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

What we do

1. High Impact Research

High Impact.jpg

In terms of research outputs, CARMA staff still managed a robust research output record for the last year as summarized below:

  • 49 Peer-reviewed publications; also, two non-subsidized articles and two book chapters
  • 5 PhD students graduated
  • 6 MSc students graduated

CARMA members also presented their research work at several national and international meetings. These included: seven abstracts at the annual congress of the Physiology Society of Southern Africa (PSSA) (12-15 September 2021), while five members acted as chairpersons of PSSA scientific sessions. In addition, four students were recipients of various PSSA merit awards, while Prof. Essop received the PSSA lifetime career award for research excellence. In addition, ten CARMA affiliates presented their research work at the annual MRC BRIP symposium (18-19 October 2021), while three of our students presented their research work at the annual South African Heart Congress (29-31 October 2021), with Dr Festus Kamau receiving an award for the 3rd joint prize in the oral resentation category. Two senior staff members (Profs. Barbara Huisamen and Prof. Christo Muller) delivered plenary talks at the Natural Products Symposium (8-10 November 2021), which was co-organized by Prof Hans Strijdom, together with several student presentations. Prof. Faadiel Essop delivered a major state-of-the-art talk at the 65th Annual Research Day of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University, and as an invited speaker at the 10th Society for Free Radical Research International and 8th PAEMGS congress (15-17 September 2021). Of note, Miss Danelle Botha received the 2021 Rector's Award for Excellent Achievement as the top master's student at Stellenbosch University. CARMA also identified its first principal investigators that will be regularly reviewed by the CARMA management committee and additional persons added (in accordance with the required stipulations) as deemed necessary.

2. Postgraduate Training

Current number of postgraduate students registered in CARMA:

  • 8 PhD
  • 27 MSc
  • 2 Postdoctoral fellows – both received the prestigious NRF Innovation postdoctoral fellowships for 2022-2023. 

CARMA also arranged a symposium for its postgraduate students regarding mental health, a burgeoning problem at tertiary institutions.

The virtual symposium was well attended (n=57) and the main speaker was Dr. Nance Roy of the JED Foundation, a US non-profit organization focusing on mental health and well-being.


3. Nurturing Future-Gen

These initiatives will be focused on a small number of senior postdoctoral fellows, and early- and mid-career staff/researchers. The CARMA management committee will make regular calls for prospective applicants to submit their CVs together with a detailed motivation letter. Thereafter the management committee will carefully review and discuss the submitted applications, before agreeing on the final selections. This list will be regularly reviewed by the management committee to assess the progress of the identified individuals, and to add new candidates and/or remove others as circumstances may change. For more information, please contact Prof. Faadiel Essop: mfessop@sun.ac.za.


A number of mentors will also be identified from within CARMA and then be assigned to each of the identified FutureGen researchers. Mentors and mentees will have regular, scheduled one-on-one sessions (face-to-face and/or virtual) to allow mentors to share their successful practices, alert to their past failures, and provide expert advice on career development.

Current 'mentor-mentee' pair involved in the program:

  • Mentor: Prof. Barbara Huisamen; Mentee: Dr. Danzil Joseph
  • Mentor: Prof. Hans Strijdom; Mentee: Dr. Marguerite Blignaut
  • Mentor: Prof. Faadiel Essop; Mentee: Dr. Bali Sishi
  • Mentor: Prof. Ghazwan Butrous; Mentee: Dr. Gerald Maarman


Regular seminars/webinars will be provided to mentees on topics that may include the following:

a) Research management and administration
b) Approaches to postgraduate supervision
c) Leadership skills
d) Teaching and learning skills/approaches
e) Grant writing skills development
f) Editorial skills

Podcasts of all such sessions will be made available on a cloud-based platform for future access by all students and faculty.

Lecturing opportunities:

CARMA will strive to create increased opportunities for FutureGen researchers to gain lecturing experience.

Community and public engagement:

This will overlap with activities listed in #1 above.​