Contact: Pamela Bogdanski

Department Administrator

Chemical Engineering

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Elsje Pienaar | Faculty

Elsje Pienaar

Research Investigator

G044W NCRC B28


Chemical Engineering Faculty

Education and Professional Experience


University of Nebraska – Lincoln
PhD Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering 2010

University of Nebraska – Lincoln
MS Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering 2007

University of Pretoria
BS Financial and Actuarial Mathematics 2004



University of Michigan
Chemical Engineering Department and
Microbiology and Immunology
Ann Arbor, Michigan

  • Research Investigator, 2016-present
  • Postdoctoral research fellow, 2012-2016

Linkoping University

  • Postdoctoral research fellow, 2010-2012



My research has been focused on tuberculosis (TB) and has explored many aspects of the disease, including epidemiology, diagnosis, translational regulation and host-pathogen interactions. My current focus is on using multi-scale computational models to evaluate antibiotic penetration and activity in granulomas (the primary site of infection in TB), strategies for immunotherapy and the role of mycobacterial metabolism in TB granulomas.

Honors and Awards

  • BMES Innovation and Career Development Award, 2014
  • Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award, 2010
    UNL College of Engineering
  • NIH-NIAID Scholarship Keystone Symposia, 2009



  • Pienaar E, Dartois V, Linderman JJ, Kirschner DE. In silico evaluation and exploration of antibiotic tuberculosis treatment regimens. BMC Systems Biology. 2015;9:79.
  • Linderman JJ, Cilfone N, Pienaar E, Gong C, and Kirschner DE. A Multi-scale Approach to Designing Therapeutics for Tuberculosis. Integrative biology. 2015; 7:591-609.
  • Cilfone N, Pienaar E, Thurber GM, Kirschner DE, Linderman JJ. Systems pharmacology approach towards the design of inhaled formulations of rifampicin and isoniazid for treatment of tuberculosis. CPT Pharmacometrics Syst Pharmacol. 2015;4:e22.
  • 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. J Theor Biol. 2015;367:166-179.
  • Raffetseder J, Pienaar E, Blomgran R, Eklund D, Patcha Brodin V, Andersson H, Stendahl O, Welin A, Lerm M. Replication Rates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Human Macrophages Do Not Correlate with Mycobacterial Antibiotic Susceptibility. PLoS One. 2014;9(11):e112426.
  • Pienaar E, Lerm M. A Mathematical Model of the Initial Interaction between Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Macrophages. J Theor Biol. 2014; 342:23-32.
  • Abuzeid N, Kalsum S, Koshy RJ, Larsson M, Glader M, Andersson H, Raffetseder J, Pienaar E, Eklund D, Alhassan MS, AlGadir HA, Koko WS, Schön T, Mesaik MA, Abdalla OM, Khalid A and Lerm M. Antimycobacterial activity of selected medicinal plants traditionally used in Sudan to treat infectious diseases. J Ethnopharmacol. 2014;157:134-139.
  • 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.
  • TerMaat JR, Mamedov TG, Pienaar E, Whitney SE, Subramanian A. Automated two-column purification of iminobiotin and BrdU-labeled PCR products for rapid cloning: application to genes synthesized by polymerase chain assembly. J Chromatogr Sci. 2010;48(2):120-124.
  • TerMaat JR, Pienaar E, Whitney SE, Mamedov TG, Subramanian A. Gene synthesis by integrated polymerase chain assembly and PCR amplification using a high-speed thermocycler. J Microbiol Methods. 2009;79(3):295-300.
  • 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.