Faculty of Health Sciences
Prof TJ Mariba, Dean
Telephone number: 012 354 2386
Fax number: 012 329 1351
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Message by the Dean
The Faculty of Health Sciences increased its research output in 2008.
The faculty has two South African Medical Research Council (MRC) research units: one focusing on various aspects of inflammation and the other on maternal and child health care. These two units illustrate the diversity of the faculty, not only in their areas of focus, but also by illustrating that the faculty’s research varies from laboratory-based, cutting-edge science to finding marketable solutions for the burden of maternal and childhood-related morbidity and mortality in Africa.
Among the many exciting projects performed by research groups in the School of Medicine are the development of an artificial liver, the development of new cancer drugs, the testing of novel agents for the diagnosis of tuberculosis and investigating the role of the gastrointestinal tract in the pathogenesis of HIV/AIDS. Multidisciplinary research is also conducted to improve diabetes care. Two new research centres were established in the School of Medicine in 2008: the Forensic Anthropology Research Centre and the Centre for Applied Morphology.
The School of Health Systems and Public Health (SHSPH) has a keen interest in endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and pesticides used for malaria vector control. The development of a toolbox of biological assays for analyses of estrogenic and anti-androgenic activity in water sources started as a global initiative and was taken to the next level by Prof Tiaan de Jager and his research team, who are applying it to South Africa and are setting guidelines to be used by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. This was made possible by the new dedicated EDC and toxicology laboratories at the SHSPH. The research on the organochlorine pesticide, DDT, not only received an award locally, but also received international attention when it was included in an international review on the state of science. This information is used by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to formulate its statements on malaria control and persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
The School of Dentistry focused on tobacco and the impact of tobacco use on health in general and oral health in particular. Prof Lekan Ayo-Yusuf proposed an integrated educational approach to promote oral health and prevent tobacco use in schoolchildren in South Africa. Further research in community dentistry identified determinants for early childhood caries and proposed a placement time frame protocol to optimise the use of fissure sealants to prevent caries in South Africa. Multidisciplinary teams in the school also evaluated various dental materials and the appropriateness of their use in South African conditions.
The Comprehensive Physical Rehabilitation Centre in the School of Health Care Sciences was approved by Senate in 2008. This exciting new venture ensures collaboration between the departments of Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Human Nutrition, Sports Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology.
The University is indebted to all the faculty members who, with vision and dedication, pursue solutions that will improve the health of all South Africans by being locally relevant, yet internationally competitive.
Prof TJ Mariba