keystone Symposia - Tuberculosis: Immunology, Cell Biology and Novel Vaccination Strategies 2011, Vancouver, Canada.

"Detection of TB complex specific sequences from sputum in less than 20 minutes." Keystone Symposia - Overcoming the Crisis of TB and AIDS 2009, Arusha, Tanzania.

"A theoretical assessment of polymerase fidelity and thermal damage during PCR amplification." AIChE Annual Meeting 2007, Salt Lake City, UT

Honors and Awards

Fighting Tuberculosis, University of Michigan News Story, 2015
NIH-NIAID Scholarship Keystone Symposia, 2009
Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award, UNL College of Engineering, 2010
Knut and Alice Wallenberg Travel Grant, 2011