From Cameroon to Cape Town: Infectious Disease Immunologist Muki Shey’s Research


Professor Muki Shey, an associate professor at the University of Cape Town’s Department of Medicine, has received a silver award from the South African Medical Research Council for his outstanding contributions to health research. Shey’s passion for finding health solutions in resource-constrained settings was fueled by his own childhood sickness.

The Journey from Cameroon to Cape Town

When he was in grade nine, his parents couldn’t afford to send him to school. Fortunately, his older brother, Charles Shey Wiysonge, then a medical student on a Cameroonian government scholarship, used his grant money to pay for Shey’s education.

After completing a degree in biochemistry at the University of Yaoundé, Shey followed his brother to Cape Town, where they both earned PhDs in 2012. Today, Shey is an infectious disease immunologist and an associate professor at UCT’s Faculty of Health Sciences.

Tuberculosis Research and Charitable Work

Shey’s great ambition is to create a vaccine that reliably prevents tuberculosis (TB) in adults. Currently, only the BCG vaccine is available for TB, and it is only effective in preventing severe TB in children. Shey has been spearheading research into TB in healthcare workers around Cape Town since 2018.

Shey is also an active member of two charitable organizations. He is the president and events coordinator of the Alliance Française du Cap, which provides incentives at schools in Cape Town for twelve subjects, while also providing pupils with opportunities to watch scientists at tertiary institutions in fields ranging from medicine to engineering. Shey is also a member of the Bui Family Union South Africa, which runs projects to help the children of refugees and orphans in Cape Town while assisting in bringing medical care to the region of his birth in Cameroon.

Looking to the Future

Shey is determined to make a difference in the world of health research. His goal is to contribute to the development of a vaccine that will be widely available worldwide, saving lives. He works every day towards achieving this goal, hoping to make a difference someday.
Professor Muki Shey’s journey from Cameroon to Cape Town has been nothing short of a miracle, and he is using his success to give back to the community through his work.