The Neuroscience Institute is bringing together researchers and clinicians to understand the human brain in health and disease, address African and global health challenges, and grow African capacity in neuroscience.
Infectious diseases like HIV and TB, along with parasites, are a major cause of neurological disease in Africa. Researchers at the Neuroscience Institute are leading the fightback against these conditions.
South Africa faces an epidemic of trauma- and drug-induced brain damage and mental disorders. Neuroscience Institute researchers are working to better understand brain injury and its long-term health impacts.
Epilepsy – a disorder that causes abnormal electrical brain activity leading to recurring seizures – can affect anyone. Although daily medication can treat the condition, doctors are increasingly recommending surgery as a cure for patients who don’t respond to medical treatment. A multidisciplinary team of specialists from the University of Cape Town (UCT) is making sure that more and more patients with drug-resistant epilepsy are cured.
Dr Ursula Rohlwink joined the University of Cape Town (UCT) Division of Neurosurgery in 2009. Since then, her work has focused on children with traumatic brain injury and the neuro-infection tuberculous (TB) meningitis, which comes about when the TB bacterium infects the central nervous system’s membranes. In 2018, she was awarded one of the first fellowships of the Neuroscience Institute, and recently received a African Career Accelerator award from the Crick African Network.
Recent growth in availability of safe and non-invasive techniques for visualising the brain has had a huge impact on how we study children’s brains. UCT researchers Professor Kirsty Donald and Professor Ernesta Meintjes explain what they have learnt about how young brains develop in high-risk contexts.
The University of Cape Town (UCT) Neuroscience Institute is designed to be comprehensive in nature and cross-cutting in function. This distinguishes it from similar institutes in the global north and makes it possible for experts in a range of fields to come together to better understand African challenges: the interplay between the brain and conditions like trauma or infection, and its consequences for brain development and function.