Local Organising Committee

 Professor Shane Norris   Dr Lisa Micklesfield   Professor Linda Richter 
 Dr Elizabeth Kimani   Professor H. Salome Kruger  Dr Zandile Mchiza 
 Professor Thandi Puoane  Professor Vicki Lambert  Professor Dinky Levitt
 Associate Professor Nigel Crowther    


ProfNorrisProfessor Shane Norris, WITS 

Chair of the Organising Committee
Professor Shane Norris is Director of the MRC/Wits Developmental Pathways for Health Research Unit, Department of Paediatrics at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Professor Norris is Co-PI of the Birth to Twenty Plus Cohort and PI of the Soweto First 1000 days Cohort. His research interest includes child growth and development, obesity, and inter-generational risk of metabolic disease.
DrMicklesfield3Dr Lisa Micklesfield, WITS 

My primary research development has been in the field of physical activity and bone health, with a particular focus on their relationship during the different life stages. I have considerable experience with the various methodologies used to measure bone strength, including dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), quantitative ultrasound (QUS) and peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT). 

As my research interests have evolved, I have begun to focus more on epidemiological approaches to physical activity, and in particular it’s influence on body composition, thereby applying myself more to the field of non-communicable diseases, including obesity, particularly in South African communities. Differences in body composition and distribution, as well as bone parameters, between South African groups of different ethnic origin continues to interest me, and more recently has led to international collaborations with the aim of further investigating these differences in different international populations and how they may be associated with metabolic risk.

ProfRichterProfessor Linda Richter, DST-NRF CoE in Human Development 

Professor Linda Richter is the Director of the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Human Development, Universities of the Witwatersrand and KwaZulu-Natal, and a Distinguished Research Fellow at the Human Sciences Research Council. Linda, a developmental psychologist, is one of the founders of the Birth to Twenty Plus cohort. Her research is in the fields of early child development, children and families in adversity including HIV, and men and fatherhood.

DrKimani 2Dr Elizabeth Kimani, APHRC 

Dr Elizabeth Kimani is an Associate Research Scientist at the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) and a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow. Elizabeth is a Public Health Specialist/Epidemiologist and holds a PhD in Public Health focusing on the double burden of malnutrition; a Masters of Public Health specializing in epidemiology and disease control, testing effectiveness of a malaria intervention; and a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Health focusing on water and sanitation in urban slums. She has a cumulative research experience of 10+ years. Her current research interests include maternal and child health issues, particularly child growth and development. 

She is currently conducting intervention studies in urban slums in Nairobi and rural settings in Kenya, aimed at testing the effectiveness of the baby friendly community initiative on infant and young child nutrition and health outcomes. She has sound experience in research in public health issues particularly maternal and child health and malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa, using both quantitative and qualitative methods. She has close to 30 journal articles on public health issues, particularly nutrition issues in sub-Saharan Africa and over 30 abstracts in local and international conferences.

ProfKruger2Professor H. Salome Kruger, NWU 

Prof. Salome Kruger is a Professor of Nutrition in the Centre of Excellence for Nutrition at the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University in South Africa. As an active researcher she has published more than 90 articles in national and international accredited journals. She acted as study leader/ promoter of 43 Masters and PhD students and supervisor of four postdocs. Of the more than 50 presentations at scientific conferences, 16 were as invited speaker. 

She is a Council member of the Nutrition Society of South Africa and research leader of the Body Composition research group of the Centre of Excellence for Nutrition at the North-West University. She has been appointed as supervisor and external examiner of several PhD theses of students from African universities. She served on consultative groups of the South African Department of Health to provide input on the Integrated Nutrition programme, Micronutrient Control and Paediatric Food Based Dietary Guidelines. She currently serves on the editorial boards of two international scientific journals, Public Health Nutrition and Nutrition: The International Journal of Applied and Basic Nutrition. She is rated as an established scientist by the South African National Research Foundation. 

Prof. Kruger is also the recipient of the John M Kinney award for best publication in Pediatric Nutrition in the international journal Nutrition in 2005. She is married to Hennie Kruger and they have three children.

DrMchizaDr Zandile Mchiza, SA MRC 

Dr Zandile Mchiza is an National Research Foundation (NRF) Rated Scientist and a Senior Specialist Scientist at the South African Medical Research Council (SA MRC)’s Non-Communicable Disease Research Unit (NCDRU). She obtained her BSc Nutrition and Dietetics Degree at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa (SA) and her Master / Doctor of Philosophy Degree at the University of Cape Town, SA in June 2009. She then completed her post-doctoral research fellowship at the South African Human Science Research Council’s Population Health, Health Systems and Innovation Unit. At NCDRU she co-ordinates and manages the obesity and food insecurity projects and work in-part with other research expert in the unit and internationally on other health related issues that include nutrition, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. 

Her publication record spans the authoring and co-authoring of 16 national and international conference presentations, 10 book or equivalent publications and 14 peer-reviewed articles that are published with ISI accredited journals. Her most recent work highlights the consequences of the nutrition transition in Africa, with one of her articles re: Obesity and the nutrition transition in Sub-Saharan Africa published with the ANNALS OF THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF SCIENCES. Through her innovative obesity research she was awarded the 2005 “Young Woman in Science” title by the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST).

She is a reviewer of scientific journals in her field namely: the South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition (SAJCN); the Public Health Nutrition (PNH), the Bulletin (BLT) of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition (JHEN). She is also an active DST-NRF Research Adjudicator and a member of the Technical Advisory Group for the South African Nutrition and Health Surveys (SANHANES) and the FAO/WHO Food-Based Dietary Guideline Working Group.

ProfPuoane 2Professor Thandi Puoane, UWC 

Thandi Puoane is a Professor at the School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape. Her main areas of specialisation are public health nutrition, chronic diseases especially socio-cultural factors that are related to obesity, child health and monitoring and evaluation of programmes. She completed her undergraduate studies in nursing at the University of South Africa and postgraduate degrees (MPH and Dr PH) at the University of California at Berkeley, USA. 

She is a rated scientist by the National Research Foundation (NRF), a member of the Chronic Disease Initiative for Africa (CDIA) and a member of the Public Health Association of South Africa (PHASA). She is currently the South African Principal Investigator for a global study involving 17 countries from low-middle and upper income countries the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study, which is undertaken in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape sites.

LambertProfessor Vicki Lambert, UCT

Vicki is Professor, UCT/MRC Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine (ESSM), Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town

Her research interests include:

  • Neurohumoral regulation of metabolism during exercise (interaction with diet) and the “interpretation” of fatigue
  • Neurohumoral regulation and sequelae from early life programming of adult disease
  • Regulation of energy metabolism and metabolic sequelae in leanness and obesity
  • Physical activity in health and disease in communities in transition
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LevittProfessor Dinky Levitt, UCT

Professor Dinky Levitt is Head of the Division of Diabetic Medicine and Endocrinology at the University of Cape Town and Director of the Chronic Disease Initiative in Africa. She has participated in the development of national and international guidelines for the management of diabetes, chaired the IDF Africa task force for the development of guidelines for the region and participated in drafting the Africa Declaration for diabetes.

She has served as chairperson of the Society for Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes of South Africa. 

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CrowtherAssociate Professor Nigel Crowther, WITS

Associate Professor Nigel Crowther is head of research within the Department of Chemical Pathology, National Health Laboratory Service and University of the Witwatersrand.

His main research interests focus on two key areas - insulin and adipose tissue. Thus, current research projects include those investigating the genetic input into obesity, dyslipidaemia and type 1 diabetes, the molecular mechanisms involved in the control of intra-cellular lipid deposition in a variety of cell types, the aetiology of obesity-related insulin resistance, the input of in utero metabolic programming to the development of type 2 diabetes and the metabolic effects of HIV and anti-retroviral therapy.

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