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Head of Division: Professor Gail Todd


The Division’s training programme includes undergraduate teaching of 2nd to 6th year MBChB students, nurses and students in professions allied to medicine. Postgraduate students include 8 registrars, and 1 PhD fellow.  Our division supervised 11 second year students in 4 research projects and 5 fifth year students during their electives in 2000.

Academic activities

Professor Khumalo was made an associated professor in 2009. The specialised clinic for problems of the hair and scalp, run by herself and Dr Ngwanya remains a service in demand and the cornerstone for their increasing publications on hair and scalp disorders.

Dr Rannakoe Lehloenya will lead a study of the molecular and genetic aspects of severe cutaneous drug reactions as a PhD fellow in the division. Ongoing clinical research includes the following: A study on contact hypersensitivity reactions in atopic eczema children. The development of skin disease and factors associated with these reactions in vulnerable first year trainer hairdressers has been piloted and will be prospectively studied as part of the occupational health program. Dr Motsepe will study the relevance of a positive latex (RAST) result in a non-medical occupational setting in 2010.

Dr Vanessa Lapiner received her MSc for her work documenting the correlation between melanocyte stem cells in vitiligenous skin and response to treatment. Dr Anita Bonthuys will continue this vitiligo research as an MRC Fellow and supernumary registrar in 2010. The molecular basis of vitiligo, the role of khellin in repigmentation, and the low incidence of cancers in vitiligo patients remain an important focus of our collaborative research work together with Professor Sue Kidson, Dr Robea Ballo and Dr Lester Davids of the Department of Human Biology.

Consultancy and other Activities

Members of the department continue to act as consultants and serve on editorial boards and many committees at local, national and international level in addition to their routine commitments. This has meant that our dermatology teaching and research functions at an internationally high standard.

We remain dependent on clinical drug trials to sustain and develop dermatology teaching, research and services. While these appear to compete with basic research time, they continue to generate peer-reviewed publications and international collaborations while providing registrars exposure to good clinical practise, medical dispensing basics and sound research methodology.

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