The Department of Human Biology brings together nine academic groups:
- Applied Anatomy
- Biological Anthropology
- Cell Biology
- Biomedical Engineering and Medical Imaging
- Exercise Science and Sports Medicine
- Health Technology and Infrastructure Management
- Human Nutrition
Apart from research activities in the various fields of the discipline, the department also conducts research into curriculum development and intervention strategies for transformation in, and broadening access to, medical education.
The department also hosts the Confocal & Light Microscope Imaging Facility which is a modern interfaculty unit that provides a service relating to light and fluorescence microscopy, including the new LSM confocal microscope. The unit specialises in advanced fluorescence imaging acquisition and image analysis supported by computer workstations equipped with state of the art software.
The department's undergraduate teaching contributes to the MBChB programme as well as to undergraduate programmes in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment.
Human Biology has the biggest cohort of postgraduate students in the Faculty of Health Sciences. It offers a wide range of postgraduate programmes in niche areas such as:
- applied anatomy
- biological anthropology
- cell biology
- biomedical engineering
- exercise science
- sports physiotherapy
- sports medicine
- health care technology management
- nutrition and dietetics
Head of Department (HOD)
As of January 2009 Assoc Prof Laurie Kellaway has taken on the headship of the department of Human Biology.
He graduated with a PhD in Neurophysiology from UCT in 1990. He has a deep interest is cortical mechanisms of sensory processing and recently spent a sabbatical year (2005) at the Institute of Neuroinformatics, in Zurich, Switzerland to pursue collaborative studies on synaptic profiles in the cerebral cortex.
He also has an interest in neuroinflammatory processes and during the last 3 years have supervised 2 PhD projects in this field. He currently has one postdoctoral student who will be continuing research in this field for the next two years.
Another of his interests is the mechanisms of stress on brain function and behaviour. To this end he has also been collaborating with Professor V Russell for a number of years in this area of research and is currently co-supervising one MSc student.
He has also forged collaborative links with Dr M Jacobs (Department CLS, Division of Immunology) where they are developing mouse models of TB meningitis, current he is co-supervising one MSc and one PhD student on related projects.
The enteric brain is also an area of interest and he is co-supervising a PhD student with Professor Brombacher and Dr Horsnell.
(Department CLS, Division of Immunology). With these endeavours, and his involvement with International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) schools held in Afirca, he aims to continue promoting research interest and multidisciplinary collaboration in the Neurosciences. Besides his research interests, he also supports undergraduate teaching in Physiology and Neuroscience and training of Honours students in HUB.