Medical Physiology
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Division of Medical Physiology

​​​​​​​​​Staff - ​Extraordinary Appointments​

Prof Gerhard VAN DER HORST


Tel: +27 21 554-5578/ +27 82 202 3560

>>Curriculum Vitae

Research Group: Stellenbosch University Reproductive Research Group  (with Prof Stefan du Plessis and Bonge Skosana) and Comparative Spermatology Group, University of the Western Cape (with Dr Liana Maree and Dr Retha Kotze).
Research Focus: Human spermatology with a focus on infertility and comparative spermatology with a focus on development of advanced techniques such as Computer Aided Sperm Analysis and recently development of three-D tracking of sperm and sperm flagellar analysis at high frame rates (>160fps). These techniques with several other sperm functional tests are complimentary in understanding sperm biology, sperm quality and the potential of sperm to fertilize the oocyte.

Prof Christo MULLER

Associate Professor

Tel: ​+27 21-938 0824

>>Curriculum Vitae

Research Group: SAMRC’s Biomedical Research and Innovation Platform (BRIP).
Research Focus: ​Metabolic disease (pathophysiology, prevention and treatment), phytotherapeutics and early detection of type 2 diabetes.

Dr Marlon CERF

Senior Lecturer

Tel: +27 21 938 0818

Research Group: Developmental programming (diabetes and cardiovascular disease)
Research Focus: Marlon has a research background in non-communicable diseases and developmental programming. His focus is on diabetes and the endocrine pancreas studying islet morphology (beta- and alpha-cell dynamics), key islet cell transcription factors, glucose sensing and insulin signaling factors, and lipid profiles. He also has a strong interest in cardiovascular and other metabolic diseases. Marlon has published mainly in the fields of islet biology, nutrition, physiology and pediatrics and has served on several journal editorial boards.


Senior Lecturer

Tel: +27 21 938 0866

>>Curriculum Vitae

Research Group: Cardiomertabolism and Hypertension
Research Focus: Her main research niche is on understanding the disease pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease and hypertension. In her current focus area, she has published 58 articles (Scopus h-index of 20 with 1158 citation) and filed one patent application. She has built both local and international collaborations and graduated young black students from various Under-Resourced institutes. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, she has played an active role in setting up and managing the SAMRC/BRIP’s SARS-Co-V2 wastewater surveillance program.


Senior Lecturer

Tel: +27 21 9380292

>>Curriculum Vitae​

Research Group: Biomedical Research & Innovation Platform (Epigenetics Group)
Research Focus: ​Using molecular and epigenetic mechanisms to elucidate the pathophysiology of obesity, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes, the identification of biomarkers capable of predicting disease risk, and investigating the therapeutic potential of indigenous plant extracts against these conditions.​


Senior Lecturer

Tel: +27 21 9380261

Research Group: Non-Communicable Diseases Research Unit, SAMRC
Research Focus: ​Fatty acid status/metabolism in health and disease

​Dr Nireshni CHELLAN


Tel: 021 938 0362

Research Group:  Biomedical Research & Innovation Platform (Beta Cell Group)
Research Focus: ​​Currently, my research focus is on the development of a more physiologically relevant pancreatic beta cell model in vitro. The model will ideally reflect more of the pathophysiology seen in human type 2 diabetes, and will form an intermediate between standard cell culture and the use of sentient animals.



Tel: 021 9380844

Research Group: Biomedical Research and Innovation Platform
Research Focus: ​​The role of intestinal inflammation and immune status in the development of metabolic diseases using cell culture and animal models.

Dr Tarryn Willmer

Senior Lecturer

Tel: +27 21 938 0269​

Research Group:  Biomedical Research & Innovation Platform (Epigenetics Group)
Research Focus: ​​Identification of epigenetic biomarkers and therapeutic targets against obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, with a special focus on the role and regulation of DNA methylation in these diseases. My research also includes the use of cell culture and rodent models to explore the potential of indigenous plant extracts in reversing pathogenic epigenetic modifications in these diseases.