Dr. Elsje Pienaar

Areas of Research

Computational systems biology and systems pharmacology.


  • Develop computational within-host simulations of infectious diseases and their treatment.

Infectious diseases kill >10 million people each year. Several challenges remain in treating infectious diseases. E.g. HIV can be controlled by anti-retroviral therapy (ART), but a cure remains elusive; Non-tuberculous mycobacterial infections are only treatable in 40-80% of cases and often lead to relapse; combination therapies, using multiple drugs simultaneously, are common practice but are complex and expensive to develop and optimize; and drug concentration and action at the sites of infection remains relatively unknown for many diseases.
Our Computational Systems Pharmacology Lab constructs multi-scale, hybrid computational models that describe host immune, pathogen and drug dynamics within an infected patient. In close collaborations with experimentalists, we integrate these computational models with multiple in vitro and in vivo datasets to: predict drug efficacy, optimize treatment, identify new drug targets, and inform future experiments; all in the context of complex host-pathogen-drug interactions.

Recruitment Needs

Looking for PhD students with strong interests in computational and systems biology, systems pharmacology and/or infectious diseases and public health

Please feel free to contact Dr. Pienaar directly.

Email: epienaar@purdue.edu