Academic Staff

Dr Mlungisi Ngcobo Senior Lecturer

Dr Mlungisi Ngcobo obtained his Masters in Medical Biochemistry and PhD in Health Sciences from the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. He is currently a Senior Lecturer at University of KwaZulu Natal’s School of Nursing and Public Health based at the Discipline of Traditional Medicine. His research work has focused on traditional medicines from traditional healers that are used as immune boosters. He has been published in numerous international and national peer-reviewed journals on various subjects ranging from the biochemical effects of traditional medicines to implementation modalities of regulations that will govern the practice of traditional healing and use of traditional medicines. Overall, he has published 20 peer reviewed research articles and has a number of other articles under review by various peer reviewed journals. He has successfully supervised 8 Honours, 5 Masters and 3 PhD students. He is currently supervising/co-supervising 6 Masters and 8 PhD students. As a Senior Lecturer in the discipline, he is part of a team that is developing a traditional medicine curriculum that will be integrated into different programmes in the College of Health Sciences.

Mr Saziso NdlovuSaziso Ndlovu Laboratory Manager

Saziso Ndlovu holds BSc degree in Genetics, Biochemistry & Microbiology (2001), (Biomolecular Technology), and BSc Honors in Genetics (2012) degrees from University of KwaZulu-Natal. He is in his final year of a Masters degree in Medical Science, in the Discipline of Traditional Medicine, School of Nursing and Public Health. His research focuses on evaluating safety, efficacy and mechanisms of action of traditional medicinal plants used to treat breast by a traditional healer in Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal. This work forms part of the focus of the SARCHI focus on non-communicable disease of importance to South Africa. Breast cancer is a major burden especially among women in South Africa and all over the world, and is responsible for significant morbidity and mortality. Saziso’s work will provide a potential safer, less expensive and perhaps more effective remedy. He has been a laboratory manager for the past 15 years assisting students to obtain their Masters and PhDs degrees. He is part of the College of Science Transformation Committee where he ensures that previously marginalized Africans are given opportunities that were meant for the minority group.

Snenhlanhla Jali  Administrator

Honorary members and associates 

Prof Neil Rowan

Prof Neil Rowan, is Director of Bioscience Research Institute at Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) and holds an Adjunct Professorship in Medical Microbiology in School of Medicine and Nursing in National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland. He was formerly a Senior Lecturer at University of Strathclyde, Scotland where his research was graded as 5* (top of research assessment exercise). He has previously supervised 23 PhDs and 18 MSc by Research students along with mentoring 13 postdoctoral researchers. His current research group comprises 7 PhD students and 5 Postdoctoral Researchers. He has generated ca. €21.4M in research and enterprise funding and has published 100+  journal papers with H-factor of 34 that has been cited by 3,716 times by his peers (44,566 views on Mendley, Elsevier).  Prof Rowan lectures in the Department of Nursing and Healthcare where he was to first to have supervised to MSc and PhD in these areas for the Institute of Technology sector. AIT is ranked as the top-performing Institute of Technology for research in Ireland. Prof Rowan engages upwards of 200 SMEs per year through Enterprise-Ireland technology gateways. Prof Rowan was editorial board member of prestigious Applied and Environmental Microbiology for 12 years. He is funded investigator in Science Foundation Irelands’ funded Centre for Medical Devices, Ireland. 

Prof Rowan acts as expert evaluator for the EC Horizon 2020 under the Future Emerging Technologies Programme. He holds fellowships to several professional bodies. He has extensive research funding under both EC H2020 and EC Interreg programmes that focuses on developing sustainable innovations in healthcare and foods, along with supporting workforce training and mobility of partnering SMEs across the EC. Prof Rowan lectures in mixed methodologies across domains of nursing and medicine, and has specific expertise in medical microbiology, toxicology, therapeutics, novel bioactive development, antimicrobial resistance, sterilisation technologies, bioinformatics, next-generation sequencing and infection modelling. He has co-developed artificial intelligent, educational and immersive technologies for teaching and training on complex processes in medtech, and was first to present on this topic globally at Kilmer International Conference, Dublin, Ireland in 2019. He was international leader in development of medical plants and fungi for anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and antimicrobial action, where he works closely with Anaesthesiology and Medical Microbiology to test bioactive. This includes development of first in vitro lung models (pre-clinical) and other infection models. He is currently supervising Senior Director of Global Technologies (Steris -Advanced Sterilisation Technologies) for his structured doctorate studies focusing on development of vaporized hydrogen peroxide as alternative technology to ethylene oxide for medical devices for global deployment. Prof Rowan has delivered 2 Keynote and 8 plenary speeches. He was national rep for EU Cost Action on foodborne parasites, and member of Food Safety Authority of Ireland. 

Prof Rowan has supported distinguish fellowship training globally in his Bioscience research institute including from prestigious OECD.  He drives knowledge transfer and training to undergraduate and postgraduate learners across nursing and medicine through Erasmus+ (European mobility). Approximately, 40% of his current PhD/Postdoc cohort are international with most recent from Ghana. He has strong track-record in social engagement, blending social sciences with STEM, and has managed 53 school visits and popularization of science to 1,700 primary school children regionally. He has supervised on PhD that developed new social-marketing and health-belief model for influencing behavioural change for cervical cancer screening and uptake in Malaysia.  He has facilitated research provision in Africa by way of expert external panel review of researchers for funding.

Professor Exnevia GomoProf Exnevia Gomo

Professor Exnevia Gomo is an Associate Professor (Immunology) in the Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences, and Director of the Research Support Centre (RSC), University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences (UZCHS) since 2011. Prof Gomo holds a MSc in Applied Immunology (Brunel, UK), PhD in Immunology (Copenhagen, Denmark) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Research Methodology (DBL, Denmark). Prof Gomo has extensive experience in health research in Zimbabwe with regional and international collaboration. He has held several senior research and management positions. From 1998 – 2003 he was a Senior Medical Scientist and Head of the HIV/AIDS Research Unit at the Blair Research Institute (now National Institute of Health Research), 2005 – 2007 Director of Traditional Medicine, both in the Ministry of Health, Zimbabwe. Between 2005 – 2007 he was Vice Chairperson of the Medical Research Council of Zimbabwe.

In 2007 Prof Gomo joined the University of Malawi College of Medicine as director of a newly established Research Support Centre. Between 2007 – 2010, he quickly transformed the RSC into a fully institutionalized and regionally and internationally recognised research management unit of the college, leveraging funding for strengthening research governance and management. Prof Gomo has since then contributed to establishment and/or strengthening of similar RSC’s in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Rwanda and Uganda. In 2011 he returned to Zimbabwe to set up the University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences (UZCHS) Research Support Centre.

Prof Gomo has garnered skills in management of postgraduate research and has continued to supervise Masters and PhD students. He is a Principal Investigator and Co-PI in several grants on research capacity building at UZ and in regional research consortia and networks.

Prof Gomo has contributed significantly to Traditional medicines research. Between 1996 and 2000, he pioneered clinical research on the role of TM in management of HIV/AIDS. From 2005-2007 he was Chairperson of the Research Committee of Traditional Medical Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe.  From 2016-2017, Exnevia was seconded to University of KwaZulu-Natal College of Health Sciences as South African Research Chair in Indigenous Health Care Systems where he continues as Honorary Professor. During his tenure as Research Chair Prof Gomo supervised 5 PhD and 6 Masters students conducting research on TM. He continues as Honorary Professor in the Discipline of Traditional medicine at UKZN. Prof Gomo is currently Chairperson of the Ethnomedicine Research Group at UZCHS where he is establishing a core research laboratory for TM research.

Prof Gomo has published over 60 papers in peer reviewed journals. He has been a reviewer of articles in and editor of peer reviewed journals. Prof Gomo’s strong research and leadership qualities are reflected by research related portfolios that he has held and committees he has participated in including:

•             Chairperson: Ethnomedicine Research Group, University of Zimbabwe, 2019 – present

•             Member: University of Zimbabwe Research Board, 2012 – present

•             Vice Chairperson, Medical Research Council of Zimbabwe, 2005 – 2007

•             Chairperson, Traditional Medicines Research Committee, Traditional Medical Practitioners’ Council, Ministry of Health and Child Welfare 2005-2007.

•             Member: Technical Committee of SADC Health Ministers’ Committee on Traditional Medicine, 2005-2007

Prof Ian Tietjen

Dr. Ian Tietjen is a newly-appointed Research Assistant Professor at the Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology in Philadelphia, USA (as of 1 January 2020). He was previously an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada (2017-2019), and has also worked as a Group Leader in Molecular and Cellular Biology at Cardiome Pharma Corp. and a Senior Scientist at Xenon Pharmaceuticals in Vancouver (2006-2012). Dr. Tietjen completed his PhD in Biochemistry at Harvard University (2003), and his postdoctoral training took place at Harvard Medical School and University of British Columbia (2003-2006; 2012-2016). He was also a visiting scholar at Rockefeller University in New York City, USA (2016-2017).

Dr. Tietjen’s laboratory focuses on mechanisms of viral pathogenesis, in addition to drug discovery and development, with a particular focus on understanding the molecular properties of HIV reservoirs and HIV latency. His laboratory also screens chemical compound libraries, natural products, and traditional medicines to identify and characterize new antivirals. When ethically appropriate, he works closely with medicinal chemists to test synthetic derivatives of natural products and generate preclinical antiviral leads. Dr. Tietjen also extensively consults and engages with local communities, medicinal plant healers, and other knowledge keepers to collaboratively, sustainably, and ethically document and investigate the bioactivities of traditional medicines used in Southern Africa, Canada, and elsewhere.

Dr. Tietjen has received competitive grant funding from several major sources as Principal Investigator including a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Project Grant and a prestigious New Frontiers in Research Funds Explorations Grant for New Investigators. As an industry professional, he was responsible for earning ~US$9.4 million in milestone payments from pharmaceutical partners. As an academic professor, Dr. Tietjen has trained 3 postgraduate and 5 undergraduate students since 2017. He has taught several courses on biology, infectious diseases, and pathophysiology and is frequently cited for outstanding mentorship. To date Dr. Tietjen has published 29 manuscripts, including 16 as first, co-first, or corresponding author, and is named as an inventor on 3 patents.

Prof Malcolm Steinberg

Dr Gila Lustig

Mr Thabo Mokoena

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