UCT Inaugural Lecture: Professor Mark Engel

24 July 2023

Dear colleagues and students

I write to invite you cordially to the next UCT Inaugural Lecture, to be presented by Professor Mark Engel on 3 August 2023. It will be the sixth lecture held in the series this year.

The lecture is titled “We are here too – Contributing African Strep A research towards eliminating rheumatic heart disease”. Rheumatic heart disease (RHD), despite being largely unseen in developed countries, remains rampant in poorer communities and low-resourced settings around the world. Strep A, the bacteria responsible for the antecedent sore throat infection believed to initiate the immune processes involved in RHD development, is largely unresearched in Africa.

Professor Engel is an epidemiologist in the Department of Medicine at the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Faculty of Health Sciences. He collaborates with colleagues across Africa to apply a wide range of investigative approaches, from molecular to population-based research to all aspects of RHD. In 2016 he established the AFROStrep study in an effort to improve the understanding of the role of group A streptococcus in RHD development.

His work, supported over the years by South Africa’s National Research Foundation, the South African Medical Research Council, the American Heart Association and National Institutes of Health in the USA, has been presented nationally and internationally. Together with the late Professor Bongani Mayosi, he managed the RHDGen Study, an Africa-wide initiative to investigate molecular aspects of RHD, reporting novel insights in susceptibility genes and proteomic profiles in RHD.

Starting as a laboratory scientist, Professor Engel was a Harvard University Fellow in Public Health in 2001, before pursuing a career in epidemiology. He joined UCT in 2007 and was awarded his PhD in 2013 for a large longitudinal study on the epidemiology of RHD in children in Cape Town. Based at the Cape Heart Institute and the Department of Medicine, he also teaches health research methods while supervising postgraduate students. He is a member of the African Union/PASCAR Education Taskforce and the Burden of Disease Working Group of the Strep A Vaccine Global Consortium.

Please join us for this lecture.

Date: Thursday, 3 August 2023
Venue: New Learning Centre Lecture Theatre, Anatomy Building, Anzio Road, Observatory
Time: 17:00 to 19:00 SAST


Emer Prof Daya Reddy
Vice-Chancellor (interim)

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