​​​​​​​​​​​​Centre for Global Surgery​​


​Prof. Kathryn Chu

Director and Professor of Global Surgery

Prof. Chu is a general and colorectal surgeon. She received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University. She completed her medical d​​egree and general surgery residency at the University of California- San Francisco. She was a Fulbright scholar at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where she received a Master's degree in Public Health and Developing Countries. She is an adjunct professor at University of Botswana (Department of surgery), a Board member of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health and the inaugural director of the Centre of Global Surgery.​​

Ms. Tamlyn Mac Quene

Research Fellow​

Ms. Mac Quene is a global/public health and infectious diseases specialist. She received her undergraduate degree in molecular biology followed by her honour's degree in Immunology and Infectious diseases from the University of Cape Town. She completed her Master in Infectious Diseases and Public Health at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands. She has a keen interest in interdisciplinary research and work relevant to global surgery and improving equitable access to care. Currently, she works on the Equi-Injury project focused on understanding how to improve access to quality care for the injured in low-and middle-income countries.

Dr. Ntombekhaya Tshabalala

Post-Doctoral Fellow 

Dr Tshabalala is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the Equi-Injury project. She founded Imijelo yophuhliso Foundation after completing her PhD in Disability Studies at the University of Cape Town. Her keen interest is in using photo-voice and cartoons as Participatory Action Research tools to raise consciousness while mobilising community groups into social action, inclusive and compassionate leadership. Her major interests include that of contributing towards disability and financial inclusion, achieved through the establishment of Financial Resource Centres, the contact points where, in their communities, people collaboratively interrogate socio-economic challenges, receive support and mentoring on sustainable ways of addressing identified challenges.

Ms. Yonela Mali

Research Assistant

Ms. Mali completed her undergraduate degree in Bachelor of Social Science from the University of Fort Hare. She has previously worked as a research assistant on the Water and Sanitation Project in the Eastern Cape at Fort Hare Institute of Social & Economic Research. She has a keen interest in development studies and socio-economic research. Currently, she is working as a research assistant on the Equi-injury project which aims to improve access to quality care for people who are injured in low and middle-income countries.​

Mr. Zola Tshabalala

Research Assistant 

Mr. Tshabalala holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Admin & Sociology. He worked as a Youth Projects Coordinator at Imijelo, and has been involved in facilitating community engagement and participation in collaborative research as a strategy to addressing identified social challenges and disability inclusion.  Currently, he is working as a research assistant on a Equi-injury project which aims to improve access to quality care for people who are injured in low and middle-income countries. He is passionate about nurturing inclusive communities and youth empowerment.

Mrs. Olwethu Nodo

Research Assistant 

Mrs Nodo is completing her Master's Degree in Research Psychology at the University of the Western Cape. She completed her internship in 2022 under the Institute for Life Course Health Research at Stellenbosch University where she formed part of qualitative, quantitative and feasibility studies. She is passionate about community engagement, health-related research and community development. She values research studies that help improve knowledge and the quality of life for all. Currently, she is working as a research assistant on a Equi-injury project which aims to improve access to quality care for people who are injured in low and middle-income countries.

Ms. Kriste Alberts

Research Assistant 

Ms. Alberts holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Biochemistry, an Honours degree in Medical Science, specialising in Microbiology and Virology, from the University of the Free State. Ms. Alberts holds her Master’s in Public Health, with a focus on Epidemiology & Biostatistics, at the University of Cape Town. 

With a profound interest in public health, Ms. Alberts is particularly passionate about improving access to surgical care, advancing public health initiatives, and enhancing data availability within the scientific community. Her dedication to these areas is reflected in her current work on the Equi-injury project, aimed at enhancing the quality of care for individuals sustaining injuries in low- and middle-income countries.

Mrs. Mercia Companie

Administrative Assistant

Mrs. Companie holds a Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences (biomedical) undergraduate degree and a Bachelor of Science Honours in Life Science Microbiology degree from the University of South Africa. She has a keen interest in health care provision particularly research around diabetes and health equity. She completed her 2-year DSI- HSRC internship within the Centre for Global Surgery at Stellenbosch University. Currently, she works as an administrative assistant in the centre.​


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Ms. Johneliz​e Louw

Doctoral student

Ms. Louw is a virology and cancer science professional. She received her undergraduate degree in Chemical Biology, followed by an honour's degree in Medical Virology. She then completed her Master of Philosophy in Cancer Science, at the African Cancer Institute. All of her degrees were completed at the University of Stellenbosch. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in Healt​h Systems and Public Health.​

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Dr. Anronel Stofberg

Master's student

Dr. Stofberg is a medical doctor working as a medical officer/investigator at Tygerberg Hospital. She received her medical degree from the University of Stellenbosch and is currently enrolled at the University of Cape Town as a Public Health master's student. She is pursuing a career in clinical research and is passionate about evidence-based medicine to improve quality of life.​

Extraordinary Staff​

Dr. Lubna Samad

Extraordinary Senior Lecturer

Dr. Lubna Samad is a paediatric surgeon based in Karachi, Pakistan, and is dedicated to improving patient outcomes, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. She holds positions as Director at Interactive Research and Development (IRD) Global and Chairperson of the Board of Directors at IRD Pakistan. Dr. Samad has contributed to the development of innovative strategies to overcome healthcare delivery challenges in the Global South. Her work spans across research, implementation, and policy initiatives in global surgery. She led the development of Pakistan's national surgical plan and conducted the Country's first national surgical indicators survey. Dr. Samad is also involved in conceptualizing and modeling the surgical component of Pakistan's Universal Health Coverage Benefits Packages. She holds various leadership positions and is actively engaged in organizations such as the World Health Organization, the Global Initiative on Children's Surgery, and MSF's Transformational Investment Capacity Selection Committee.​

Prof. Sherry Wren

Extraordinary Professor 

Professor Wren is the Director of Global Surgery at the Center for Innovation and Global Health, Stanford University School of Medicine. She is a general surgeon with specialty interests in hepatobiliary, gastrointestinal oncology, and robotic surgery. She has work and research experience in both humanitarian surgery in conflict zones and education/ capacity building through a collaboration with the College of Surgeons of East, Central, and Southern Africa.  Currently, she serves as the Secretary of the American College of Surgeons.

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Prof. Justine Davies

Extraordinary Professor 

Prof. Davies is the Professor of Global Health at the Institute of Applied Health Research, University of Birmingham. Her academic interest includes producing evidence to build systems for improved and equitable access to quality health care, particularly in diseases amenable to surgery (including trauma) or in cardiovascular diseases. Her research covers disciplines from epidemiology to qualitative research, health service assessment, predictive modeling, economics, and implementation science. Currently she works with partners in Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Malawi, South Africa, and Ethiopia on projects with local institutes and academics to ensure capacity building.  

Tiffany Chao
Dr. Tiffany E. Chao

Extraordinary Senior Lecturer

Dr. Chao is a general surgeon at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and a Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery (affiliated) in Stanford Hospital's Department of Surgery. At Stanford, she teaches undergraduate and medical student courses on global health and serves as a Faculty Fellow with the Center for Innovation in Global Health. Dr. Chao's research interests are in global surgery, including cost-effectiveness analysis, surgical device innovation, and expansion of surgical delivery for low-income populations through surgical workforce and infrastructure development.​​

Dr. Lucia D'Ambruoso

Extraordinary Senior Lecturer

Dr. D’Ambruoso is a senior lecturer in Global Public Health, Aberdeen Centre for Health Data Science, School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition, University of Aberdeen. She is a social scientist and health policy and systems researcher interested in service organisation and delivery, the social determinants of health, and participatory theory and method. She has 20 years of international work with universities, research agencies and networks, UN organisations, and governments at different levels. Presently, she investigates child and adolescent mental health, injury and trauma care in South Africa, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Ghana and Pakistan.​

Dr. Jakub Gajewski

Extraordinary Senior Lecturer 

Dr. Gajewski is a health sociologist with extensive research experience. He has been involved in several population-based studies, including studies of young people's well-being, diabetes and epilepsy. For nearly a decade he has been the lead researcher on several implementation research projects focusing on building the surgical capacity of district hospitals in Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania. Currently, he is working as Programme Director for Research at the Institute of Global Surgery in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.​​

Dr. Owolabi​

Extraordinary Senior Lecturer 

Dr. Owolabi is a nurse/midwife and an emerging and enthusiastic nurse scientist and global health researcher. Currently, she is a presidential postdoctoral fellow at Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Arizona State University, USA, and a Research fellow at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Dr Owolabi’s research is primarily focused on reducing disparities in diabetes and other chronic diseases prevention, management, and outcomes through community-engaged and health systems research.​​

The Management Committee and Gov​erning Board​

Management Committee

  • Prof Kathryn Chu, Director: Centre for Global Surgery
  • Prof Sean Chetty, Executive Head: Department of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care
  • Prof Rene English, Head: Division of Health Systems and Public Health
  • Prof George Oosthuizen, Head: Division of General Surgery

​Governing Board

  • Prof Kathryn Chu, (Director of the Centre for Global Surgery)
  • Prof Elmi Muller (The Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, FMHS)
  • Prof Nico Gey van Pittius (Vice Dean of Research & Internationalisation, FMHS)
  • Prof Sean Chetty (Executive Head: Department of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care)
  • Prof Rene English (Head: Division of Health Systems and Public Health)
  • Prof George Oosthuizen (Head: Division of Surgery)
  • Prof Abebe Bekele (Dean of the School of Medicine, University of Global Health Equity)
  • Prof Hakon Angell Bolkan (Global Health Professor, Consultant general and abdominal surgeon, Norwegian University of Sciences and Technology)
  • Prof Heike Geduld (Senior Specialist: Western Cape Provincial Emergency Medicine Services)
  • Prof Lubna Samad (Director: Interactive Research and Development, Pakistan)​