Clinical Genetics
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Division of Molecular Biology & Human Genetics


Clinical Genetics 

​Our team

Dr Michael Urban
Qualifications: BSc(Med), MBBCh, FCPaed(SA), Subspeciality(Med Genetics), MMed
Position: Head of Clinical Unit: Clinical Genetics and Genetic Counselling, Tygerberg Hospital and Stellenbosch University.
Mike Urban qualified as a paediatrician and clinical geneticist at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and now provides a clinical genetic service at Tygerberg Hospital and its referral area in the Western Cape. He also has national commitments through his positions in the Southern African Society of Human Genetics and the College of Medical Geneticists. He is committed to making clinical genetics locally relevant, and his research interests include public health aspects of clinical genetics and fetal alcohol syndrome.


Professor Greetje de Jong

Qualifications: BSc(Hons), MBCHB, MD
Position: Clinical Geneticist, Tygerberg Hospital
Greetje de Jong has recently retired as Head of the Clinical Unit, and continues to work part-time at Tygerberg Academic Hospital. In addition she conducts a clinic for private patients at our offices in the Stellenbosch University Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. She has particular interest in genetic syndromes and prenatal genetics.



Professor Denis Viljoen
Qualifications: MBCHB, FCPaed, MD
Position: Clinical Geneticist, Tygerberg Hospital
Denis Viljoen is the former Head of Department of Human Genetics at the University of Witwatersrand and works part-time as a clinical geneticist at Tygerberg Hospital. He has an interest in dysmorphic syndromes and is the doyen of fetal alcohol syndrome research in South Africa, for which he received the 2012 Henry Rosett Award (the topic international award for fetal alcohol syndrome research). He is chairman of the Foundation for Alcohol Related Research.


Dr Heidre Bezuidenhout
Qualifications: MBChB, DCH, MSc
Position: Registrar in Clinical Genetics
Dr Bezuidenhout graduated from the University of Stellenbosch with MBChB in 1998. Completed a Diploma in Child Health in 2004 (College of Medicine, South Africa) and a Masters in Paediatric Neurodevelopment at the University of Witwatersrand in 2010. Past clinical experience include Paediatrics, Neonatology and Developmental medicine as well as research on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders at the University of Stellenbosch. She is currently in a registrar training position in Medical Genetics at Tygerberg Hospital and registered for a MMed in Medical Genetics at the University of Stellenbosch.



Dr Emma Krzesinski
Position: Registrar in Clinical Genetics

I did my MB, ChB through Stellenbosch University and qualified in 2004. After one year of internship and one year of community service I came back to Tygerberg Hospital where I worked as a Medical Officer in Paediatrics followed by 2 years as a Sub-investigator at the Children's Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Unit (KID-CRU).Here I worked on TB prevention, antiretroviral and prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) trials.

I have been a registrar in Medical Genetics since February 2011 and am currently entering my 3rd year of training. I am interested in documenting the prevalence and incidence of common birth defects in our population and will be exploring this in my Master's thesis.


Mardelle Schoeman
Qualifications:BSc (Biological life Sciences), BSc (Hons) Genetics, MSc (Med) Genetic Counselling
Position: Senior genetic counsellor
Mardelle Schoeman obtained her Masters degree in Genetic Counelling from UCT in 2007. After completing her internship training, she gained experience working in the field of genetic counselling across the spectrum of genetic conditions in various places, including: Groote Schuur Hospital, Tygerberg Hospital, as well as in private. She currently works at Tygerberg Hospital as the senior genetic counsellor and also sees private patients at our offices in the Stellenbosch University Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. She represents genetic counsellors on the National Genetic Counsellors Committee and is also the genetic counselling representative on the Committee for Medical Scientists of the HPCSA. Her main areas of interest include cancer genetics and neurogenetic disorders.


Chantelle Scott
Qualifications: MSc (Med) Genetic Counselling
Position: Genetic counsellor
Chantelle completed her undergraduate studies in 2007 and Hons degree in Genetics in 2008 at Stellenbosch University. She then enrolled for the MSc (Med) degree in Genetic counselling at the University of Cape Town and graduated in 2011. After graduation she completed her internship at Tygerberg Hospital and the Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Stellenbosch University. Chantelle is currently working in the division as a part-time Genetic counsellor. She also has a strong interest in research, especially focusing on Down syndrome and is currently enrolled for a PhD in Human Genetics. Her proposed project title is: “Understanding decision-making regarding prenatal testing for Down syndrome and termination of pregnancy: A Critical Phenomenological Study”.
Monika Esser
Qualifications: Paediatric Rheumatology Subspecialist
Position: Head of Immunology Unit, NHLS Tygerberg & Stellenbosch University

              Consultant for Paediatric Immunology and Rheumatology Clinics
Research interest: 1. South African Primary Immunodeficiency Register Study –2006 ongoing project . PI M.Esser
2. HIV Exposed uninfected Infant and Mother Infant Health Study collaborative studies with the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. PI M.Esser

3. Identification of novel candidate genes for susceptibility to tuberculosis by identifying disease causing mutations in individuals with Primary Immunodeficiencies. Co-PI

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS include the South African Paediatric Association,South African Immunology Society, Allergy Society of South Africa- chair of Primary Immunodeficiency work group,African Society for Immunodeficiencies- founder member and past chairperson, South African Rheumatology Society, European Society for Immunodeficiency Diseases

OTHER POSITIONS : Chairperson of HOPE CAPE TOWN Association,  NGO, HIV Outreach and Education