Medical Physiology
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Division of Medical Physiology

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Staff - ​Researchers

Emeritus Professor​ Barbara HUISAMEN


Tel: +27 21 938 9688

Qualifications: PhD
Research Group: Centre for Cardio-metabolic Research in Africa (CARMA)
Research Focus: 
1. The involvement of the ataxia-telangiectasia (ATM) protein kinase in the development of a diabetic cardiomyopathy, its role in: (i) aging and senescence of the heart, (ii) the ER stress response and (iii) fatty acid-induced oxidative stress in the endothelium using cell culture- and animal models. Furthermore, studies include the effects of obesity and exercise on the expression of ATM.  These studies are in collaboration with Dr M Blignaut
2. The prevention of Doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity: A mechanistic study in collaboration with Drs R Johnson and L Mabasa of the SA-MRC. 
3. The possible use of extracts isolated from Asphalatus linearis as anti-diabetic, anti-hypertensive and cardioprotective substances using rat models of diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance. These studies include (i) measurement of blood pressure, (ii) analysis of the vascular bed reactivity, (iii) ex vivo heart perfusions and (iv) mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation potential as well as (v) analyses of the kidneys. These studies are in collaboration with Drs E Marais and S Windvogel.  
Current Postgraduate Students
MSc: Miss Anique Wolmarans and Tamryne Brink
PhD: Mrs Danelle Bester 

Dr Amanda Genis

Senior Research Assistant

Tel: +27 21 938 9072

Qualifications: BSc Psychology (UNISA); HSc Psychology (UNISA); MSc Medical Physiology (US); PhD Medical Physiology (US)
Research Group: Centre for Cardio-metabolic Research in Africa (CARMA)
Research Focus: Effect of HIV proteins and ART on endothelial function.
Current Postgraduate Students
PhD: Miss Charnay Cunningham​


Senior Researcher/Principal Investigator

Tel: +27 21 938 9814


Qualifications: BSc (Biochemistry and Microbiology), BSc Honours (Biochemistry), MSc (Biochemistry), PhD (Biochemistry) (all from Stellenbosch University)
Research Group: Centre for Cardio-metabolic Research in Africa (CARMA)
Research Focus: Metabolism, obesity, animal models of obesity, adipose tissue and adipose stem cells, ex vivo stem cell models of obesity and metabolism (fat and bone), anti-obesity products, nutraceuticals, Rooibos. We currently have an active research project examining the adverse metabolic and reproductive side-effects of olanzapine, a widely-prescribed 2nd-generation anti-psychotic medication, in male and female rats.
Current Postgraduate Students
BSc Hons.: Casey Wheeler (Clinical Anatomy)​
MSc: Miss Natasha Marnewick, Miss Tamryne Brink, Miss Sune Bester, Miss Mpho Mokoape (SAMRC-BRIP) and Mr Vusi Ntywankile (Clinical Anatomy)
PhD: Miss Thembeka Nyawo (SAMRC-BRIP), Mr Vuyolwethu Mbombela and Miss Yashthi Ramsunder

Dr Ingrid WEBS​TER

Principle Research Officer

Tel: +27 21 938 9386

>> Biography

>> Curriculum Vitae​​​

>> Publications

Qualifications: BSc (Physiology, Genetics and Biochemistry); Honours Physiology; MsC Medical Physiology; PhD Medical Physiology.
Research Group: Centre for Cardio-metabolic Research in Africa (CARMA)
Research Focus: Mito-SAKen, HIV and endothelial function. 
Current Postgraduate Students
MSc: Miss Kheya Mokoena

Dr Marguerite Blignaut

Part-time Researcher​

Qualifications: BSc. Animal Biotechnology (SU), BSc. Hons Genetics (SU), MSc. Genetics (SU), PhD Medical Physiology (SU).
Research Group: Centre for Cardio-metabolic Research in Africa (CARMA)
Research Focus: ​My research focus on the characterisation of molecular pathways as well as mitochondrial function and dynamics, focussing specifically on Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated protein kinase, as a potential biomarker and treatment target in cardiovascular disease, using in vitro cell-based studies, ex vivo animal models and microscopy. 
Current Postgraduate Students
BSc Hons.: Jeanne Du Plessis
MSc: Miss Gemma Krausey, Mr Stephen Southway, Mr Jeffrey Pieterse and Miss Nokulunga Mlaba
PhD: Mrs Danelle Bester