9th November 2015

Members

Executive Committee:

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PhD Candidate - Neuroscience
University of Cape Tow
Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health
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Clinical Research Fellow and Medical Student
University of Cape Town
Psychiatry and Mental Health
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Senior Lecturer
Cape Town
Psychiatry and Mental Health
Biography:

My research aims are to understand the neurobiological mechanisms which underlie the diagnosis of schizophrenia - using innovative, interdisciplinary, and translational neuroscience

Description of current research:

Translational neuroscience: bridging the gap between basic and clinical neuroscience in severe mental disorders – including schizophrenia. This is being achieved using basic neuroscience animal models and multi-modal brain imaging techniques in clinical populations.

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PhD
UCT
Psychiatry
Approved
Biography:

I head the Psychiatric Genetics laboratory at the Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University. We investigate the molecular aetiology of PTSD and stress-related disorders.

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Retired Senior Scholar/ Research Professor
University of Cape Town / University of KwaZulu-Natal
Human Biology / neuroscience
Biography:

Viv Russell supervised/mentored MSc and PhD students at Stellenbosch, UCT and UKZN. She published 145 papers and is a Fellow of UCT and the Physiological Society of SA. She has contributed to training in neuroscience in Africa and Chairs the IBRO Center for Advanced Training in Neuroscience at UCT

Description of current research:

A study of animal models of brain disorders including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, and the effects of stress, alcohol and exercise on the brain

General Members:

Approved
Sessional Lecturer
University of Johannesburg
Human Anatomy and Physiology
Description of current research:

Sleep nuclei in Perissodactyls

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CEO
Part time lecturer at UP & Neuro-Link
Biography:

Developing people makes my heart sing! I assist schools, universities and businesses by moving performance forward. As CEO of Neuro-Link, I help organizations/teams/people out-think, out-learn &out-create their competition by utilizing the neuroscience of learning to improve performance.

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Neurophysiologist / MSc physiology
University of Pretoria / Neuro-Link
Department of Physiology / Neurophysiology
Biography:

I have a passion for neuroscience, research and people development. I am currently part of Neuro-Link, a company that specializes in the neuroscience of learning helping people develop themselves in terms of brain performance and potential. I am also currently doing research on the Corpus Callosum.

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Educational Psychologist
University of Pretoria
Department of Humanities Education
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Lecturer in Anatomy
University of Cape Town
Division of Clinical Anatomy and Biological Anthropology
Biography:

Lecturer in Clinical Anatomy and Neuroanatomy

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Senior Lecturer and Principal Investigator
University of Cape Town
Human Biology
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PhD Nutrition
North West University
Centre of Excellence for Nutrition
Description of current research:

The aim of my PhD research is:
To investigate the effects of maternal iron (Fe) and omega-3 fatty acid (n-3 FA) depletion and repletion, and potential Fe and n-3 FA interactions, on offspring neurodevelopment, and to determine whether the effects are sex-specific.

The specific objectives are:
- To investigate whether the effects of a maternal double-deficiency in Fe and n-3 FAs (ID+n-3 FAD) during pregnancy affects offspring brain biochemistry, cognition and behaviour to a greater extent than a single deficiency.
- To assess whether the provision of Fe and docosahexaenoic acid plus eicosapentaenoic acid (DHA/EPA), alone or in combination, to double-deficient (ID+n-3 FAD) female rats during the first trimester can prevent neurodevelopmental deficits in the offspring.
- To evaluate whether providing Fe and DHA/EPA in combination to double-deficient (ID+n-3 FAD) female rats before conception is more effective in preventing deficits in offspring brain biochemistry, cognition and behaviour, than when it is provided post-conception.

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Research Fellow
University of the Witwatersrand
School of Public Health
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Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Calgary
Hotchkiss Brain Institute
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NRF intern / PhD in Neuroanatomy
University of Pretoria
Department of Anatomy
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Educator
Walter Sisulu University
Human Biology, Morphological Sciences
Description of current research:

Exploring the development of socio-cognitive skills in health sciences students (undergrads) using active methods in cooperative/collaborative learning settings.

Approved
Research Fellow
University of Pretoria
Zoology and Entomology
Approved
MSc Neuroscience
University of the Western Cape
Neuroscience/Forensics/microbiology
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Msc Biotechnology (1st enrollment)
The University of Western Cape
Department of Biotechnology
Biography:

Masters Student (Biotechnology)

Description of current research:

A neuropathological endophenotypic approach to understanding the genetic basis underlining criminal beahviour of females in South Africa

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Business co-owner
Tessame Consulting SA
Biography:

I am very passionate about the field of Neuroscience and its relevance to Organisational Development.

Description of current research:

Organisational Neuroscience

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Lecturer
University of the Witwatersrand
Oral Biological Sciences
Description of current research:

HIV drug/ prophylactics effects of Oral epithelial cell lines.
Oral sensors in the oral region

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medical doctor
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PhD student
Faculty of Medicine University of Fez Morocco
Clinical laboratory of Neurosciences
Approved
Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Cape Town
Psychiatry and Mental Health
Description of current research:

Intergenerational transmission of traumatic stress & related disorders (including epigenetics)

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Residency program of neurosurgery
Université Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah of Fez
Neurosurgery
Description of current research:

Introduction: Cavernous malformations or cavernoma are hamartomas-like uncommon vascular malformations of the central nervous system characterized by abnormally dilated blood vessels with a thin endothelium without intervening normal nervous tissue. Spinal cord cavernomas are rare entity but has been reported in literature.
Here, we report an extremely rare case of bifocal localization of spinal cord intramedullary cavernous malformations in the cervical and thoracic regions
Case: A 40-year-old Arabic man, who presented with a three month history of acute cervical and thoracic pain with progressive weakness of right lower limb. Neurological examination revealed a spastic monoparesis of his right leg. Spinal cord MRI revealed two cavernous malformations at cervical and thoracic level. The patient underwent a surgical excision of the two lesions and a histopathological examination done by two different pathology laboratories revealed the features of cavernous malformation.
Conclusion: Spinal cord intramedullary cavernous malformations although rare have a significant morbidity. It should be diagnosed early on a range of nonspecific clinical and MRI findings and then treated early

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assistant professor of biophysics and MRI methods
faculty of medicine and pharmacy, Fes, Morocco
biophysics and MRI methods
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Psychiatrist/Doctoral Student
Makerere University
Psychiatry
Description of current research:

Understanding risk profiles to improve assessment of cognitive function in patients with psychosis

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Postdoc
Stellenbosch University
Genetics
Description of current research:

Currently my research focus is on the pharmacogenomics of antipsychotic treatment response, specifically the role that genes involved in DNA methylation may play in altering individual responses to schizophrenia medication.

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Research Coordinator
Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta
Division of Neurology, Department of ainternal Medicine
Description of current research:

Effect of Increase in free radical on the genome and its effect on the brain (psychology)

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Clinical Neuroscience
KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme
Neuroscience & Mental Health
Description of current research:

I am broadly interested in understanding the burden, pathogenesis and consequences of mental and neurological disorders in people living in Africa. Specifically, I have conducted and published studies on epilepsy, acute seizures, cerebral malaria and mental health problems as part of my PhD. I am now developing a new line of research on neurogenetics, which will be the focus of my training during the postdoctoral period.

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Senior Research Fellow
UCL
Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
Description of current research:

Humans interact with each other to share information and make decisions. Our lab investigates the cognitive and neurobiological basis of interactive decision making. We use behavioural psychological testing, functional and structural brain imaging and psychopharmacology techniques to understand human interactive behaviour.

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Assistant Professor
University of York
Psychology
Description of current research:

Face Perception

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Ph.D(NEUROPSYCHOLOGY)
MAKERERE UNIVERSITY
PSYCHIATRY
Description of current research:

Psychology students’ understanding and experiences in the application of neuro imaging techniques in clinical practice: A qualitative study.

Author
Ann Jacquelline Nakitende
Email:janakitex@yahoo.com
Mob: (256) 712851619

ABSTRACT
Students enrolled for the Master of Science in Clinical Psychology course at the Makerere University School of Psychology; are required to attend the mandatory course units of which neuropsychology is part. There is a dearth of knowledge in understanding the neuroimaging methods and application in the provision of appropriate psychotherapy. The purpose of this study will be to explore Master of Science in Clinical Psychology students’ understanding, experiences and ability to apply neuroimaging methods in Clinical practice.

This will be a qualitative study using phenomenological approaches. Five students will be exposed to different neuroimaging methods. They will be required to name the method and its purpose in brain function. Another group of five students will be exposed to films and required to identify and name the brain areas and anomalies shown. Data will be collected using in-depth interviews conducted in English, a language of instruction in schools. Interviews will be audio recorded. Data will be manually analyzed using content analysis. The main themes and subthemes exploring Master of Science in Clinical Psychology students’ understanding, experiences and ability to apply neuroimaging methods in clinical practice will be generated.

Therefore findings from this study will act as a guide in teaching Master of Science in Clinical Psychology students’, skills and knowledge in the understanding of neuroimaging methods and their application in brain function and behavior.

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PhD in Neurosciences
University of Cape Town
Division of Neurosurgery
Biography:

PhD student in Neuroscience

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Radiologist
Korle bu Teaching Hospital
Radiology
Description of current research:

CT imaging findings in HIV/AIDS patients

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Assistant Professor
1- Institut supérieur des Sciences de la Santé, Settat, Université Hassan 1er, Complexe Universitaire, route de Casablanca B.P 555 Settat, Morocco. 2-Laboratory of Neurosciences, Pharmacology and Environment, Cadi Ayyad University (UCAM), Faculty of Sciences Semlalia, B.P. 2390, Marrakesh, Morocco
Biomedical sciences/Neurosciences
Description of current research:

Dehydration is a powerful stimulus causing disequilibrium in homeostasis of water and electrolytes resulting from depletion in total body water. Most studies have focused on domestic and laboratory animals; however, the study of desert animals allows improved understanding about water balance and resistance to dehydration and associated behavioral changes, including those related to voluntary movements. Meriones shawi (Shaw’s Jird) is a desert rodent characterized by its resistance to long periods of thirst that can extend for several months. In the present study, M. shawi were subjected to water deprivation for 1 month. We used tyrosine hydroxylase immunohistochemistry (TH: the key enzyme of catecholamine biosynthesis) to evaluate the effects of prolonged dehydration on the dopaminergic system in both substancia nigra pars compacta and ventral tegmental area (SNpc and VTA), which are the main sources of dopamine input to several brain areas; the immunolabelling was performed also in both the medial forebrain bundle and the caudate putamen (striatum). In addition, the open-field test was used to evaluate the effect of dehydration on locomotor activity in M. shawi. The results showed an increase in TH immunolabelling in both SNpc and VTA following 1 month of dehydration compared to control levels. The same results were obtained with fibers in both MFB and striatum. This augmentation of TH immunoreactivity was accompanied by noticeable changes in locomotor activity behavior of Meriones, the recording test shows the hyperactivity of animals which is probably caused by dehydration. Overall, the results indicate that dehydration is able to increase dopaminergic neurotransmission, which might be involved in generating hyperactivity in this desert animal.

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Teaching & Research
Babcock University, Nigeria
Anatomy & Neuroscience
Description of current research:

One of the clinical significance of the sella turcica is the empty sella syndrome which is the condition of a shrunken or flattened pituitary gland; hence a familiarity with the sella turcica anatomy and radiological appearance is of great importance. The present study investigated the normal dimensions of the sella turcica and the relationship with gender and age in adult Nigerians resident in Lagos, using computed tomographs of patients who underwent CT head examination. This was carried out to determine if the dimensions of sella turcica vary with age, gender and race; this is with a view to providing normal, standard reference for our indigenous population in Nigeria. This study assessed: the length, the depth and the antero-posterior diameter of the sella turcica. 297 samples were obtained and analyzed using SPSS Windows Version 14.0. T- test was used for the statistical analysis and values obtained were expressed as mean ± S. E. M. and P value ˂0.05 was considered statistically significant. The results showed the mean length of 9.81±0.094mm, the mean antero-posterior diameter is 11.37±0.090mm and the mean depth is 8.49±0.08mm. It was also discovered that neither the age group nor the gender of the patients is a determinant of the sella turcica dimensions. Furthermore, the males tend to have slightly larger sella turcica dimensions than the females and the values from the present study are lower than those reported in Caucasian studies. The size of pituitary gland can be roughly estimated from the dimensions of sella turcica obtained from radiological methods in pathological conditions since disease conditions of the “master gland” ultimately affect the size of the sella turcica.

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Lecturing
University of Medical Sciences
Anatomy
Description of current research:

Simulated Microgravity and Neuronal Structures

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Radiologist/Neuroradiology
University of Ibadan
Radiology/Neuroradiology
Description of current research:

The goal of my research is to establish the differences in cerebral blood flow patterns in HIV patients with and without cognitive Impairment using Computed Tomographic perfusion(CTP) technique.

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PhD Exercise Physiology
University of Cape Town
Human Biology
Description of current research:

The influence of methylphenidate on brain activity

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Faculty member
University of Uyo
Anatomy/Neuroanatomy
Description of current research:

Title: Rauwolfia vomitoria Activities on Neurobehaviour and the Brain

Description: The rising cost of orthodox medication has endeared so many to the use of herbs for the management of neurological conditions. Rauwolfia vomitoria (RV) one of such herbs is a rain forest shrub whose parts are used locally in the management of psychiatry and other medical issues. Its usefulness though not in doubt is wrapped with adverse reports as its active constituents deplete brain monoamine and dopamine stores motivating this research on the effects of the root bark extract on different neurobehavioural paradigm and brain areas. Adult Wistar rats (220 g average) were divided into four groups (n = 6); control (placebo), 200 mg/kg, 300 mg/kg and 400 mg/kg RV root bark extract. The oral administration lasted for seven days and on day 8, test of locomotion, anxiety, exploration, learning and memory, and olfaction were carried out. On sacrifice, all the brains were processed for histology and immunoreactivity. Results showed loss of appetite for feed and water, body weight loss, freezing, sedation, and inhibition of locomotion and olfaction, while learning and memory was not affected.
Preliminary results of the histology showed degenerative features and analysis is still ongoing.
These preliminary results suggest that  RV may be deleterious to the brain,

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Postdoctoral Research Fellow in population genetics
Massachusetts General Hospital
Analytic and Translational Genetics Unit
Description of current research:

Alicia is a research fellow in ATGU and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, advised by Dr. Mark Daly. Her general interests are in human population genetics, especially in leveraging demographic history to aid in disease studies. Her current projects utilize pairwise identity-by-descent (IBD) sharing to assess recent population history, associate haplotypes with psychiatric disorders, and infer the ages of disease risk haplotypes and alleles to better understand their evolutionary pressures. She obtained her PhD degree in 2015 from the Genetics Department at Stanford University (advised by Dr. Carlos D. Bustamante) for her work in genetic and regulatory variation across diverse human populations.

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MSc Med student
University of Cape Town
Division of Human Genetics/Psychiatric Genetics of bipolar disorder
Description of current research:

At present my project involves using bioinformatics technology and whole genome sequencing data to elucidate the genetic origins of bipolar disorder in a family with a history of psychiatric diagnoses.

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PhD
University of Witwatersrand
Biomedical engineering/brain computer interfaces
Description of current research:

analysis of neural connectivity for key hand movements

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Honours student
University of Cape Town
Human Genetics
Description of current research:

Genetic determinants of Bipolar Disorder Type 1 with regards to the immune system

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PhD Student
Univesity of Fez
Computer Science
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PhD
Stellenbosch University
Genetics
Description of current research:

My research involves pharmacogenomic analysis of antipsychotics in schizophrenia, predominantly in first-episode South African mixed ancestry patients. My Masters project explored noncoding regions involved in gene regulation in treatment response, while my PhD research focuses on pharmacoepigenomcis - specifically differential DNA methylation and variation in treatment outcomes.

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Lecturer
U.S.I.U
Psychology / Neuroscience
Description of current research:

My research is in the use of Event Related Potentials (ERPs) as a marker of cognition. I have recorded ERPs of various clinical populations and compared these against age-matched community controls.

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Msc Epidemiology
University of Witwatersrand
Biography:

MSc Epidemiology (University of the Witwatersrand).

Description of current research:

My dissertation is titled "The detection of HIV associated neurocognitive disorders using neurocognitive assessment tests in Uganda"

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Neurology registrar
Medecine Faculty, Antananarivo University, Madagascar
Neurology
Description of current research:

The stroke at Neurology Unit in Antananarivo has many complications: 80% of functional disability, 33% recurrence and 20% of vascular dementia. The active young people was the majority. However, this does not reflect Madagascar. Now, you have some CT-scan and 2 MRI, you will study the early sign of dementia for the Malagasy, especially vascular dementia.

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PhD Human Genetics
Stellenbosch University, Tygerberg Campus
Molecular Biology and Human Genetics
Biography:

I studied Physiology and Pharmacology at undergraduate degree and Neuropharmacology at master’s degree. I am interested in understanding the role of genetics and its interplay with the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases.

Description of current research:

I am a PhD student in the Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Tygerberg, Stellenbosch University. My research topic focus on identifying pathogenic mutations in black African Parkinson’s disease patients. My study utilizes genomics and proteomics techniques to achieve this objective.

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Postdoctoral Researcher/ Neuropsychologist
University of the Witswatersrand and Netcare Hospital
Psychology
Biography:

Sahba Besharati is postdoctoral researcher at Wits and a senior research associate at Netcare Hospital. She completed a collaborative PhD in neuropsychology from Kings College London and the University of Cape Town in 2015, having previously trained in clinical neuropsychology during her MA at UCT.

Description of current research:

Dr Besharati’s research integrates neuroimaging, neuropsychological and experimental methods to investigate disorders of self-consciousness and awareness following brain damage. She is particularly interested in the recent interdisciplinary approach of a social, cognitive and affective neuroscience.

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Senior Lecturer
North-West University
Centre of Excellence for Nutrition
Description of current research:

My main research interest lies in studying the role of maternal and child nutrition in neurodevelopment and function using a translational approach: From animal models to human trials.

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Lecturer/Neurophysiology
Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo (FUNAI), Ebonyi State, Nigeria
Physiology
Description of current research:

Neurosocioeconomic correlates of addictive behaviour.

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Neuroscientist
Allen Institute for Brain Science
Description of current research:

Run the user training and outreach department of the Allen Institute for Brain Science

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Consultant Psychiatrist
Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Abeokuta, Nigeria
Clinical Services/ Psychiatry
Description of current research:

Clinical approaches to neuroscience of neurodevelopmental disorders, psychosis and epilepsy.

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General practitioner
Federal Police Referral Hospital
Internal medicine
Description of current research:

we will conduct a cross-sectional study of hundred seizure patients attending the followup clinics of the department of neurology at federal Police Hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from September 2016- December 2016. we will collect information using standardized questionnaire which assesses demographic information, clinical history and neurologic function.

we will conduct an Epilepsy MRI Protocol for all subjects and the correlation with treatment response and candidacy for surgery

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Teaching/Psychiatry
Ekiti State University/IBRO-UCT Afican Advance School on Neuropsychitric genomics school.
Psychiatry.
Description of current research:

Curently looking at adverse drug reaction profile among patients taking anti psychotic medications

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PhD student
UCT/Makerere University
Psychiatry and mental health
Description of current research:

Psychosis in PTSD in post conflict Northern Uganda

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Fellow
Stanford University
Psychiatry
Description of current research:

I am a neuroscientist and psychologist by training, currently conducting large-scale genomics research on psychiatric disorders. I lead analysis for two international groups, focused on PTSD and anorexia. Other projects are designed to increase understanding of genetic and environmental influences on psychosis and advance genomic work in diverse populations.

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Lecturer/ Neuropharmacology
Addis Ababa University
Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine
Description of current research:

Neuroleptic drugs are the mainstay of treatment for schizophrenia; however, non-compliance to the drugs is a major challenge. The strongest reason for non-compliance among the patients is the experience of adverse drug reactions mainly neuroleptic-induced movement disorders (NIMD). NIMD are complex, heterogeneous groups of involuntary movements with inter-individual variability, and often discourage treatment adherence due to lack of tolerability. In Ethiopian psychotic patients, the prevalence of NIMD, namely, Parkinsonism, akathisia and tardive dyskinesia found to be 46%, 29% and 12%, respectively. Tardive dyskinesia, characterized by repetitive, involuntary and purposeless movements is particularly worrisome because of the potential irreversibility and debilitating effect.
Identification of genetic risk variants underlying susceptibility to NIMD could help develop genetic testing to identify susceptible individuals, minimize occurrence, and thus improve patient compliance and long-term clinical outcome through personalized medicine. Genetic risk variants for NIMD primarily studied in candidate-gene association studies. The most replicated findings were polymorphisms in drug metabolizing enzymes, dopamine and serotonin receptors, and G-protein signaling regulatory genes. Although candidate-gene association studies identify genetic risk variants to NIMD, the studies have limitations such as lack of comprehensiveness and reports of inconsistent results. In this sense, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) could have a great potential to identify genetic risk variants, and increasingly applied in the areas of psychiatry.
Until recently, a few GWAS performed to predict NIMD. The studies conducted in Americans and Japanese cohorts, and identified associations with polymorphisms in zinc finger protein-202 (ZNF202), dipeptidyl peptidase-like protein-6 (DPP6), and heparan sulfate proteoglycan-2 (HSPG2) genes. To our knowledge there are no GWAS conducted to identify genetic risk variants associated with NIMD in Africans. We aim to study the association of NIMD in Ethiopians, East African nations, where there is a report of high prevalence. In our study, we will conduct GWAS and subsequent replication studies on Ethiopian psychotic patients to identify genetic biomarkers associated with NIMD.

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PhD candidate in Psychiatry
Stellenbosch University
Department of Psychiatry, Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics
Description of current research:

Understanding the shared Epigenetic roots of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Metabolic Syndrome

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PhD candidate in Psychiatry
Stellenbosch University
Department of Psychiatry
Description of current research:

The current PhD project is titled: epigenomic analysis of posttraumatic stress disorder in female rape survivors in South Africa. Participants will be female rape survivors between the ages of 18 and 40 years. A group of 192 matched participants will be identified among an estimated pool of 500 participants with and without PTSD. DNA, clinical information and demographic information will be collected at baseline (0-21 days post-rape), three months and 6 months post-rape.

We aim to: the study aims to: (1) identify whole-genome differences in DNA methylation profiles between two groups (rape exposed with PTSD and rape exposed without PTSD), accounting for developmental reprogramming of DNA methylation as a result of childhood trauma; (2) identify and establish temporal origins and stability of PTSD-associated methylation changes through a prospective follow-up design and; (3) Identify the influence of psychosocial risk (childhood trauma, alcohol and drug abuse, depression, perceived stress) and protective factors (social support, resilience) in the development and maintenance of PTSD symptom severity and status.

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Research Associate/PhD
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Sydney Brenner Institute for Molecular Bioscience
Description of current research:

In South Africa the health burden due to cognitive decline in the aged, is increasing as life expectancy increases. Cognition is a complex trait where many genes and environmental factors influence both the rate of decline and susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease. Genomic association studies related to cognition have primarily been performed on populations of European origin and are largely unexplored in Africans. This study aims to identify genetic and environmental risk factors for age-related cognitive decline and the dementia spectrum. Our study includes 3500 individuals from rural Mpumalanga aged between 40 and 90 years, with extensive phenotype data on; demography, health history, behaviour, and blood and urine biomarkers. This includes an IQCode for diagnosis of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Three approaches will be used: a candidate gene association study; pathway analysis; and telomere length association. Regions of interest include APOE, FOXO, pro-inflammatory pathway genes and genes linked to anaemia. This is a population cross-sectional study to examine a quantitative trait for association and to examine gene-environment interactions with complex hierarchical modelling. As an outcome we are likely to validate some previous associations and to detect novel population-specific associations that could lead to insights into gene-environment interactions and biological mechanisms. This knowledge could inform future intervention strategies.

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Physiologist/PhD
University of Ghana
Physiology
Description of current research:

Working Title: Catatonia – Genomic and Physiological studies in Schizophrenic and Geriatric Subjects.

Introduction; Catatonia is a neuropsychiatric syndrome comprising of abnormalities in movement, speech and behavior. Catatonic symptoms and signs range in severity from the dramatic and disturbing presenting complaint to the incidental finding on careful clinical examination which, nevertheless, may be causing the patient and care givers severe grief and discomfort. Known causes and associations include schizophrenia, ageing, Parkinson’s disease, injuries, autoimmune diseases, infections and some medications. It is believed that the condition may or may not be familial. Research work and reports on catatonia in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) as well as general awareness of the characteristics of the disease conditions by the general public and in some cases even health workers is limited. It is suspected that subtle cases are missed both at out-patient clinical visits and on the hospital wards. Clinical and other support services for understanding and managing the complex nature and multiple mechanisms involved in the onset and progression of neuropsychiatric symptoms and movement disorders are inadequate.
Brief methodology: Data will be collected over two years at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. Schizophrenic and geriatric patients-aged 60 and above who present to the hospital during the period of data collection will be carefully assessed for catatonia and recruited for the study upon their consent if they are in a position to give it or the consent of their care givers if otherwise. Data collection will continue until the required number of subjects are obtained or until the period of data collection is over. Clinical and laboratory data will be recorded and blood samples taken for hematological and genetic analysis. A questionnaire will be administered to each participant for baseline socioeconomic data.
Expected outcome: This study is expected to gather significant data on catatonia in schizophrenics and elderly persons, management and progression in a tertiary referral center, the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra Ghana. It is also expected to identify genetic variants which may be associated with accelerated progression of in Ghanaians and raise awareness of the characteristics of catatonia in the Ghanaian population which should help reduce some of the difficulties patients and their caregivers undergo.

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Epidemiology
University of California San Diego
Psychiatry
Description of current research:

Genetics and genomics of post traumatic stress disorder

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Consultant neurologist, clinical neurophysiologist
Cheikh Anta Diop University
Neurology, clinical neurophysiology
Description of current research:

Pathophysiology of epilepsy and headaches in neurocysticercosis patients
Neurophysiology of migraine
Seizure detection optimization in neuro- intensive care units in resource-limited settings

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NBI Practitioner
University of Pretoria
Psychophysiology
Description of current research:

The Psychophysiology of stress in the workplace
The effects od narcotics and other substances on brain and behaviour

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Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Stellenbosch University
Department of Psychiatry, MRC Unit on Anxiety and Stress Disorders
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