The University of Cape Town, South Africa

UCT LogoThe University of Cape Town (UCT) is based in Cape Town, South Africa, and is a designated Center of Excellence for the United Health Group and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the NIH, and a member of the Chronic Disease Initiative (CDIA). This site focuses on improving primary health care and reducing the burden of chronic disease in South Africa and in the integration of non-communicable diseases care into the community through increased training and education of community health workers. CDIA draws multidisciplinary researchers from three major tertiary academic institutions in Cape Town (the University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University and the University of the Western Cape), the South African Medical Research Council, Harvard University, and Shree Hindu Mandal Hospital, Tanzania, as well as representatives from local and national Departments of Health. UCT also has long standing collaboration with Dr. David Henderson and colleagues in the area of mental health research, and is a site for T32 program at BU and Harvard on global mental health.

Site Director

Dr. NtusiProf. Ntobeko Ntusi, Cardiology Consultant & Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, UCT and Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH)

Professor Ntobeko Ntusi is a cardiologist, a Professor of Medicine and is the Chair and Head of Medicine at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH); and is the Clinical Lead for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (CMR) at UCT and GSH. He is a principal investigator based at the Hatter Institute for Cardiovascular Research in Africa and the Cape Universities Body Imaging Centre, UCT.  He has extensive experience with basic science, translational and clinical research and currently supervises postgraduate students and is conducting several single- and multi-centre mechanistic studies, which are mostly CMR-based. Through his research, Prof. Ntusi has built strong links with colleagues in clinical cardiology, physics and biomedical engineering, HIV medicine, rheumatology, immunology, molecular genetics and biomedical statistics; and he has shown capacity for performance in scientific investigational teams and is suited to being part of multi-disciplinary and multi-centre studies. He has been actively engaged and contributed to improved understanding of cardiomyopathy, inflammatory heart disease and heart failure in South Africa and globally.

Site Mentors

Dr. DelobelleDr. Peter Delobelle, Senior Research Officer

Dr. Delobelle is the Deputy Director of the Chronic Diseases Initiative for Africa, Department of Health at the University of Cape Town and Ass Prof at the Department of Public Health, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium). He is a medical doctor and public health specialist with over twenty years’ experience in public health research, education, and services delivery in the global South. His background is in health promotion, health policy & systems research, and he is experienced in multidisciplinary mixed methods and implementation research, and integrated knowledge translation. As Co-Investigator on several internationally funded research projects, he has worked in the field of HIV/ADS, maternal-and-child health, non-communicable diseases, and health information and engaged in the capacity building of local and international students from low- and middle-income countries for the past fifteen years.

Picture of Ashraf KageeProf. Ashraf Kagee, Distinguished Professor, Department of Psychology, Stellenbosch University

Professor Kagee’s work is broadly located at the nexus of psychology and public health and is specifically focused on mental health among persons living with HIV and psychological and structural factors influencing adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART). His work currently involves training patient advocates in providing psychosocial support to ART and in testing models of problem solving aimed at helping patients overcome structural barriers to ART adherence. His other interests include stress and trauma, mental health and chronic illness, and evidence-based practice and scientific thinking in psychology.

Picture of Dr. Naomi LevittProf. Naomi Levitt, Senior Scholar, Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town

Professor Levitt is a diabetologist/endocrinologist, public health scientist and Senior Scholar in the Department of Medicine at the University of Cape Town. She is Director of the Chronic Disease Initiative for Africa (CDIA).  CDIA was originally funded by NHLBI and United Health Care as one of 11 Centers of Excellence aimed at reducing the impact of non-communicable diseases (NCD) in low- and middle-income countries.  CDIA remit is to reduce the impact of chronic diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa and exists as a network of researchers drawn from a number of South African Universities, the South African Medical Research Council, and other African countries, with close links with policy makers. Areas of research include the burden of diabetes, health services research for chronic diseases particularly diabetes, metabolic consequences of antiretroviral therapy and pathogenesis of obesity.

Picture of Graeme MeintjiesProf. Graeme Meintjes, Professor of Medicine, Second Chair and Deputy Head of the Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town

Professor Meintjes leads a research programme that focuses on the clinical conditions affecting patients with advanced HIV disease including disseminated HIV-associated tuberculosis, the tuberculosis-associated immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (TB-IRIS) and cryptococcal meningitis. His group also investigates drug-resistant tuberculosis and diagnostics for TB. He has been the PI or local PI of several clinical trials and conducts observational cohort studies that address questions related to disease pathogenesis.

Picture of Mpiko NtsekheProf. Mpiko Ntsekhe, Helen and Morris Mauerberger Professor Cardiology, University of Cape Town

Professor Ntsekhe currently serves as the Hellen and Morris Mauerberger Professor and Chair of Cardiology, at the University of Cape Town and Head of Clinical Cardiology at Groote Schuur  Hospital. His interests include the interrelationship and impact of infectious diseases prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa (HIV and tuberculosis) and their direct and indirect impact on the cardiovascular system and the design and conduct of registries and clinical trials of low-cost interventions in endemic and emerging cardiovascular disorders in sub-Saharan Africa (with a focus on heart failure, rheumatic and ischemic heart disease).

Picture of Dan Stein

Prof. Dan Stein, Professor and Chair, Department of Psychiatry & Mental Health, University of Cape Town

Professor Stein is Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at the University of Cape Town, Director of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Unit on Anxiety Disorders, and Visiting Professor of Psychiatry at Mt. Sinai Medical School in New York. He is interested in the psychobiology and management of the anxiety, obsessive-compulsive and related, and traumatic and stress disorders. He has also mentored work in other areas that are of particular relevance to South Africa and Africa, including neuroHIV/AIDS and substance use disorders.

Dr. SeedatDr. Soraya Seedat, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Executive Head of the Department of Psychiatry at Stellenbosch University

Dr. Soraya Seedat is a distinguished professor of psychiatry and holds the South African Research Chair in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder from the Department of Science and Technology and National Research Foundation. In addition, she co-directs the Medical Research Council Unit on Anxiety and Stress Disorders. She has been the recipient of several awards including a World Federation of the Society of Biological Psychiatry Fellowship, a Lundbeck Institute Fellowship Award in Psychiatry, an MRC mid-career award, and an Anxiety Disorders Association of America Career Development Award. She has co-authored more than 170 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and has extensive research experience in the assessment and treatment of anxiety disorders, with a special interest in clinical and translational work in childhood and adult posttraumatic stress disorder.

Dr. VerburghDr. Estelle Verburgh, Associate Professor in Clinical Hematology, Dept. of Medicine, University of Cape Town

Dr. Verburgh is a clinical haematologist and associate professor in Clinical Haematology at the University of Cape Town heading up the bone marrow transplantation unit at Groote Schuur Hospital. Her doctoral work in Belgium was on the diagnosis and classification of the myelodysplastic syndromes. Her research vision in South Africa is to devise timely and cost-effective strategies for haematological care and to make haematological diagnostic approaches more accessible to non-specialists. Also the promotion of appropriate clinical care pathways and national cooperative groups in African haematology.
Dr. Wearne

Dr. Nicola Wearne, Associate Professor of Nephrology, Dept. of Medicine, University of Cape Town

Dr. Wearne has clinical interest in peritoneal dialysis and is actively involved in research activities involving peritoneal dialysis outcomes in South Africa. She has a keen interest in HIV associated kidney disease and has published in peer reviewed journals and book chapters in this field.  She is also very involved in both postgraduate and undergraduate teaching programs at the University of Cape Town where she convenes the 4th year medical program and part 1 physician examination. She is a member of the International Society of Nephrology and South African Renal Society.