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Faculty of Health Sciences

Centres, Units and Institutes

The Faculty is the host of the UP Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine; the University research centres for Sustainable Malaria Control; Forensic Anthropology; Applied Morphology and Comprehensive Physical Rehabilitation. There is also an established research unit working on Environmental Chemical Pollution and Health and an active Zoonoses research group, as well as a Clinical Trials Unit.  We are also the proud host of two South African Medical Research Council Units on Inflammation and Immunity and on Maternal and Infant Health Care Strategies; a MRC SA Flagship Programme as well as a SARChI Research Chair on Sustainable Malaria Control and the Rand Water Chair in Public Health and Water.  You can find out more about each by clicking on the links provided. guides like this are not in other places


UP Research Centres

UP Centre for Sustainable Malaria Control

The UP Centre for Sustainable Malaria Control is pioneering research on sustainable malaria control methods from the biochemical and the biological to the chemical and the physical including how best to manage these methods at a trans-disciplinary level. Community education in malaria control is addressed and backed by a commitment to changing behaviour in communities. Our team is also engaged in studies on the possible general and reproductive health effects associated with currently used insecticides for malaria vector control. Furthermore, we are using state-of-the-art cellphone technology to capture data on indoor residual spraying (IRS) in remote rural areas of Limpopo Province. Environmentally friendly ways of delivering chemicals for malaria prevention are among the new ideas being explored.


Forensic Anthropology Research Centre

The Forensic Anthropology Research Centre (FARC) is involved in research, including contract research, that is either wholly defined academically or in consultation with a commissioning client.  The Centre aims to establish a centralised resource base with a single, well-defined identity, for all aspects regarding human remains, whether it be forensic, heritage related or humanitarian in nature or origin (and as is often the case, overlapping these distinctions) in South Africa foremost, but also for the region, continent and globally. The main thrust of the Centre will, however, be forensic and pertaining to matters of violent crime and missing persons.


Applied Morphology Research Centre

The AMRC focuses on the coagulation system, with special reference to fibrin networks, platelets and the interactions with red blood cells (RBC’s). Human diseases that are studied, including cerebrovascular incidents (strokes), diabetes and other inflammatory conditions, by combining general principles of physiology with ultra-structural techniques. The techniques that are used include Scanning and Transmission Electron Microscopy and Flow Cytometry. The AMRC have collaborations with the institutions like the South African National Blood Service, and also focus on inter-institutional collaborations, including the Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School, University of Birmingham, University of Queensland and the University of Austria. 


Comprehensive Physical Rehabilitation Centre

The Comprehensive Rehabilitation Research Centre facilitates research in the rehabilitation of patients with physical impairments leading to functional disabilities and with a problem to participate in activities of self-care, recreation/sport, work and socialisation in their environment and community. Rehabilitation requires a team approach that reaches far beyond the traditional health care team members and also welcomes co-workers from engineering, social sciences, education and all sectors of society.


UP Institutes

Cellular and Molecular Medicine

The Institute has a solid research base in human health sciences, and is entering a phase of rapid growth as it responds to the heavy national and regional burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases.  Several cross-cutting disciplines have been defined in an effort to focus the Institute’s activities. The disciplines concerned include: genetics/genomics, cell-based therapy, the neurosciences, bio-entrepreneurship and the regulatory (legislative) environment. 

The Institute is primarily a research facility in which the emphasis is on trans-disciplinary and cross-cutting technologies. Several departments/divisions in the Faculty of Health Sciences are involved in projects within the Institute, as are the following faculties across the University: Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Veterinary Sciences, Law, Economic and Management Sciences, Engineering, Humanities and Theology.  The Institute works closely with the private sector to further its goal of delivering marketable health care solutions.

Institute for Sports Research

The Institute for Sports Research strives to combine, structure and integrate existing unaddressed Sport Scientific and Biokinetics requirements incorporated within the training, service and research responsibility of the UP, with those of established or envisaged academic departments.

Research is undertaken in an ad hoc and continuous manner on a co-ordinated, interdisciplinary and specialised basis, with the aim of publishing research results.

UP Units

Environmental Chemical Pollution and Health Research Unit

The Environmental Chemical Pollution and Health (ECPH) Research Unit was established through a collaborative partnership between the School of Health Systems and Public Health (SHSPH) and Andrology in the Department of Urology in the Faculty of Health Sciences. The Unit uses the EDC and Toxicology laboratories. The Andrology laboratory functions as a clinical and research laboratory that investigates male reproductive health. The EDC component offers a comprehensive battery of bio-assays for estrogenic and androgenic activity in environmental samples and specific chemicals.  The Toxicology section is primarily a research laboratory to assess reproductive health in humans and wildlife. The Unit conducts research on the occurrence, health effects and projected future impacts of chemicals, especially EDCs, on environmental pollution and health.  



Rand Water Chair in Public Health and Water

The Rand Water Chair in Public Health will develop a more coordinated approach to and expand water-related training and research within the Faculty of Health Sciences to address the research needs identified by Rand Water, i.e. drinking water human health risk assessment and epidemiology.


MRC Units

Maternal and Infant Health Care Strategies

This Unit was established in September 1997 and strives to increase the quality of life of South African mothers and their babies. Its mission is to develop health strategies at primary and secondary care levels for mothers and infants by researching solutions to specific problems which are generally acceptable to the women, health care workers and health administrators involved.


Inflammation and Immunity Research Unit

The mandate of the Unit is to provide novel insights into the immuno-pathogenesis of acute and chronic inflammatory disorders of both infective and non-infective origin, and to identify targets on immune and inflammatory cells, as well as microbial pathogens, on which novel anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial chemotherapeutic strategies can be based.

The research activities of the Unit are focussed on i) microbial diseases, specifically tuberculosis, invasive pneumococcal disease, and malaria; ii) mechanisms of calcium handling by activated neutrophils; and iii) environmental and occupational toxicology, specifically the potentially harmful, pro-inflammatory interactions of heavy metals with neutrophils.