INTERNATIONAL SPEAKERS 

Prof Atte Meretoja
Atte Meretoja, MD, PhD, MSc(StrokeMed), FRACP, is the director of Clinical Neurosciences at the Helsinki University Hospital, Finland and associate professor of neurology at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He is a medical specialist in both Neurology and Public Health Medicine. He was trained by Prof Markku Kaste, University of Helsinki, Finland and graduated from the first class of the European Stroke Organisation (ESO) sponsored European Master in Stroke Medicine (2009) at the Donau University Krems, Austria, supervised by Prof Michael Brainin. He joined the teams of Prof Stephen Davis and Prof Geoffrey Donnan in Melbourne, Australia, in 2011 and moved back to Helsinki in 2015. He serves on boards of the World Stroke Organisation and ESO, and the editorial boards of Stroke, Int J Stroke, and Eur Stroke J. He set up the Finnish national stroke registry with >200,000 patients registered, was the first to report the effectiveness of Primary and Comprehensive Stroke Centres, suggested the first aetiological classification for intracerebral haemorrhage, described the world fastest thrombolysis service in Helsinki, and successfully transferred the model to Melbourne. His main current research focus in is acute therapies for intracerebral haemorrhage.

Prof Jan Staessen
Jan A. Staessen is Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the University of Leuven and former Head of Clinic at the University Hospitals Leuven. He leads the Research Unit Hypertension and Cardiovascular Epidemiology, KU Leuven Department of Cardiovascular Diseases, University of Leuven, Belgium. In addition, Dr Staessen is Emeritus Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at the Department of Epidemiology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, Netherlands and Scientific Officer of the R&D VitaK Group at Maastricht University. Dr. Staessen received the title of Doctor Honoris Causa from the Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Europe. He is Honorary Professor at the Universidad de la República, Montevideo, Uruguay and at the Medical School affiliated with the Hospital Italiano, Buenos Aires, Argentina. He received several national and international awards, most recently (2015) the Tigerstedt Award of the Finnish Society of Hypertension. He is honorary member of the Czech, Polish and Spanish Societies of Hypertension.

 

Dr Ray Townsend
Dr. Townsend is a Nephrologist who conducts research into the role of arterial stiffness in outcomes such as death, and kidney failure progression, especially in patients with chronic kidney disease.  In addition he oversees the Hypertension Program at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) and supervises the ABPM program, which to date has conducted more than 3000 studies in patients at Penn.  He is NIH funded.  He was the American Heart Association Physician of the Year for 2016, and an empaneled member of the JNC – 8 hypertension guidelines committee.  His other interests include device based therapies for high blood pressure treatment and he serves on the Executive Committees of both Medtronic (Spyral Hypertension Program: Renal Denervation) as well as ROX (ROX Coupler: 4 mm fistula creation in Iliac Artery/Vein for drug resistant hypertension).  Lastly he has conducted research into the effects of SGLT2 inhibition on 24h ABPM control in diabetics with hypertension.

 

LOCAL SPEAKERS 

Dr Mark Abelson

Dr Kathleen Bateman
Dr Kathleen Bateman has been a consultant neurologist in the Division of Neurology and Stroke Unit at Groote Schuur Hospital, University of Cape Town since 2012. She has clinical research interests in stroke medicine, peripheral nerve disorders, neuroinflammation and infectious disease neurology, including HIV.

 

Prof Dirk Blom
Associate Professor Dirk Blom is the Head of Division of Lipidology at the University of Cape Town and heads the Lipid Clinic at Groote Schuur Hospital. His research interests include genetic disorders of lipoprotein metabolism, lipodystrophy, dyslipidaemia in ART and lipid management in resource constrained settings. Professor Blom is a member of multiple international societies and currently serves on the executive committee of the Lipid and Atherosclerosis Society of Southern Africa. He has published in multiple peer-reviewed journals including The Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, Circulation, Journal of Clinical Lipidology, Current Opinion in Lipidology and the Journal of Lipid Research. He has also contributed to the development of the South African dyslipidaemia and diabetes treatment guidelines.

 

Dr Naeem Brey
Dr Naeem Brey completed his undergraduate training at UCT. Cognizant of the epidemic sweeping the country he subsequently spent 2½ years managing patients with HIV. He subsequently spent time at the GSH Division of Neurology with exposure to the stroke unit there. He trained as a neurologist at Tygerberg Hospital where he continues to practice as consultant neurologist and lecturer. He has assisted in launching the Tygerberg Stroke Unit, which was only the third unit amongst state hospitals. He currently heads the unit. He is a member of the locals Angels and SASS steering committee. He has a passion for medical training and assists a number of hospitals to setup their own stroke units.

 

Prof Alan Bryer
Professor Alan Bryer is the Head of the Division of Neurology and of the Stroke Unit at Groote Schuur Hospital and the University of Cape Town. Prof. Bryer is the chairman of the South African Stroke Society and has been instrumental in the development of the South African Stroke guideline. He has been actively involved with the wider community and Health-care sector to promote current principles of stroke care tha are appropriate and applicable to different levels of the health service in South Africa. He has served on council of the College of Neurologists of South Africa and holds the Stroke portfolio of the South African Heart and Stroke Foundation. He has presented many papers at national and international neurology meetings and has published in local and international peer-reviewed journals particularly in the field of neurogenetics and stroke.

 

Ms Lynette Cilliers
Lynette Cilliers is a clinical dietitian at Groote Schuur hospital and in the private sector. She is experienced in the specialized nutritional management of a variety of patients (including critically ill, intensive care, surgical and medical patients). She has a special interest in the nutritional management of patients with Neurological Deficits, Stroke, Renal disease, Liver disease and the area of Palliative Care. She obtained her degree in dietetics from the North West University (Potchefstroom Campus) and completed her community service year at the Klerksdorp-Tshepong Hospital complex in Klerksdorp in 2007. She remained in the service of the complex until she relocated to the Western Cape in 2009, where she joined the Metro Health Integrated Nutrition Program. She spent 4 years working in the Metro Health System in the Khayelitsha-Eastern Substructure, where her time was spent ensuring that Nutrition services were integrated into all levels of healthcare. This involved collaboration with Clinics, Day Hospitals, Non-Government Organizations, Non-Profit Organizations and other partners, to establish and improve the healthcare provided to the public in the decentralized healthcare model. She returned to Clinical Nutrition in 2013 and has been working at Groote Schuur Hospital ever since. Lynette has a passion for integrating healthcare in a practical manner into the daily lives of patients.

Dr Erika Jones
Erika completed her MBBCh at the University of the Witwatersrand. After completing community service she enrolled at the University of Cape Town as a Doctoral student and received her PhD through the Renal unit at Groote Schuur Hospital and the University of Cape Town. Her PhD explored the effects of a sodium channel variant on blood pressure and sodium reabsorption. After obtaining her PhD, she returned to clinical medicine to specialise in internal medicine and subsequently acquired her certificate in Nephrology. Her fields of research are hypertension; chronic kidney disease associated with methamphetamine use; adherence to antihypertensives; acute kidney injury; blood pressure control in Africa and the pathophysiology of hypertension in Africa.

 

Dr Lee Meyer
I obtained by BSc in Speech Language Pathology from UCT, and am currently a Masters in Public Health candidate.  After completing my community service in rural Northern Free State, I returned to CPT, and joined the team at Groote Schuur Hospital- it was here that my passion for Neurology and Stroke care was solidified.  After many wonderful years at GSH, I have now embarked on an adventure in Private Sector- based in Hermanus, Overberg. Besides clinical practice, I love to be involved in teaching, general up-liftment and social justice projects. It was during my year which I spent in Brasil- initially not being able to speak Portuguese- that I had a taste of what my patients with communication difficulties experience.

 

Prof Rajen Moodley
Specialist Physician and part time clinical lecturer at UKZN Medical School; investigator in numerous cardiovascular and metabolic studies since 1992;executive member South African Hypertension Society; founding member of FACE( Forum for Academic and Clinical Excellence KZN); CME lecturer in circuit KZN.

Prof Gavin Norton 
MBBCh, BSc, BSc Hons, PhD. Ad hominem full Professor in the School of Physiology, University of the Witwatersrand and honorary member of the Department of Internal Medicine, Charlotte Maxeke-Johannesburg Hospital (hypertension clinic); Director of the Cardiovascular Pathophysiology and Genomics Research Unit in the Faculty of Health Sciences, and previous Cardiovascular Block Chair of the MBBCh program, University of the Witwatersrand, where he established this teaching block. Gavin has published 152 peer-reviewed papers in largely high impact cardiovascular journals, including a number of papers in the journals Circulation (x5), Hypertension (x15), J Am CollCardiol, Circ Res, Cardiovasc Res and J Hypertens (x18). Gavin’s publications have been cited 3241 times and at least 33 papers have been cited 33 times (h-index=33). Gavin has supervised to completion 19 PhD and 15 MSc students. In recognition of his work Gavin has won the Vice-Chancellor’s Research Award (1998), and the Young Researcher’s Special Award (1997-1998), University of the Witwatersrand. In addition Gavin has won the Phillip Tobias-Convocation Teaching Award and the 2011 Service Excellence Award. Gavin is on the editorial board of the Journal of Hypertension, the official journal of the International and European Societies of Hypertension and was on the editorial board of the Journal of the American Society of Hypertension, the official journal of this Society. He is past President of the Southern African Hypertension Society (2010-2012) and currently a Board member of the Board of Directors of the Southern African Hypertension Society.

Prof Mpiko Ntsekhe
is the Mauerberger Professor and Chair of Cardiology at the UCT and Groote Schuur Hospital. After graduating from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Ntsekhe trained as an Internist and Cardiologist at Groote Schuur Hospital prior to completing a Masters and PhD in Cardiology at the University of Cape Town. He is a well-respected clinician and academic with numerous national and international leadership portfolios. His research interests include understanding the interaction and impact of infectious diseases on the cardiovascular system, pericardial disease, and hypertensive heart disease. He has a solid publication record to date which includes several book chapters and numerous peer reviewed articles in high impact journals such as New England Journal of Medicine, Circulation, and European Heart Journal. He is on the editorial board of a number of journals and is a regular reviewer of manuscripts and major grant proposals.

Prof Ronel Pretorius
Ronel completed a Master’s Degree (cum laude) in Critical Care Nursing and obtained a PhD in 2009.  She worked as a critical care nurse specialist until 2007 when she joined the School of Nursing Science at the North-West University.  She is currently an associate professor and also heads up the clinical education programme at the Potchefstroom Campus.  She has a funded research programme in health system strengthening in cardiovascular care and serves on various national and international professional nursing organisations. 

 

Prof Naresh Ranjith
Currently in private practice at the Cardiovascular Centre in Merebank and at City Hospital JMH holdings [Director of the Heart Failure and Cardiac Centre]. Part time at Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, Professor in Cardiology-teach both under and post graduate students. Fellow of the European Society of Cardiology and European Society of Heart Failure.  Secretary of the South African Heart Failure Society and a member of the steering committee of the South African Hypertension Society. On numerous advisory boards and editorial boards of many international journals and a member of various international cardiac societies. Involved in research both nationally and internationally in the field of cardiology and have published over a 100 papers in this area. Now concentrating on preventing heart disease both at a primary and secondary level in our committee

 

Prof Brian Rayner
Brian Rayner is Head and Director of Research of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at the Groote Schuur Hospital and University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa, and is the immediate past President of the Southern African Hypertension Society. He graduated in M.B.Ch.B. from University of Cape Town in 1978, obtained Fellowship of the College of Medicine (SA) in 1986, and has a Master of Medicine and PhD from the University of Cape Town.  His doctoral thesis studied salt sensitivity and salt sensitive hypertension in indigenous South African people. He received the World Hypertension Le ague Award for Notable Achievement in Hypertension in 2014 in his work related to his doctorate.  Brian Rayner's active research interests are therapy of hypertension, mutations in the ENaC, genetic determinants of salt sensitivity, HIVAN, vascular calcification and chronic kidney disease, primary aldosteronism, assessing adherence in hypertensive patients, ethics of rationing dialysis therapy, AKI and genetics of severe hypertension in blacks. He has a major interest in hypertension guidelines, and together with Profs Seedat and Veriava wrote the 2014 South African Hypertension Practice Guideline. He has 98 publications in peer reviewed journals, is on the editorial board of the CVS Journal of Africa, Austen Hypertension and Nephron Clinical Practice, and acts as a reviewer for many peer reviewed international journals, has made over 100 presentations at local and international congresses and has written 6 chapters in books.

Prof Alta Schutte
Professor Aletta E Schutte is the Unit Director of the Medical Research Council Extramural Unit for Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease. She is also the South African Research Chair (SARChI) in the Early Detection and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in South Africa – hosted by the Hypertension in Africa Research Team (HART) at the North-West University. She is the immediate Past President of the Southern African Hypertension Society; and President Elect of the International Society of Hypertension.

 

Dr Willem Stassen
Dr Willem Stassen is an emergency care practitioner, primarily involved in critical care retrieval via ground, helicopter or fixed wing modes of transport. Willem holds a Masters degree in Emergency Medicine from the University of Cape Town, South Africa and a PhD from Karolinska Institutet, Sweden. Willem further holds certification as a critical care and flight paramedic with the International Board for Specialised Certification. His main research interests are telephonic disease prediction and triage, prehospital emergency care networks and critical care transport. Currently, Willem is the programme coordinator of the PhD in Emergency Medicine at the University of Cape Town.

 

Prof Joe Veriava
Professor Emeritus Yosuf Veriava is a specialist physician and a certified nephrologist who spent his entire active clinical career in the public health sector of South Africa and as an academic clinician in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Witwatersrand. He also served in various capacities which included Chief Specialist at Helen Joseph Hospital, Deputy Dean at the University, Headship of Internal Medicine in the Faculty, President of the Southern African Hypertension Society, Deputy President of the Kidney Foundation of South Africa, Chairperson of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Organ Transplantation, Chairperson of the Council for Medical Schemes and Director of Hypertension Clinic and renal services at Helen Joseph Hospital.

 

Prof Angela Woodiwiss
Angela Woodiwiss is an ad hominem full Professor of Physiology (since 2010), the current President of the Southern African Hypertension Society, Fellow of Physiological Society of Southern Africa and Director of the Cardiovascular Pathophysiology and Genomics Research Unit, in the School of Physiology at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. She has 180 original publications (mostly in leading international journals in the cardiovascular field), over 4800 citations and an h-index of 40. Professor Woodiwiss’s research interests are in understanding the mechanisms of cardiovascular disease, primarily hypertension and heart failure. Her research uses epidemiological and mechanistic approaches in human subjects, as well as in animal models. In her research, Professor Woodiwiss has unraveled the critical role of the non-cross-linked collagen and excluded other factors as mechanisms of cardiac dilatation in heart failure. Professor Woodiwiss together with Professor Norton established in 2003 the African Program on Genes in Hypertension (APOGH), the first large family-based cross-sectional and prospective population study ever conducted in Africa to identify the factors that determine ALL conventional and novel cardiovascular risk factors in groups of African ancestry. Her research into the genetic basis of hypertension focuses on the importance of gene-environment and gene-gene interactive approaches. She presently has special interests in the role of aortic dysfunction as a cause of premature cardiovascular events, the best approaches to risk prediction, and the impact of obesity and HIV on the cardiovascular system.