Search

Welcome by the HOD

The Department of Human Biology within the University of Cape Town's Faculty of Health Sciences brings together several medical scientific and clinical academic disciplines. These disciplines are divided into six Divisions, namely (1) Biomedical Engineering, (2) Cell Biology, (3) Clinical Anatomy and Biological Anthropology, (4) Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, (5) Human Nutrition and (6) Physiological Sciences. Except for the Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, which is located at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA), in Newlands, the Divisions are located within the Anatomy Building on the Faculty of Health Sciences Campus.

Apart from research activities in the various fields of the academic disciplines, the department also conducts research into curriculum development and intervention strategies for transformation in, and broadening access to, medical education. The department's undergraduate teaching contributes to the MBChB, Health and Rehabilitation, as well as Faculty of Science programmes. Human Biology has a large cohort of postgraduate students in the Faculty of Health Sciences. It offers a wide range of post-graduate programmes in niche areas such as: (1) applied anatomy, (2) biokinetics, (3) biological anthropology, (4) biomedical engineering, (5) cell biology, (6) exercise science, (7) health care technology management, (8) nutrition and dietetics, (9) physiology and neurosciences, (10) sports and exercise medicine, (11) sport management (offered together with the Faculty of Commerce), and (12) sports physiotherapy (offered together with the Division of Physiotherapy in the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences).

The department also hosts the Confocal & Light Microscope Imaging Facility which is a modern interfaculty unit that provides a service relating to light and fluorescence microscopy, including the new LSM confocal microscope. The unit specialises in advanced fluorescence imaging acquisition and image analysis supported by computer workstations equipped with state of the art software. The department is also part of a multi-departmental multi-institutional team hosting the new Cape Universities Body Imaging Centre site (CUBIC-UCT) on the premises of Groote Schuur Hospital. The site contains Africa’s first full-body high-field Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner and is an extension of the original facility located at Tygerberg Hospital where a brain-only research MRI scanner has been operational since January 2007.

The department has a body donor programme where interested people can bequeath their bodies to help train future health professionals. It also houses a number of displays on various aspects of anatomy and physiology in the M. R. Drennan Museum.

Malcolm Collins, BSc (Hons), PhD, FECSS
Professor and Head of Department