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Divisions in the Department of Human Biology

The Department of Human Biology brings together four divisions:

  • Division of Biomedical Engineering
  • Division of Cellular Biology
  • Division of Clinical Anatomy and Biological Anthropology
  • Division of Physiological Sciences

Division of Biomedical Engineering

The Division of Biomedical Engineering covers a wide range of research topics including medical imaging, medical devices, musculo-skeletal biomechanics, cell and tissue mechanobiology, biomechatronics, signal processing, rehabilitation engineering, healthcare technology management, and health innovation. The division's focus is on biomedical engineering that addresses health in Africa, yet is globally relevant.

Head of Division

Prof Ernesta Meintjes

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Division of Cell Biology

The Division of Cell Biology is focused on basic life sciences research, undergraduate teaching for medicine and biomedical sciences students, and the training of postgraduate students. Research encompasses diverse approaches to understanding normal cellular processes and how they are altered in disease. This includes the study of cancer, neuronal development and regeneration, synaptic signalling in the brain, vascular and ocular biology, stem cells and the identification of novel therapeutic approaches to treat a wide range of diseases from cancer to epilepsy.

Head of Division

A/Prof Dirk Lang

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Division of Clinical Anatomy and Biological Anthropology

The Division of Clinical Anatomy and Biological Anthropology in the Department of Human Biology is diverse: bringing together human anatomy, culture and history, evolution and adaptation of the human form including biological aspects of human body size, shape and function. We teach clinical anatomy through dissection and lecture with undergraduate and postgraduate students in Medicine, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Biomedical Engineering and BSc Med Honours programmes, as well as run the Biological Anthropology programme. We offer an honours in Applied Anatomy and Biological Anthropology, as well as Masters and PhD by research. Students are provided with hands-on learning experiences through the instruction of dissection, experimentation, case studies and field experiences; this is where students observe the practical applications for the information learned. We use a range of learning styles, innovative teaching methods and incorporate information from our research and experience to advance the knowledge of our students. Critical and logical thinking skills are essential these are applied through course content and problem solving exercises to improve student learning and success.

Head of Division

A/Prof Delva Shamley

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Division of Physiological Sciences

The Division of Physiological Sciences comprises world-class educators and researchers who are passionate about their disciplines. We teach undergraduate students in medicine, health and rehabilitation sciences, as well as biological sciences degree programmes, and we train postgraduate students in Physiology, Neurosciences, Human Nutrition, Biokinetics, Exercise Science and Sport and Exercise Medicine. The division's research programmes are varied and exciting, spanning the following disciplines:

The division is also home to the UCT-accredited Health through Physical Activity, Lifestyle and Sport Research Centre.

Head of Division

Prof Malcolm Collins

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