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Principal Investigators

Professor Jacquie Greenberg

Jacquie Greenberg is a Professor in Human Genetics at UCT and has been involved in research looking at inherited monogenic neurodegenerative diseases in SA for nearly 3 decades. For the past 23 years her research focus expanded into heterogeneous conditions to include the inherited retinal degenerative diseases and other genetic forms of blindness.

Her ultimate goal is to move research from basic science to translational genetics, directed at SA families with genetic conditions.

Her vision of the Stem Cell Research Initiative is to ultimately determine efficacy and safety using iPSCs as pre-clinical cellular models, in preparation for human clinical trials, so that these forms of therapies can ultimately be used for SA patients with genetic disease.

Specialist areas:

  • Inherited Neurodegenerative and Retinal Degenerative Diseases

  • Genetic counselling

  • Translational Genetics

  • Induced pluripotent stem cells as a “disease-in-a-dish” model.

  • Gene silencing and gene-based therapies


Professor Susan Kidson

Susan Kidson is a Professor in Cell Biology, Department of Human Biology, UCT Faculty of Health Sciences. She is a developmental cell biologist, and her primary research interest is in the biology of the skin and in the developmental biology of the eye.

Specialist areas:

  • The biology of melanocytes in early development and in diseases of the skin (albinism, vitiligo, naevi)

  • Stem cell biology – induction of melanocyte differentiation

  • Developmental and genetic basis of early onset glaucoma; aberrations of the corneal endothelium, the trabecular network and other structures of the anterior segment.

  • Development and regeneration of the corneal endothelium


Professor Bongani Mayosi

Bongani Mayosi qualified in medicine from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, trained in internal medicine and cardiology in Cape Town, and graduated with a DPhil in genetics from the University of Oxford in 2003.

His research interests include genetics of cardiovascular traits, treatment of tuberculous pericarditis, and prevention of rheumatic fever.


Associate Professor Jeannine Heckmann

Prof Heckmann is a neurologist within the Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine at the University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital.

She heads the UCT neurology research group with a research focus on neuromuscular disease and Myasthenia Gravis in particular.

The UCT neurology research group is involved in clinical and basic science research addressing questions relevant to complications of Myasthenia Gravis in African subjects.