By addressing existing knowledge gaps and strengthening African research networks, we seek solutions to African challenges and work to ensure that African priorities are represented in global neuroscience.
The African genome is the oldest, and as such, the most diverse in the world. But Africans have largely been under-represented in neurogenetic studies. The University of Cape Town (UCT) Neuroscience Institute is helping to change that through a range of forward-looking, international, collaborative projects on genetics and the nervous system.
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.