Welcome to Stellenbosch University

​​​​​​​​​​​Centre for C​​​ardio-metabolic Research in Africa (CARMA)​

Meet the team


Director: Prof Faadiel Essop (PhD)

+27 76 901 9474

Qualifications: BSc degree (Biochemistry and Microbiology, 1984, UCT), BSc (Med) (Hons) degree (Medical Biochemistry, 1985, UCT), PhD degree (Chemical Pathology, 1992, UCT), BA (Hons) degree (Arabic studies, 2005, UWC).

Research Focus: Cardio-metabolic diseases, HIV-related cardiovascular diseases onset and progression, Stress-related cardio-metabolic diseases onset and progression.

Current Postgraduate Students

  • BSc. Hons.: Kaylee Losper, Mia Lombard (co-supervisor)
  • MSc: Ayesha Rasheed Shaik (co-supervisor), Logan Smith, Minette van Wyk, Cassidy O'Brien, Caitlin Odendaal, Litha Mfiki (main campus) and Tara Michaels (main campus)
  • PhD: Megan Cairns and Nyasha Mukonowenzou (main campus)
  • Postdoctoral fellow: Dr Eman Teer (main campus)

Prof. Faadiel Essop is currently a professor in the Division of Medical Physiology (Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences) at Stellenbosch University (South Africa). He is also the Director (and co-founder) of the Centre for Cardio-metabolic Research Centre in Africa (CARMA) at Stellenbosch University. He moved to Stellenbosch University (2007) where he focused on the so-called 'dual burden of disease', i.e. HIV-related cardiovascular diseases together with the onset of cardiovascular diseases in the general population that is threatening developing countries (emphasis on diabetic cardiomyopathy). He still maintains a strong interest in HIV-related cardiovascular diseases but more recently shifted his focus to also investigate the effects of chronic stress on cardiometabolic diseases onset. This is a largely understudied research area and very relevant as South Africa is regarded as one of the most stressed nations globally.​​​​


Deputy Director: Prof Hans Strijdom (PhD)

+27 76 901 9474

Qualifications: BMedSc (US, 1991); MBChB (US, 1994); PhD (US, 2006).

Research Focus: Vascular biology, cardiovascular physiology and pathophysiology, cardiovascular risk factors, endothelial function and dysfunction.

Current Postgraduate Students

  • BSc. Hons.:  Marc Lipshitz (co-supervisor), Jody Abrahams
  • MSc: Jacques van Heerden, Hannah Fokkens (co-supervisor)
  • PhD: Charnay Cunningham (co-supervisor)
  • Post-Doctoral Fellows: Dr Frans Everson ​

Hans Strijdom is a clinician-turned-academic, and currently Professor and Head of the Division of Medical Physiology and Deputy Director of the Centre for Cardio-metabolic Research in Africa at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. His broader research focuses on the physiology and pathophysiology of the cardiovascular system, with a particular interest in vascular and endothelial biology. He is currently investigating the interaction between HIV and cardio-metabolic changes in people living with HIV.

Management Committee

  • Prof. Faadiel Essop - Director
  • Prof. Hans Strijdom – Deputy Director
  • Dr. Erna Marais - Secretary
  • Dr. Bali Sishi – Ordinary member


Advisory Committee

  • Prof. Nico Gey van Pittius – joint chairperson (on rotating basis with Prof. Scholtz)
  • Prof. Frikkie Scholtz - joint chairperson (on rotating basis with Prof. van Pittius)
  • Dr. Theo Nell – secretary
  • Prof. Barbara Huisamen
  • Prof. Faadiel Essop
  • Prof. Hans Strijdom


Scientific Advisory Committee 

  • Prof. Angela Woodiwiss (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa)
  • Prof. Gary Sieck (Mayo Clinic, Minnesota, United States of America)
  • Prof. Michael Sack (National Health Institute, Washington DC, United States of America)
  • Prof. Alta Schutte (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia) 

The rationale for the establishment of a CARMA Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) is to afford an opportunity for biomedical scientists and other experts (of national and international standing) to provide high‐level strategic advice and insights on a regular basis to the CARMA leadership regarding the fulfilment of the centre's vision and mission. The following guidelines will apply in terms of the appointment of SAC members and also its operational nature:

1. The CARMA management committee will put forward nominations of potential candidates for discussion, and then select (by consensus) four SAC committee members to serve in this capacity for a three‐year term. If a decision cannot be reached by consensus regarding the appointment of a SAC member(s), then the Director will make the final decision in this instance.

2. In terms of the nomination and final selection of SAC members, the following aspects must be considered: (i) individuals possessing a strong footprint in terms of their research profile, (ii) experience regarding the acquisition of major funding, (iii) evidence of significant leadership positions, (iv) connections with research and broader policy‐making agencies, (v) leading roles in national and international learned societies, (vi) links and contributions to various media platforms and broader societal connections. In addition, diversity and gender parity should also be implemented in terms of the SAC's establishment. As it is likely that a single individual may not possess all such listed attributes, the management committee should ensure that there is a good spread of these qualities across the various SAC appointees.

3. SAC appointees may be re‐appointed by the CARMA management committee for a second and final term. This process will occur during the final year of the SAC member's appointment, where the management committee will formally discuss the appointee's contributions and performance. If these conditions are satisfactorily met, then the management committee can appoint the SAC member for an additional term. However, the management committee also reserves the right to not appoint a SAC member for a second term if so decided.

4. If a SAC member is no longer available to participate in this capacity then the management committee will meet to nominate and appoint a new member as discussed in guideline #1 above.  

5. The management committee holds the right to remove any SAC member at any time should such a member act in any manner that contravenes the law, or that hinders CARMA's operations, or that brings CARMA's reputation into disrepute, or by acting in any way that is deemed unethical by standards established by Stellenbosch University.

6. The SAC meetings should be convened at least once a year and will be attended by the four appointed members, together with CARMA's Director and Deputy Director. The meeting will be convened and chaired by the Director and in his/her absence by the Deputy Director. For the meeting to proceed, a quorum of four is required that should consist of at least three SAC members and at least one of the Director or Deputy Director being present. If there is no quorum, then the SAC meeting will be postponed until a later, suitable date that will be set by the Director or in his/her absence by the Deputy Director.​