HEALTH SCIENCES > CLINICAL LABORATORY SCIENCES > DIVISION OF CHEMICAL PATHOLOGY

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(Including the Chemical Pathology sections of Groote Schuur Hospital and Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital)

Head of Division:  Acting HOD Dr George VD Watt

Divisional Profile

The Division of Chemical Pathology is comprised of both academic and diagnostic sections. The academic section is located in the Faculty of Health Sciences and the diagnostic laboratories are based in  NHLS core laboratory, Groote Schuur Hospital and and Red Cross Children’s Hospital. These  offer a comprehensive dedicated routine chemical pathology diagnostic service to both adult and paediatric patients attending the Groote Schuur and Red Cross Children’s Hospitals. There is extensive clinical interaction with members of staff participating actively at the laboratory/ward interface by attendance at ward rounds and clinical meetings with the Division of Endocrinology, Porphyria service and the Lipid Clinic. The Division has a strong specialist diagnostics and research focus on metabolic disorders of acquired and familial aetiology. In addition, the Division has a proud historical tradition of basic science research that cascades down into registrar training. Teaching commitments address both undergraduate and postgraduate needs with a number of MSc, PhD and MMed students under current supervision. The Division is also actively involved in contributing to the teaching programmes of the Division of Medical Biochemistry and the Department of Molecular Cell Biology in the Faculty of Science.

Research activities cover the molecular cell biology of insulin signalling and insulin resistance, the molecular basis of metabolic disease in HIV/AIDS, identification of new biomarkers using proteomics, biochemical mechanisms of ion and drug pumps, the identification of new drug targets in Tuberculosis and Leishmaniasis, the molecular genetics of inherited metabolic disorders, mitochondrial myopathies and erythrocyte antioxidant biochemistry. Individual researchers have established international collaborations across the world. The Division is actively engaged in a number of outreach programmes across Africa. Strong academic links are in place with Walter Sisulu University and there are regular teaching/ examining visits from academic staff of the Division of Chemical Pathology to Mthatha. A joint registrar training platform has been established with the University of Stellenbosch and joint academic activities take place regularly between the two Divisions. The Division also regularly hosts supernumerary staff from neighbouring SADC countries (currently Malawi and Zambia) for the purpose of postgraduate training.  The Division has established itself as one of the premier Chemical Pathology academic units in Africa for training and research. The Division has held a number of training courses in laboratory methods and laboratory management and has become the preferred provider of these in Africa. In addition, the Division has an active academic programme which is comprised of CPD-accredited weekly journal clubs, seminars and clinical ‘grand rounds’. The Division has also established a tradition of hosting international guest lecturers under the auspices of the Visiting Lecturer’s fund.

The Division’s Research Laboratories and expertise have attracted junior and senior colleagues from other specialties and institutions who have been keen to interact with colleagues in the Division. In particular, these have included the Department of Medicine (Prof. Bongani Mayosi, Prof. Peter Meissner); the Department of Chemical Pathology at the University of Stellenbosch (Prof Rajiv Erasmus); Anatomical Pathology, University of Cape Town (Prof Dhiren Govender).

Highlights

Professor Pillay has accepted a position to the University of KwaZulu Natal as Deputy Vice Chancellor.

As of August 2010 Dr Van Der Watt has been acting HOD and an active recruitment for an HOD is ongoing.

Dr David Haarburger was awarded the Van Slyke Travel award by the American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC).

Dr George van der Watt organised the second South African inherited metabolic disease symposium in Cape Town in March 2010.

Dr Van Der Watt, Dr Fierdoz Omar and Dr Haarburger were awarded their MMed in Chemical Pathology in UCT.

Both Dr Haarburger and Dr Van Der Watt‘s dissertations were awarded distinctions.

The division initiated and began the groundwork for a sustained outreach and academic program to both the Port Elizabeth and East London NHLS academic laboratory services.

The Division of Chemical Pathology website continues to be rated amongst the top sites in Google and has contributed to the high international Webometric rating of the University.

 

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