Research Groups

Adolescent Health Research Unit
The Adolescent Health Research Unit builds on existing research and collaborations to co-ordinate, promote and facilitate research on all aspects of adolescent health. Website
Alan J Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health

Alan J Flisher Centre for Public Mental HealthOfficially launched in August 2010 in memory of Alan J Flisher, the CPMH developed as an outcome of the Mental Health and Poverty Project (MHaPP), and out of a shared vision and commitment to collaboration between the University of Cape Town (Department of Psychiatry & Mental Health) and Stellenbosch University (Psychology Department) Website

Albertina & Walter Sisulu Institute for Ageing in Africa

The Albertina and Walter Sisulu Institute of Ageing in Africa is a cross-disciplinary group within the Department of Medicine and incorporates the divisions of Geriatric Medicine, Geriatric Neuropsychology, Geriatric Neurosciences, Geriatric Psychiatry and a Gerontology programme. Website

Brain-Behaviour Unit (BBU)
Brain & Behaviour InitiativeThe Brain-Behaviour Unit (BBU) is a multi-disciplinary, UCT-accredited collaborative hub of psychiatric neuroscience research.  It focuses on work particularly relevant to the South African and African context. Read more
Cape Heart Centre (MRC/UCT)

This combined research entity is the largest heart research group in South Africa and forms part of the Cape Heart Group that links research between UCT and the other universities in the region. Read more

Cardiovascular Research Unit

The core research pursuit of the Cardiovascular Research Unit centres around the concept of 'regenerative medicine' with the goal of engineered regeneration of diseased structures. This offers patients an immediate dramatic improvement in quality of life through return to functionality of these diseased structures. Read more

Cancer Research Initiative

The aim of the Cancer Research Initiative is to foster an integrated, interdisciplinary cancer research program, enabling the Faculty to be at the forefront of research endeavors to address the alarming cancer burden in South Africa, Africa and beyond. Read more

Centre for Environmental and Occupational Health Research (CEOHR)

The Centre for Environmental and Occupational Health Research (CEOHR) has been a University recognised research centre / unit since 1994. From 2001-2005. Between 2001 and 2005 the COEHR was a recognised MRC research entity. In 2005 it became a World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Occupational Health.

The Centre has for some years arguably concentrated the most substantial concentration of skills in clinical occupational medicine and occupational epidemiology research in the country.  
The Centre is very active in social responsibility activities at many levels and has played an influential role in government, labour, industry and the general community in respect of health advocacy, policy research and development, applied research and consultancy. Website

Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Research (CIDER)

With HIV/Aids and tuberculosis contributing enormously to the disease burden in the Western Cape Province, a research grouping focussing on priority infectious diseases was formed in 2000 within the School of Public Health and Family Medicine. Since 2000, the Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Research (CIDER) has been involved in a wide range of interdisciplinary research and teaching spanning surveillance, HIV-prevention clinical trials, clinical epidemiology of tuberculosis and HIV therapy, socio-behavioural and health systems research. The Centre is comprised of a diverse group of staff, with strengths in epidemiology,  biostatistics, mathematical modelling and medical anthropology.

The Centre works closely with provincial and national government.


Child & Adolescent Health (MRC/UCT)

The MRC Unit on Child & Adolescent Health undertakes translational research focused on priority childhood diseases including TB, pneumonia and HIV and the intersection of infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases such as asthma. Read more
Children's Institute
Children's Institute
The Children's Institute aims to harness the collective academic capability in the University to promote enquiry into the situation of children, to share this capacity through teaching and training programmes, and to present evidence to guide the development of laws, policies and interventions for children. Website
Chronic Diseases Initiative for Africa (CDIA)
Chronic Diseases Initiative for Africa (CDIA)
The Chronic Diseases Initiative in Africa serves as a regional hub for developing and evaluating models for chronic disease care and prevention of their risk factors. The network aims to train chronic disease researchers and to work closely with government authorities in the formulation of cost-effective plans to reduce the impact of chronic diseases and their risk factors. Website
Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa (CIDRI-Africa)
Clinical Infectious Diseases Research Initiative (CIDRI)
The Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa (CIDRI-Africa) was officially launched in April 2017. The Centre evolved from the previously-known Wellcome Trust-funded Clinical Infectious Diseases Research Initiative (CIDRI), following new funding from the Wellcome Trust. Read more
Collaborating centre for Optimising Antimalarial Therapy
Community Eye Health Institute
CCOAT serves to bring together the expertise of clinical and laboratory researchers, working together to improve malaria treatment. Our strong track record of successful malaria research initiatives has led to our being selected to lead the Pharmacology module of Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network and as one of three South African Medical Research Council Collaborating Centres for Malaria Research. Website
Community Eye Health Institute
Community Eye Health Institute
The Community Eye Health Institute (CEHI) was established in 2008 with the broad aim to build capacity in Community Eye Health services in sub-Saharan Africa. Website
Desmond Tutu HIV Centre
Desmond Tutu HIV Centre

The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation (DTHF) developed from the HIV Research Unit at New Somerset Hospital in the early 1990's. The Unit was acclaimed as one of the first public clinics to offer antiretroviral therapy to those living with HIV.

In January 2004 the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation was registered as a Section 21 non profit organisation situated in the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town. Website

Drug Discovery and Development Research Unit (DDRU) (MRC/UCT) 

The DDRU is located at the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM) at the Medical School of UCT.

The unit is part of a drug discovery campaign that specialises in the use of innovative drug discovery tools for the development of drugs targeted for treatment of infectious & other endemic African diseases. Read more

Exercise Science & Sports Medicine (ESSM) (MRC/UCT)

The UCT/MRC Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine (ESSM) was founded in 1989 by Prof. Tim Noakes and a group of researchers from the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Although ESSM is now located at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa, it is part of the Department of Human Biology within the Faculty of Health Sciences at UCT. ESSM boasts state-of-the-art equipment, extensive facilities and internationally renowned research staff whose primary functions are teaching and research. Website

Gender, Health & Justice Research Unit
Gender, Health & Justice Research Unit

The mission of the Gender Health & Justice Research Unit (GHJRU) is to improve service provision to victims of violence against women in South Africa through research, advocacy and education.

The unit draws together established researchers with a strong record of social-action research in disciplines including law, criminology, forensic sciences and pathology, gynaecology, and psychology. Website

Health Economics Unit
Health Economics Unit

The Health Economics Unit (HEU) was established in early 1990 in the School of Public Health and Family Medicine at the University of Cape Town.

The HEU works to improve the performance of health systems through informing health policy and enhancing technical and managerial capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its foundation is academic excellence in health economics and related health system issues. Website

Human Genetics Research Unit (MRC/UCT)

The group's current focus is on the genetics of colorectal cancer, inherited forms of blindness and neuropsychiatric diseases.

Recent breakthroughs include identifying the genetic basis of retinitis pigmentosa and developing therapeutics to stem loss of vision in individuals shown to carry the disease causing mutation. Website

Hatter Institute for Cardiovascular Research in Africa
Hatter Institute for Cardiovascular Research in Africa

The Hatter Institute for Cardiovascular Research in Africa (HICRA) is an active and productive arena for the training of both clinician-scientists and biomedical scientists with a focus on condition common in Africa. The Institute is led by Prof. Karen Sliwa.

HICRA is comprised of several groups, namely the Cardiac Disease and Maternity Group, Cardioprotection Group, Cardiovascular Genetics and Heart of Africa Projects.

Our state-of-the-art Translational Research hub provides a vibrant and stimulating space for interaction between members from the different research groups.

A major focus is on translational research and to serve as a centre of training for post-graduate students from South Africa and other African countries.Website

HIV Mental Health Research Unit (HIV MHU)

The HIV Mental Health Research Unit (HIV MHU) is located in the Division of Neuropsychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health.

The Unit's platform of clinical service, teaching and research, extending to numerous hospitals and clinics in greater Cape Town, was established in response to the growing recognition of the burden of mental disorders in people living with HIV – including depressive, anxiety, substance abuse and neurocognitive disorders. Read more

Including Disability in Education in Africa  (IDEA)

The IDEA Research Unit is newly accredited initiative that has evolved from the university’s  Teacher Empowerment for Disability Inclusion (TEDI) project , located in the Disability Studies Division of the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. The guiding principle of the  IDEA unit is to contribute toward knowledge construction that supports global progress toward SDG4: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” with a focus on disability inclusion, specifically (but not exclusively) on the African continent. 

Immunology of Infectious Diseases Unit (MRC/UCT

Human infectious diseases are a high-priority area for South Africa and Africa, where they continue to be a leading cause of childhood and adult morbidity and mortality. Read more

Institute of Infectious Disease & Molecular Medicine (IDM)
Institute of Infectious Disease & Molecular Medicine (IDM)

The Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM) was established in 2004 as a trans-faculty postgraduate research institute based within the University of Cape Town, South Africa. The IDM Vision is to be an international centre of excellence where world-class scientists work together to tackle diseases of major importance in Africa. Website

Lung Infection and Immunity Unit (LIIU)

The Lung Infection and Immunity Unit is an WHO-associated ANDI Center for Diagnostic Excellence. The groups main research interests are the study of pulmonary regulatory immunological pathways in relation to infection, development and validation of rapid and field-friendly diagnostics for pulmonary infections, and outcome and intervention studies of drug-resistant tuberculosis. Website

Lung Institute

The Institute was reconstituted and in January 2007 became a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Cape Town, but retains its separate corporate identity, administration, staffing and finance. It benefits from strong representation from the university on its Board and finance committee, and collaborations in research with many units and departments in the Health Sciences Faculty. Details of the six Clinical Research Units and their current projects can be viewed on the Website

Medical Imaging Research Unit (MRC/UCT)

The mission of the MRC/UCT Medical Imaging Research Unit is to conduct world-class research in medical imaging that specifically addresses the healthcare needs of Africa.

Research in the unit focuses on the role of medical imaging in healthcare problems such as brain and behaviour, trauma, cancer, tuberculosis, neuromuscular disorders, cardiovascular disease, and alcohol abuse. Read more

Molecular Mycobacteriology Research Unit (MMRU) (MRC/NHLS/UCT)

Research in the MMRU is focused on aspects of mycobacterial physiology and metabolism that are of relevance to drug discovery and drug resistance, and the Unit is best known for its work on mechanisms of DNA metabolism, resuscitation and culturability, respiration and cofactor biosynthesis in mycobacteria. Read more

Perinatal Mental Health Project (PMHP)

The Perinatal Mental Health Project (PMHP) addresses the need of integrated mental health care for pregnant and postpartum women and girls.Read more

Receptor Biology Research Group (MRC/UCT)

The mission of the Group is to study the structure and function of G protein-coupled receptors and to apply the research to understanding and treating diseases that have major effects on the social and economic welfare of South Africa. Read more

Research Centre for Adolescent and Child Health (REACH)

REACH is a paediatric clinical research unit within the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, based at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital (RCH).

The research program is locally responsive, addressing national priorities such as HIV, TB and childhood pneumonia as well as globally relevant, fostering international, national and local collaborations. Read more

South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI)
South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI)

The South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI), is a world leader in TB vaccine clinical research.

The mission of SATVI, based at the University of Cape Town (UCT), is development of new and effective vaccinat ion strategies against tuberculosis (TB). A new, effective vaccine has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives world-wide. Website

Structural Biology Research Unit (SBRU) 
South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI)

The Structural Biology Research Unit co-ordinates and promotes the experimental determination of biological structure at the University of Cape Town. The Unit is a grant funded entity, operationally located in the Division of Medical Biochemistry, Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, that employs staff, provides a home for post-graduate students and post-doctoral fellows and conducts research. Website

UCT Leukaemia Unit

The UCT Leukaemia Unit has been established with the objective of fostering basic and clinical research in the area of haematological stem cell disorders and blood malignancies. Some of the current interest includes the marrow microenvironment in multiple myeloma, molecular genetics of acute or chronic leukaemias and clinical studies in lymphoproliferative disorders. Read more

Vaccines for Africa Initiative (VACFA)

The Vaccines for Africa Initiative (VACFA) is a non-profit academic unit founded in 2009 by Professor Gregory Hussey, who is the Director. We are in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town within the Department of Public Health and Family Medicine. VACFA is a partnership of concerned individuals and organizations who have come together with a goal of increasing awareness of and promoting uptake of vaccines on the African continent.Website

Women's Health Research Unit (WHRU)

The Women's Health Research Unit (WHRU) was established in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 1996 and is located in the School of Public Health and Family Medicine. The overall aim of the Unit is to improve the health of women through research that informs policy and practice. It acts as a multidisciplinary centre for women's health research in South Africa focusing on high priority women's health, and gender and health issues. The Unit's main activities include: Research; Health service support; Teaching; Social responsiveness and Advocacy. Website


The Risk and Resilience in Mental Disorders Research Unit - with key researchers at the University of Stellenbosch, the University of Cape Town (UCT) and Northwest University -  researches anxiety and stress disorders. It is also involved in projects in related fields, including the Drakenstein Neurodevelopmental and Neuro-GAP studies. Website