Professor Faadiel Essop

Prof. Faadiel Essop is currently working as a professor at the Department of Physiological Sciences at Stellenbosch University (South Africa) and is also a visiting professor at the University of La Reunion (France).  Prof. Essop completed his under- and postgraduate studies at the University of Cape Town and was later awarded a Fulbright fellowship to further his research at the University of Texas-Houston Medical School (Texas, US).  He spent several years working at the Hatter Institute for Cardiovascular Research in Africa at the University of Cape Town’s medical school. He subsequently moved to Stellenbosch University and established the Cardio-Metabolic Research Group (CMRG) that focuses on lifestyle-orientated conditions such as the metabolic syndrome, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Prof. Essop is a former chairperson of the Department of Physiological Sciences (two cycles) and currently acts as the President of the Physiology Society of Southern Africa (two cycles), the Vice-President of the African Association of Physiological Sciences, and the chairperson of the Research Advisory Committee of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa. He also served as a member of the International Committee of the American Physiological Society (APS) and is an elected Fellow of the APS (Cardiovascular).  He was recently appointed to the Board of the General Assembly of the International Union of Physiological Sciences.  He is presently also fulfilling duties as an academic editor of PLoS ONE and serves on several editorial boards, including the American Journal of Physiology Heart & Circulatory Physiology.  Prof. Essop is married to Dr. Rehana Essop (clinician focusing on chronic diseases in rural areas) and they have three children – Ziyaad (3rd year medical student, Maties), Aaliyah (Grade 11, Larries) and Yasin (Grade 9, Boishaai).  He loves to read and philosophize about the meaning of life and is an ardent South African and Manchester United sports fan!


Dr Gaurang Deshpande

I am a postdoctoral fellow in the CMRG and my current project is titled, “Mechanisms in cardioprotective effects of Transketolase-like 1 (TKTL1)”.

TKTL1 is a part of the transketolase family and very little is known of its effects in metabolic syndrome. This project has many promising avenues with applications ranging in many fields from cancer biology and progression to ischemic heart disease and heart failure.

Born in Vapi, a small town in Gujrat, India, I come from a family of medical doctors and hence, have always been fascinated with the working of the human body in physiology and pathology. I have completed a Bachelor’s in Biotechnology (Nagpur University, India), Master’s in Genetic manipulation and Molecular Cell Biology (University of Sussex, UK) and a PhD in Medicine (University of Cape Town, South Africa).

Cardiac research, most of the times, is directly applicable to the patients and therefore, we aspire to make major advances in the field of cardiometabolic diseases that we are facing in present times. This, according to me, is the best part of doing research in this field and CMRG enables me to do this exciting work that creates knowledge.


Dr Eman Teer

I am a postdoctoral fellow in the CMRG and my current project is titled, “Evaluating immunometabolic changes in HIV-positive individuals”.

I was born in Libya and completed my medical degree at Tripoli University. I thereafter worked as a clinician in the historic town of Sabratha in Libya.  My interest was in hematological disorders.  We decided to migrate to Stellenbosch University to empower ourselves and to complete additional studies. I therefore joined the CMRG during 2013 to tackle a PhD degree. Here I helped establish an ongoing clinical study in Worcester (Western Cape) to examine the links between HIV-AIDS and cardiovascular diseases. My PhD study has now been completed and revealed fascinating and novel findings that we I am now further pursuing as a postdoctoral fellow in the CMRG. In my spare time, I love to do some hiking in the beautiful areas surrounding Stellenbosch and I also enjoy trying out different cooking recipes. I am happily married to Emad (PhD in Engineering) and we have three beautiful daughters: Sarah, Tasneem and Ream.


Lucien Sher

I am currently doing my Master’s in Human Physiology with the CMRG.

I grew up in Cape Town and attended South African College School (SACS) for 12 years. I then moved to Stellenbosch where I did my undergraduate BSc degree in Human Physiology. In 2017, I completed my BSc Honours in Human Physiology with the CMRG.

Growing up, I was always fascinated with art, biology and how these two fields of study overlap with one another. I am currently very interested in how behavioural changes can influence one’s physiological profile and vice versa. Other interests of mine include sailing, surfing, hiking, camping, music, Harry Potter and my animals.


Lukas Olivier

I was born and raised in the northern suburbs of Cape Town. I matriculated from Stellenberg High School in 2013. Since my dad is a Gynecologist and my mom a former Midwife, I grew up with a fair amount of medical talk in my house. Therefore, I always knew I would do something in the medical/scientific field. After completing a bachelor’s degree in human life sciences (2016), I decided to continue my studies and apply for the honours course in Physiology also Stellenbosch University, as I was very interested in how the human body works at a molecular level. My honours year made me grow both in an intellectual and personal sense. I am currently doing an MSc degree with the CMRG.

When I’m not at the department or busy with work, I will most likely be playing soccer with my friends or be at the beach, surfing with Lucien. Other interests include music, my cats and spending time with my family.