Research aims to provide answers to African health woes
Professor Michèle Ramsay is leading one of the world’s biggest research projects that will provide answers to diseases that continues to claim the lives of thousands of Africans across the continent. Ramsay is the Principal Investigator of the H3A-funded Africa Wits- Indepth Partnership for Genomic Studies investigating genetic and environmental factors in cardiometabolic disease in African populations. This collaboration involves scientists from six groups in four African countries in which 10 500 participants have been recruited for the study, one of the largest African cohorts studied with detailed health, demographic and DNA genotyping data for the participants. Besides leading this study, Ramsay has been influential in providing broader leadership to H3A, including taking the lead on developing ethical guidelines and practices appropriate for Africa and chairing the H3A Cardiovascular Working Group.
Ramsay’s research interests include:
- Understanding the role of genomics variation and population structure in African populations in the context of rapidly changing environmental and demographic conditions and their long- term health;
- Bioinformatics approaches the identification of genetic variants that contribute to disease in Africa;
- Using partial and whole-genome sequencing to identify mutations in rare monogenic traits among South African.
Ramsay is also a co-principal investigator of the SA Human Genome Programme. She has an NRF B-rating and has published 179 peer-reviewed papers. She has supervised 50 MSc and Ph.D. students to completion mentored nine postdoctoral research fellows and currently supervises 12 postgraduate students. Ramsay is a member of several national and international learned societies and a registered medical scientist. She has been an organizer of several prestigious international and national conferences. She has served on the editorial board of journals, acted as a reviewer for leading journals and has been the external examiner for many Ph.D. and MSc students. Ramsay is a Professor of Human Genetics and the founding Director of the Sydney Brenner Institute for Molecular Bioscience at Wits. She is a DST/NRF Research Chair in Genomics and Bioinformatics of African Populations, president of the International Federation of Societies of Human Genetics, a member of the International Commission on the Clinical Use of Human Genetics Genome Editing, and a committee member of the African Society for Human Genetics. Ramsay has served as chair of the steering committee of the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3A) Consortium and a chair of the Committee of Medical Science of the Health Professions Council of SA.