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Meet the Team

Board Members

johanburgerIndependant Non-Executive Director

After his undergraduate studies at Stellenbosch University, Johan obtained a PhD in Microbiology (Molecular Plant Virology) from the University of Cape Town in 1991. Since then, he has been managing research as principle investigator at the Agricultural Research Council, the CSIR and Stellenbosch University. His current research is focussed on various aspects of grapevine virology, with the ultimate aim of introducing virus resistance in grapevine cultivars. To this end, his team is investigating the virus complexes responsible for the numerous virus diseases in grapevine, the role of small RNAs in biotic stresses caused by different grapevine pathogens, and the development of virus-based resistance constructs for the ultimate expression in grapevine cultivars. Johan teaches Molecular Genetics at Stellenbosch University and supervises three post-doctoral fellows and about 10 post-graduate students. He receives research funding from a diverse group of donors and has several national and international collaborations. He is the current Chair of Department of Genetics at Stellenbosch University and also serves on the management committees of a number of local and international professional associations. He serves on the boards of two companies and is the commanding officer of 3 Field Engineer Regiment, a Reserve Force army regiment, based in Cape Town.

Reinhard-HillerManaging Director

Reinhard has a long track record in converting scientific ideas into successful products and innovative businesses in the exciting field of modern biotechnology. He was born, raised and educated in Austria where he completed a PhD in molecular biology at the University of Vienna investigating the properties of autocatalytic ribozymes. After graduating in 2000, he joined a team of scientists in a biotech start-up that aimed at developing novel microarray-based solutions that addressed unmet needs in the molecular diagnostic sector. Venturing into unchartered technological territory he and his team devised a protein microarray platform suitable for the miniaturization of antibody-profiling immunoassays. In 2003, Reinhard turned the patented technological solution into the first CE-certified microarray-based test for allergic diseases in Europe. A successful launch was followed by rapid market growth and the company was later acquired by the global market leader in allergy diagnostics. In 2005, Reinhard moved to Cape Town to create the Centre for Proteomic and Genomic Research (CPGR). Set up with government funding as a core technology platform to drive biotech innovation, the CPGR today is the leading provider of solutions in the area of Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics in South Africa. More recently, Reinhard and his team have advanced the organisation into an internationally recognised contract research organisation that creates value in drug discovery and drug development, vaccine development and disease biomarkers discovery, amongst others. Under his leadership as Managing Director, the CPGR has gone through a period of rapid growth and increasing international recognition as a specialist player in the dynamic genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics arenas. In addition to his PhD, Reinhard owns a NLP Master Practitioner degree, and he is a Member of the South African Charter of the IoD (Institute of Directors). His spare time is dedicated to his family, in particular his twin kids Isak Themba and Sara Thandiwe.

ronniekingwillIndependant Financial Director

The 40 years since Mr Kingwill matriculated from Muir College in Uitenhage have been filled with enormous opportunities;its been a privilege for him to have been a South African and an Old Muirite. He attended Rhodes University to complete his B.Com and finally qualified as a CA having started his articles in Johannesburg with Coopers & Lybrand who were kind enough to sponsor a year of International training in London. After qualifying and spending some time in the profession Mr Kingwill realised that he needed less structure and so joined the Dion Group before moving on to spending 12 years in ESKOM and 8 years in Portnet. This experience helped to build up an understanding of major projects that require sound financial control, extensive communication and interface with multi disciplined organisations. This was the ideal background for him to become part of Cape Town’s 2004 Olympic Bid Initiative. During more recent experiences in the Fresh Produce Terminal environment as Managing Director, a successful business strategy was implemented, driven by strategic goals and value systems informed by the Balanced Scorecard and supported by meaningful service level agreements. Currently as an Accredited Associate of the Institute for Independent he engages in his own business advisory business registered as On Demand Investments. Recent engagements have been in several sectors where completed proposals include the following initiatives:

  • Kelvin Power Station acquisition and due diligence
  • Due diligence at Endulwini Resources
  • Feasibility Studies for coal fired Power Station in Mozambique for AMCI
  • Distributed Generation initiative presented to the Department of Mineral and Energy
  • Prepaid Metering proposal to housing developers
  • Business Plans supporting an application to the IDC for funding of Crane Hire
  • Services Service level agreements at the Cape Town Market
  • Supply Chain proposal to Umlimi Agricultural Services
  • Due diligence of South African Non Amateur Golf (SANAG)
  • Strategic planning for On The Dot a division of Media24
  • Acting Manager of Somerset West Golf Club
  • Interim CEO of Towel & Linen a linen distributor
  • Interim CEO of Svenmill a textile factory
  • Member of one of the PGWC audit committees.

After many years of keeping abreast of developments in the logistics sector with a strong financial focus, there is a passion to contribute to the growth of these future business leaders and build the SMME sector as a platform for job creation.

shamspatherChairperson

Mr Pather completed his B Bus Sci at UCT in 1973 and his MBA at UCT in 1977 and a B Com (Hons) in Business Data Processing at UCT in 1982. He has attended various portfolio/asset management courses and programs locally and in London and Geneva. Semi-retired in 2003 for health reasons, his career has included being an Investment analyst for Norwich Union Life Assurance (1973-1975) and AGM (Investments), Colonial Mutual Life (1975-1987). He was an Executive Director (Investments) of Southern Life Assoc.(1987-1996), and Executive Director of Real Africa Holdings and CEO of Real Africa Asset Management (1996-2003). Aside from his current role as the Chairperson of the CPGR’s board, Mr Pather is a non-executive director on the boards of Coronation Fund Managers Limited, Oceana Group Limited and Lungisa Holdings (Pty) Ltd. He is a Trustee for the UCT Foundation, Ukukhula Trust (UCT), Imvula Trust (Coronation) and Bonus Pool Trust (Coronation). Mr Pather is the Governor of the Imam Abdullah Haron Education Trust and a member of the Joint Investment Council – UCT.

Staff Members

Reinhard-HillerManaging Director

Reinhard has a long track record in converting scientific ideas into successful products and innovative businesses in the exciting field of modern biotechnology. He was born, raised and educated in Austria where he completed a PhD in molecular biology at the University of Vienna investigating the properties of autocatalytic ribozymes. After graduating in 2000, he joined a team of scientists in a biotech start-up that aimed at developing novel microarray-based solutions that addressed unmet needs in the molecular diagnostic sector. Venturing into unchartered technological territory he and his team devised a protein microarray platform suitable for the miniaturization of antibody-profiling immunoassays. In 2003, Reinhard turned the patented technological solution into the first CE-certified microarray-based test for allergic diseases in Europe. A successful launch was followed by rapid market growth and the company was later acquired by the global market leader in allergy diagnostics. In 2005, Reinhard moved to Cape Town to create the Centre for Proteomic and Genomic Research (CPGR). Set up with government funding as a core technology platform to drive biotech innovation, the CPGR today is the leading provider of solutions in the area of Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics in South Africa. More recently, Reinhard and his team have advanced the organisation into an internationally recognised contract research organisation that creates value in drug discovery and drug development, vaccine development and disease biomarkers discovery, amongst others. Under his leadership as Managing Director, the CPGR has gone through a period of rapid growth and increasing international recognition as a specialist player in the dynamic genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics arenas. In addition to his PhD, Reinhard owns a NLP Master Practitioner degree, and he is a Member of the South African Charter of the IoD (Institute of Directors). His spare time is dedicated to his family, in particular his twin kids Isak Themba and Sara Thandiwe.

RT-PCR Platform manager

aubrey

Aubrey obtained his BSc and BSc(Hons) degrees in Biochemistry at the University of Cape Town and then stayed on at UCT to obtain his PhD degree in Molecular & Cell Biology in 2004 under Prof. Nicola Illing. Aubrey’s thesis investigated the role of fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2) in inducing neuronal differentiation in a cell line which was derived from mouse olfactory neuroepithelium. Upon completion of his PhD Aubrey began a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship in Prof. Jonathan Blackburn’s laboratory at UCT. Here, his focus was on using protein microarrays as a platform to study the activity of the human kineome and to study the selectivity and potency of drug molecules towards kinases. The techniques that he used include the baculovirus expression technology, cell culture and protein microarrays. Aubrey joined the CPGR in June 2008 as a Senior Project Scientist and is now responsible for managing the protein microarray service platform.

awaatiefCreditors clerk

Awaatief has a National Certificate in Bookkeeping with the ICB (Institute of Certified Bookkeepers). I was previously an Administrator for Property24 and Korbitec. I have been at the CPGR since Jan 2016 as  Creditors Clerk.

 

SONY DSCQuality and Laboratory Manager

Busiswa obtained her BTech in Biotechnology in 2002 from M.L. Sultan Technikon in Durban. From 2002 to 2004 she worked at the CSIR Bioscience in Modderfontein. Busiswa’s initial area of expertise was process development using fermentation technology and biocatalysis. While employed at the CSIR she embarked on MTech studies with Durban University of Technology which she completed in 2007. The research project for these studies focused on production of enzymes for improving the quality of South African animal feeds. In 2004, she joined the University of the Limpopo (then University of the North) as a Senior Technician where she contributed in setting up a protein biotechnology research laboratory. During this tenure at UL, she was involved in research projects focused on extraction and purification of seed lectins. She was also part of a collaborative project between UL and Department of Biotechnology, Lund University (Sweden) where she spent some time doing research on use of supermacroporous monolithic columns in cell separation and protein purification. In 2007, she visited the Department of Protein Chemistry at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel where she did research on isolation of lectin genes from plant material. Busiswa joined the CPGR in 2008 as an Application Specialist in Protein Microarrays; she gained interest in Mass Spectrometry where she was involved in sample preparation, workflow development and peptide mass finger printing. In 2013, she assumed the role of a Quality and Laboratory manager where she is responsible for implementation and maintenance of the quality management system; provision and management of basic and shared resources.

lizzyProteomics Technician

Elizabeth joined the CPGR in July 2014 as the proteomics technician. She completed a BSc in Genetics and Microbiology, and went on to graduate with her honours in Molecular and Cell Biology in 2012. Both her degrees were obtained from the University of Cape Town, where she worked as a laboratory assistant shortly after graduating.

hassanAccountant

( I joined the CPGR in July 2015 as the Accountant backed by more than 10 years’ experience in the field. I gained the majority of my training whilst employed at SAB&T under the tutelage of Hassen Kajie and am in the process of completing my BCOMPT degree in Accounting Unisa. I am passionate about learning whether it be related to my field of study or not. )

jimmyBioinformatics analyst

James joined the CPGR in 2016 as a Bioinformatics Analyst. He completed a BSc in Bioinformatics at the University of the Free State and was also accepted in to the internship program there. James moved on to complete an honours in Bioinformatics at the University of Pretoria. He was elected to the SASBI Student Council, which falls under the ISCB Student Council, here he was tasked with innovation and participated in introducing science and bioinformatics to South African learners. As a Bioinformatics Analyst James curates and analyses results from data intensive techniques with a focus on NGS technologies. He is also involved with the development and implementation of new pipelines and infrastructure to keep up with the ballooning data produced by modern laboratories.

SONY DSC Affymetrix Manager

Jo joined the CPGR in 2006 to establish South Africa’s premier Affymetrix service. With a strong focus on quality of data, and customer service, she has implemented a number of diverse workflows enabling the CPGR to offer many of the wide range of assays available from Affymetrix. Jo completed training on the GeneTitan (Axiom assays) and CytoScan adding these valuable research tools to the suite of services offered by the CPGR. Jo also successfully completed the DMET training at the University of North Carolina under the auspices of PGENI. Prior to joining the CPGR, Jo spent several years at the Central Science Laboratory (now FERA) in the UK as the GM technical manager and also at the MRC gene service (now incorporated into Source BioScience) where she was instrumental in setting up and subsequently managing the Affymetrix service.  Her range of experience and specialised skills add an invaluable dimension to the CPGR and she is often called on as a knowledge resource across all the platforms.

Human Capital Development Manager

Judit received her BSc in Biomedical Science and MSc in Bioinformatics in the UK. She completed her PhD at University of Cranfield, UK, in Bioinformatics in genetic network (GN) extraction using a Bayesian belief framework. During her PhD, Judit established novel processes to learn genome-wide GN for E. coli, yeast and humans, from microarray data. Judit later joined the drug discovery group at GSK (Glaxo Smith Kline, UK) as a drug-target bioinformatician. After completing a post-doctoral research fellowship at University of Cape Town, she became the Bioinformatics Manager at the CPGR and is currently Human Capital Development (HCD) Manager at the CPGR leading her team to provide expertise in various fields in bioinformatics through research. This includes providing service, support and R&D through collaboration, to life scientists in the “omics” field, and addressing a wide range of biological questions from genomics to system biology. Judit is the Associate Node Manager for the EMBNET, where she was elected as the PRP (Public Relations and Publicity) committee member. Judit is actively involved as a member or partner in various other networks and societies such as GOBLET, SASBi, ITFoM, PGENI, ASBCB, ISCB, the Genomic Standards Consortium amongst others. She is committed to HCD in the bioinformatics arena to enhance the knowledge base in Africa. At the CPGR, Judit started managed various training programs and initiatives including KTP (knowledge transfer programme), aimed at developing specific skill sets required for the next generation of in silico biologists and bioinformaticians. Judit is a co-PI of H3ABioNet project (H3A bioinformatics network) under the umbrella of H3A funded by the NIH (http://h3africa.org). She has trained and supervised many postgraduate students in Europe and Africa in the past. Her broad research interests include African genetic rare diseases, personalized medicine, pharmacogenomics, standardization and good practice, information management and visualization, and e-learning.

Project Portfolio Manager

Judith is currently the Portfolio Manager at the Centre for Proteomic and Genomic Research. Her position serves the pivotal dual role of managing the project selection process and facilitating the completion of projects to the highest standards. With respect to the former, Judith has been instrumental in the development of criteria to ensure that projects are selected which enhance the bio-economy sector of South Africa. Projects are evaluated according to their degree of scientific merit, ethics, innovation, IP potential and/or the enhancement of human capital development. Her wealth of experience in the biotechnological industry allows her engagement with clients and the CPGR staff to result in a clear understanding by all parties of the project value and required deliverables.

Prior to coordinating the project portfolio at the CPGR, Judith headed both a genomics and proteomics platform at the organization for more than four years. In this role, she has been extensively involved in projects involving the study of biomarkers in the advancement of personalized medicine and individual health. Judith was a member of the International Biomarker Consortium Inflammation and Immunity steering Committee managed by the FNIH from 2013-2014. The Identification and validation of biomarkers in drug discovery and in disease diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and prevention has played a role in most of the healthcare projects undertaken at the CPGR.

Her career path towards advancing the biotechnological progress in South Africa started with being awarded a PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand (Protein Chemistry). This was followed by a highly driven and focused six year period of postdoctoral research at renowned local and international institutions (including Rhodes University Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Biotechnology; Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at the University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona). Judith has successfully published many scientific articles in international peer reviewed scientific journals and has recently expanded her knowledge into the business arena, having completed a MBA degree (University of Stellenbosch, South Africa).

justinNGS Technician

After the completion of a BSc Honours degree at the Department of Microbiological Sciences, Justin commenced with his MSc degree in Physiological Sciences as part of the ‘Disease Signalling Group’, graduating from the University of Stellenbosch in 2013. His research project focused on elucidating the mechanisms of chemotherapeutic resistance that are frequently encountered in solid breast tumours with the ultimate goal of circumventing the issue & increasing the efficacy of the chemotherapeutic treatment.In that same year, he secured a position as a laboratory assistant in the Division of Human Genetics & Molecular Biology at the Tygerberg Medical Research Facility. In 2014, Justin became registered as a scientific officer within the ‘Biopharming Research Unit’ at the University of Cape Town. Here, he provided support on a research project that aimed to develop andoptimize Human Papillomavirus (HPV) virus-like particles as potential vaccine candidates using plant-expression systems. Justin joined the CPGR in 2015 as a Next-Generation-Sequencing technician.

Kenalemang-NtlhokoaSenior NGS Technician

Kenalemang obtained a BSc in Microbiology from the University of Cape Town in 2005. She began her postgraduate studies at the University of the Free State and obtained an MSc degree in 2011. Her research involved characterizing the interaction between hydrophobic substrates and the cell wall of lipophilic yeast, employing genomic as well as proteomic approaches. She worked briefly for the Biocatalysis group at the University of the Free State as a researcher working on the cloning and expression of P450 enzymes in bacterial and yeast hosts. She joined the CPGR in July 2012 as a Genomics Technician. She currently manages the Bioplex platform activities here at the CPGR.

liamProteomics platform Manager

Liam spent a year in industry in the UK in a biotech R&D laboratory that was part of the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in Teddingham prior to proceeding further with his post-graduate studies. He completed his PhD in medical biochemistry in Prof Jonathan Blackburn’s lab at the Institute for Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine situated on the University of Cape Town’s medical campus. He was able to attend many courses and conferences in the proteomics field whilst studying. After completing his PhD, Liam held a post-doctoral research position at the HHMI funded KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for TB and HIV (K-RITH) In Assoc. Prof. Al Leslie’s group where he used both shotgun and targeted techniques in a variety of applications as well as attending further courses in Munich and Washington DC. Liam has gained a wealth of experience at the CPGR through his 18 months spent as a Proteomics Application Specialist and working closely with Zac McDonald (previous unit manager), during which time he was involved with a wide range of projects and has been involved in advising and managing different aspects of many proteomics workflows from study design to data analysis.

Linda-de-WaalMarketing and Sales Leader

Linda graduated from University of Stellenbosch with a Masters in Molecular Biochemistry and worked for the MRC/University of Stellenbosch as a senior scientific officer before joining Laboratory Specialist Services as a product specialist. This point marks the start of her marketing & sales career, the post evolved to a Technical Director position. Specializing in Invitrogen marketing she moved to The Scientific Group as National Product (Invitrogen) Manager and regional sales Manager. Subsequently she joined Celtic Molecular Diagnostics in the capacity as Invitrogen distributer for Southern Africa.  In 2011, after the amalgamation of AB and Invitrogen, Life Technologies (as a whole) entered the African market directly – for the following 18 months Linda was involved with the successful amalgamation of the Invitrogen range into the Life Technology portfolio. Linda joined the CPGR in 2013 as the Marketing and Sales leader with the mission of converting the CPGR’s strategic development targets into actionable tasks aimed at maintaining existing and creating new customers in Africa.

SONY DSC

Genomics Manager

Lindsay obtained her undergraduate degree undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and Microbiology from the University of Cape Town in 1999. She completed her First Class Honours degree in Biochemistry in 2000 and was awarded a Masters degree in Molecular Biology, with distinction in 2002. At the beginning of her PhD studies, she spent a year of her PhD at Oxford University on a Mamphela Ramphele/Chevening Scholarship. Her research interests involved investigating signal transduction pathways activated in response to pathogen attack that leads to disease resistance in Arabidopsis. Lindsay was awarded her PhD in Molecular Biology from UCT in 2007. She continued with her post-doctoral studies further identifying and functionally characterising components involved in plant disease resistance pathways by employing a range of molecular techniques in the fields of genetics and protein chemistry. She joined the CPGR team in 2010 and has gained experience in managing cutting edge research projects in fields ranging from crop development to drug discovery. As the Genomics Manager she co-ordinates activities across the various genomics platforms including the latest edition of next generation sequencing. The dynamic environment within the CPGR affords Lindsay the opportunity to continually develop and enhance her genomic expertise and make a positive contribution to the biotechnology sector in South Africa.

Mamana-MbiyavangaH3ABioNet  Bioinformatics Software Developer

After completing his bachelor’s degree in computer science and mathematics in 2009, Mamana worked for several years as a software developer and IT administrator before completing a postgraduate diploma in mathematics in 2012, at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), in South Africa. During this period Mamana found his passion in bioinformatics, which he continued to develop in his Master’s degree at the University of Cape Town. He is interested in exploring future technologies and interdisciplinary computational problems to enhance his knowledge and skills in bioinformatics, genetic epidemiology, machine learning, big data and web-services. In 2014, he joined the CPGR H3ABioNet group, part of H3A initiative, as the Bioinformatics Software Developer.

leboGenomics Senior Technician

Moleboheng obtained her National Diploma in Biotechnology in 2006 at the Vaal University of Technology. Before going on to the do her B.Tech degree, she completed her In-Service training at the University of Limpopo, (Turfloop Campus), working as a Laboratory Assistant. Her responsibilities included preparing the laboratories for Microbiology and Biochemistry experiments as well as practical exams, exam invigilation, sub-culturing, media and solutions preparation, stock taking and equipment maintenance. She graduated with her B.Tech degree in 2007, after completing her thesis on Cost Effective Methods of Eliminating and/or Reducing Algae in World’ Seal Ponds. This was done in collaboration with the Marine World in Vereeniging. Moleboheng was the CPGR’s first NRF intern, joining the program in 2008. Part of her internship included familiarising herself with basic molecular biology techniques such as nucleic acids extractions, PCR optimization, taqman assay genotyping, tissue culture and gel electrophoresis. She joined the CPGR on a permanent basis after completing her internship in 2009. As a Genomics Senior Technician, Moleboheng is involved in workflow development, preparing quality SOPs, liaising and assisting CPGR’ clients with Quality Control of their nucleic acid samples and writing up analytical reports. Moleboheng is also highly involved in Affymetrix after been trained in Affymetrix Assays such as Cytogenetics, and DMET.

nickiNGS Platform Manager

Nicki Adams was awarded a Canon Collins Trust Scholarship to undertake one year of her PhD studies in the United Kingdom at the University of York in 2005. She remained in the UK under the supervision of Dr Katherine Denby at the University of Warwick to complete her PhD research and was awarded her PhD from the University of Cape Town in June 2010. She returned to the University of Warwick to broaden her research scope and experience at an international institution from 2009 to 2012. In 2012, she returned to South Africa to undertake a postdoctoral research fellowship position at the University of Cape Town in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology on a Claude Leon Fellowship and later was  awarded an NRF innovation fund postdoctoral fellowship. Her postdoctoral research was focused on a NGS transcriptomic project looking at a novel South African geophyte population which hyper accumulates Nickel. She joined the CPGR as a qRT-PCR Platform Manager in May 2014.

Agri-Genomics Project Manager

Shane joined the CPGR in 2007 and currently works part-time as the Agri-Genomics Project Manager. She also lectures in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, UCT. Shane works on two TIA-funded projects ‘Genomics of Quantitative Disease Resistance in African Maize Varieties’ and “MicroRNA Discovery in South African Grapevine”. Both projects involve consortia from South African Universities and breeding companies and are aimed at using biotech tools to improve agricultural crops important in South Africa. Shane’s research work is focused on the functional genomics of disease resistance in plants and the techniques that she uses include next-gen sequencing, microarray analysis, qPCR and marker-assisted mapping of genes.  She has a PhD from the University of Edinburgh in Arabidopsis disease resistance (obtained in 2001), followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at UCT (2001-2006). Prior to her PhD, Shane worked for the Agricultural Research Council at the Vegetable and Ornamental Plant Institute in Pretoria from 1993 to 1997 where she was instrumental in setting up transformation protocols for potato and tomato.  Her initial education was from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg where she obtained her BSc Hons and MSc cum laude.