Biomedical research in Africa

Michele Ramsay, Director, NHL, Wits University, South Africa

New insights from a pan-African genome-wide association study with lipid levels: an AWI-Gen sub-study

Michele Ramsay (PhD) is the director of the Sydney Benner Institute for Molecular Bioscience (SBIMB) at the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg), professor in human genetics and South African Research Chair holder in Genomics and Bioinformatics of African Populations. As a member of the Human Heredity and Health in Africa Consortium (H3Africa), she leads the AWI-Gen study on the genetic and environmental contributions to obesity and cardiometabolic disease risk in six study sites across four African countries. Her research aims to shed light on the role of African population genomic variation in susceptibility to diseases, given the ethnolinguistic and environmental diversity across the continent. Website.

Ananyo Choudhury, Senior Researcher, NHL, Wits University, South Africa

Genomic data from >5000 South Africans reveal novel sub-structure reflecting the complex demographic history within South-Eastern Bantu speaker populations

Ananyo Choudhury obtained his Masters in Zoology from the University of Kalyani, India and a Ph.D. in Bioinformatics from the University of Calcutta, India. He moved to South Africa in 2010 to join the Sydney Brenner Institute for Molecular Bioscience (SBIMB) at University of the Witwatersrand as a Postdoctoral Fellow. He is presently employed at SBIMB as a Senior Scientist and co-leading the AWI-Gen genome-wide association study (GWAS) as well AWI-Gen population structure study analyst teams. He has contributed to many of the major genomic studies conducted in Africa, including the African Genome Variation Project (AGVP), the H3Africa genotyping array design, the H3Africa Whole Genome Study and the Southern African Human Genome Program (SAHGP). His key interests are population genomics, genomics of complex traits and developing computational resources for genomic analysis. Website.

Himla Soodyall, Professor,Executive Officer of the ASSAf, and MRC/NHLS/Wits University, South Africa

A holistic approach towards understanding the past: the example of four women from Kwa-Zulu Natal (South Africa)

Himla Soodyall [B.Sc (Hons) at UDW; M.Sc in Biotechnology at Wits; and PhD in Human Genetics at Wits] is the Executive Officer of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf). An ASSAf member since 2003, she was elected to the ASSAf Council in 2011 and appointed general secretary in 2014. Prior to joining ASSAf on 1st November 2018, she was employed as a Principal Medical Scientist in the Division of Human Genetics at the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) and University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). Her research focusses on using molecular genetic tools to reconstruct the evolutionary history and affinities of sub-Saharan African populations. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, including the Order of Mapungubwe (Bronze Medal), by President Mbeki in 2005. Website.