UCT receives a gift for the heart

01 December 2010 | Story by Newsroom

Dr Asfree GwanyanyaTechies: Dr Asfree Gwanyanya, Dr Peter Parslow of AD Instruments and Assoc Prof Laurie Kellaway, head of the Department of Human Biology, bask in the new Powerlab system.

There was cause for celebration in the Department of Human Biology recently when Dr Asfree Gwanyanya received his Powerlab package, following a successful application to Australian company AD Instruments for an Early Research Career Grant.

Born in Zimbabwe and trained in Zimbabwe and Belgium, Dr Gwanyanya is a specialist anaesthetist in the department. Here he runs a new research project focusing on the mechanisms of heart enlargement disease, a process called hypertrophy.

Which is where Powerlab comes in. This data-acquisition system, developed by AD Instruments, records and analyses physiological signals from human or animal subjects, or even from isolated organs. It is commonly used in research and teaching.

Gwanyanya will apply his Powerlab hardware and software to study and teach on the electrical and pumping activities of the enlarged heart. But given the system's range, there is plenty of opportunity for collaborations across the Faculty of Health Sciences.

Gwanyanya's grant is one of only four that have been awarded worldwide by AD Instruments. The grant affords recipients the opportunity to build up their stock of research equipment by offering state-of-the-art electronic measuring equipment that can be used for both research and teaching purposes.

Having borrowed equipment from colleagues before, Gwanyanya is keen to return the favour, he promised Dr Peter Parslow, general manager of the international division of AD Instruments, when they met at UCT on 19 November.

"Here in Africa, if you support one, you support many," he told Parslow.

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