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Research Staff

Dr Gasnat Shaboodien

Senior Research Officer

021-4066615 | gasnat.shaboodien@uct.ac.za

Dr Shaboodien completed a BSc and Hons in Microbiology and Biochemistry at the University of the Western Cape. She then changed course and completed an MSc and PhD in human genetics. Her PhD involved studying individuals with HIV associated cardiomyopathy, idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy and heart transplant recipients. She is currently the group leader of the Cardiovascular Genetics Laboratory in Cape Town which is headed by Professor Bongani Mayosi. Their research aims to discover the genetic basis of inherited heart diseases that cause sudden death. This has involved the study of rare families with monogenic disease (i.e. inherited cardiomyopathies and arrhythmogenic disorders), and the delineation of the genetic architecture of complex traits associated with sudden death (such as cardiac hypertrophy). She has also been appointed as the Laboratory Coordinator for the RHDGen project in Cape Town. This has involved setting up an RHDGen biorepository for biological samples including DNA, plasma and serum.


Mrs Olivia Briton

Project Co-ordinator

​021-4066358 | olivia.briton@uct.ac.za

I was born in Port Elizabeth and brought up on a Dairy farm in the Eastern Cape. Schooling meant being a boarder at schools in Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth. I moved to Cape Town after school to train as a nurse at Victoria Hospital in Wynberg, and thereafter I worked at Groote Schuur Hospital and specialised in Oncology. I ran the Gynaeoncology Chemotherapy unit for five years before moving to the UK in 1997, here I started my career in Medical Research at St Bartholomews Hospital, London, as the Breast Cancer Chemotherapy Research nurse. In 2000 I moved back to Cape Town and worked as the project Co-Ordinator for the ‘Khayelitsha Cervical Cancer Screening Project’ at UCT, managing various research studies to prevent Cervical Cancer. I’ve now joined HICRA as the Research Project Co-Ordinator and am working on the B-A-HEF study.


Ms Carmelita Abrahams

Intern NRF

Email: carmelita.abrahams@uct.ac.za

I am passionate about the field of physiology and research. Therefore, I pursued a BscHons and MSc in Physiology at Stellenbosch University.  I am currently employed as an NRF intern at the HICRA with the cardioprotection research group supervised by Prof Sandrine Lecour. As part of the internship I will learn different techniques and assigned a project that will investigate lipoprotein profile in HIV patients. 


Mrs Lameez Pearce

Research Assistant

021-406 6554 | Lameez.pearce@uct.ac.za

Joined the cardiovascular genetics team in 2012 as a research assistant. Main roles in the laboratory include genetic screening for mutations in patients with heart disease and DNA extractions from various biological samples.

Ms Janine Saaiman

​Research Assistant


I’m originally from Cape Town. I’ve been working since 2000 in multiple Administrative roles that range from SARS to Law Firms. I finally found myself working at UCT since 2011. My journey began working in the Mayosi Research Group as a Secretary in the Old Main Building of Groote Schuur Hospital.  In 2015, under the same group I was promoted to a Research Assistant in the Hatter Institute’s Cardiovascular Genetics (CVG) Team.

The philosophy that has brought me so far, is that every accomplishment starts with a decision to try.