Medical Physiology
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

​​​​​​Division Medical Physiology ​

Neuroscience Research Group

Introduction and Research Focus

Our SU Tygerberg behavioural Neuroscience lab focuses on trying to understand mental disorders using animal models. Our research does not only focus on animal models, but it is also translated in humans. The primary focus of our research entails the role of stress in neuropathic pain and sexual violence in both females and males.

Sexual Violence is a serious public health and human rights violation that results in both short- and long-term extensive consequences on the physical, mental, and sexual health of victims. The perspectives that drive men into sexual violence can have far reaching consequences beyond pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, which may include posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and aggression.  A wealth of research has placed focus on therapeutic and psychological interventions for victims of sexual violence. While these interventions are of high importance, to bring a holistic intervention on the scourge of sexual violence the underlying factors perpetuating men to commit crimes of sexual violence are imperative to understand. Therefore, our research offers a bidirectional approach on the understanding the factors that influence men to commit sexual violent crimes and the role of the Hypothalamic Pituitary axis in both men and woman. 

Our pain research explores various conditions that exacerbate pain and novel therapeutic agents for pain management using advanced tools and methods in human and animal models. Our research is also directed towards minimizing the psychoactive side effects of cannabis, which is increasingly accepted as a potent analgesic but limited by its negative effect on the nervous system. Our pain research is pioneered by Professor Sean Chetty the head of Anaesthesiology at SU Tygerberg campus alongside his Postdoc student Dr Sherif Isa. 

More importantly, the lab will serve to foster a progressive collaboration between clinical and basic science researcher.

Project Leader

Dr Lihle Qulu

Senior Lecturer

Tel: +27219389391


Post-Doctoral Fellow: 
  • Dr Thando SHABANGU​

Ph.D. Students:
  • Elvis NGALA
  • Chelsi FORTUIN​​​​​​​
  • Lindokuhle NGUBANE​

M.Sc. Students:
  • Hannah MIDZUK
  • ​Chloë MC DONALD​
  • Anique WOLMARANS

B.Sc. (Hons) Students:
  • Abigail Kayla CALITZ