About SANS

What is Neuroscience?

Neuroscience is at the interface between biology and psychology. It is about the scientific study of nervous systems. It includes study of the nature and functioning of the nervous system at all levels, from the molecules that make up individual nerve cells and the transfer of information from one nerve cell to another, to the complexities of how behaviour, thoughts and emotions are produced. Neuroscientists are interested in many basic questions, including why do people and other animals behave, think and feel the way they do, how addictive drugs produce their effects, how brain cells develop, why they die or sometimes malfunction, and how they repair themselves when damaged.

What is SANS?

SANS is a non-profit organization (250 – 278 NPO) with a vision to foster interest in Neuroscience and facilitate communication between those interested in Neuroscience, within Southern Africa and Africa.

Please consider making a donation.

Final Executive Committee, October 2022:

Management ExCo:

–        Chairperson: Rachael Dangarembizi – University of Cape Town; rachael.dangarembizi@uct.ac.za

–        Co-Chair: Annerine Roos  – University of Cape Town; annerine.roos@uct.ac.za

–        Secretary: Victoria Williams – University of the Witwatersrand, victoria.williams@wits.ac.za

–        Treasurer: Kimberley Williams – University of Cape Town; kimberley.c.williams@gmail.com

–        Co-Treasurer: Tanya Calvey – University of Cape Town, University of the Witwatersrand; tanya.calvey@gmail.com

Co-opted ExCo members:

–        Dorit Hockman – University of Cape Town; dorit.hockman@uct.ac.za

–        De Wet Wolmarans – North West University;  dewet.wolmarans@nwu.ac.za

–        Sahba Besharati – University of the Witwatersrand; sahba.besharati@wits.ac.za

–        Zama Msibi – University of KwaZulu Natal; msibiz2@ukzn.ac.za

–        Sagel Kundieko – University of Cape Town; sageljulia@gmail.com

–        Bianca de Aveiro – University of the Witwatersrand; biancadeaveiro@gmail.com


The Southern African Neuroscience Group was founded by:

  • Frans Taljaard  (Chemical Pathologist, University of Stellenbosch)
  • Viv Russell (Neurochemist, University of Stellenbosch)
  • Quinton Oswald (Bristol-Myers Squibb, sponsor)
  • James Temlett (Neurologist, University of the Witwatersrand)
  • Wessel Wessels (Psychiatrist, University of Natal)

Co-opted members:

  • Ben Potgieter (Chair of SA Pharmacology society)
  • Abraham Aucamp (Secretary of SA Pharmacology Society)
  • Ben Allmann (Bristol-Myers Squibb)

This group of neuroscientists contributed significantly to the growth of neuroscience in our country to such an extent that it became a society with a membership in excess of 100. Later SANS became affiliated to SONA (The Society for Neuroscientists of Africa), and a member of IBRO (The International Brain Research Organisation).


  • Prof JJF Taljaard (1988 – 1994)
  • Prof R Emsley (1995 – 1996)
  • Prof VA Russell (1997 – 1998)
  • Prof S Daya (1999 – 2000)
  • Prof WM Daniels (2001- 2010)
  • Prof LA Kellaway (2010 – 2014)
  • Assoc. Prof FM Howells (2014 – 2020)
  • Dr Tanya Calvey (2020 – 2022)
  • Dr Rachael Dangarembizi (2022 – current)