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Phd Students

Mr Nicholas Woudberg

BSc in Biochemistry and Microbiology, BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry

I am originally from Hilton, KwaZulu-Natal and completed both an undergraduate as well as an honours degree at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Upon completion of my honours in biochemistry, I started a MSc (MED) in Medicine at the Hatter Cardiovascular Research Institute in 2014 under the supervision of Associate Professor Sandrine Lecour from the Hatter and Dr Julia Goedecke from the Sports Science Institute.


·         Member – South African Heart Association (SA Heart)

·         Member - South African Society for Cardiovascular Research (SASCAR)

·         Member – Heart Failure Society of South Africa (HeFFSA)

·         Member – Physiology Society of South Africa (PSSA)

Research project

Having successfully upgraded my Masters to a PhD in July 2015 I will continue my work examining the associations between cardiovascular risk factors and high-density lipoproteins (HDL).

Maryam FishMs Maryam Fish

021-4066554 |

MSc (Med)

I was born and grew up in Cape Town. I matriculated in 2004 and went on to study at the University of Cape Town (UCT) from 2005 to the present. I completed my BSc in Genetics and Physiology at UCT in 2007, my BSc (Med) Honours at UCT in 2008 and my MSc (Med) at UCT in 2010. I am currently doing my PhD (Med) in Cardiovascular Genetics at UCT.

Current Research

I am working on the genetic causes of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy and dilated cardiomyopathy, as well as other types of cardiomyopathy. My focus is on identifying the genetic causes of these diseases in a number of families, and also,how these genetic factors lead to the development of disease.


Mr Babu Muhamed

021-4066554 |

I am currently a PhD candidate with the cardiovascular genetics group, HICRA. My research interest is focussed on rheumatic heart disease. This interest started with my Master’s degree training which was in medical microbiology looking at group A streptococci which is the bacteria responsible for infection that results in the development of rheumatic heart disease. The shift from micro biology to cardiovascular genetics was based on evidence that suggests a human genetic predisposition to rheumatic heart disease.

Dr Nkanyiso Hadebe

021-4066554 |

Dr Anastase Dzudie

Ms Aqeela Imamdin

BSc in Biochemistry and Genetics (University of Cape Town), BSc (med)(Hons) in Biochemistry (University of Cape Town), MSc in Medicine (University of Cape Town) I am presently pursuing my doctorate in medicine under the supervision of Professor Sandrine Lecour, Professor Lionel Opie, Dr joy McCarthy and Professor Karen Sliwa. The focus of my project is on the potential therapeutic benefits of modifiying heart rate in the setting of acute heart failure. I also teach mathematics, physics and chemistry at a senior certificate level. I enjoy painting, flying, and people who suggest we go and visit the beach.


Member – South African Heart Association (SA Heart) Member – South African Society for Cardiovascular Research (SASCAR) Member – Physiology Society of South Africa (PSSA)


Mahmoud March 2014

Dr Mahmoud Sani


I was born and grew up in Kano, Nigeria. I am a clinician and my background is Internal Medicine and Cardiology. I graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria with MBBS in 1993. I finished residency in internal medicine and cardiology in 2002.

My areas of interests include heart failure, cardiovascular imaging and cardiovascular features of HIV/AIDS. I have been involved in many collaborative researches in cardiovascular medicine across the African continent led by Prof Karen Sliwa and Prof Bongani Mayosi. I currently work with Bayero University Kano and Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria.

I enrolled to do a PhD at the Hatter Institute of Cardiovascular research in Africa, under the supervision of Prof Karen Sliwa and Dr Gad Cotter. I will be working on “characteristics and outcome of acute heart failure patients in sub Saharan Africa” with focus on the role of conventional (NT Pro BNP) and novel (Galactin -3 and GDF-15) on diagnosis and prognosis in these patients.


Ms Siddiqah George

021 406 6554 |

MSc in Biomedical Sciences, Stellenbosch University

I am currently a PhD candidate in the Cardioprotection Group at HICRA, under the supervision of Associate Professor Sandrine Lecour.

My PhD research elucidates how prolonged fructose overconsumption mediates changes in mitochondrial function in rat white skeletal versus cardiac muscle, as a model of mitochondrial dysfunction in advanced type-2 diabetes.

The study also investigates exercise and nicotinamide riboside (a vitamin B precursor) as potential therapies for ameliorating fructose-induced mitochondrial dysfunction.


Mr Timothy Spracklen


I am a PhD candidate from the Hatter Institute’s Cardiovascular Genetics group. I completed my BSc in Biochemistry and Genetics at the University of Cape Town, and stayed here for my BSc(Med)(Hons) and MSc. I am currently investigating the genetics of familial cardiomyopathy, supervised by Dr Gasnat Shaboodien and Prof Bongani Mayosi. The overarching aim of our research is to understand the genetic aetiology of various forms of heart muscle diseases, including dilated, hypertrophic, restrictive, and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathies. The objectives of my project include (1) the analysis of next-generation sequencing data from individuals affected with familial cardiomyopathy and (2) the establishment of model systems in our laboratory for the functional validation of candidate genes, and further analysis of cardiac disease mechanisms.

Mr Julian Hoevelmann


I am a fifth year medical Student from Hannover Medical School in Germany.

For the next nine months, I have the opportunity to join the Cardiac Disease and Maternity Research Group at the Hatter Institute for Cardiovascular Research in Africa (University of Cape Town) as a research fellow.

My current research project aims to evaluate the long-term outcome of patients with peripartum cardiomyopathy.