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CoE Fellows

Fellows of the Centre of Excellence in Human Development are distinguished scientists and scholars who have historically contributed to the conceptualisation of the Centre and currently collaborate on strategic research and advocacy work associated with the research agenda of the Centre.

Jill Adler

FRF Chair of Mathematics Education at the University of the Witwatersrand and the Chair of Mathematics Education at Kings College, London

Professor Adler has three inter-related research interests: professional development of mathematics teachers; the mathematical work of teaching; and teaching mathematics in multilingual classrooms. Her interests in teaching and research in mathematics education have been supplemented by organisational work at national and international levels. In the early 1990s, she held an executive position in the Southern African Mathematics and Science Research Association. Between 1994 and 1998 she was on the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (IGPME). She served as Vice President of the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI) from 2002 - 2009. She also serves on the editorial boards of a number of international journals in mathematics education.

Rachel Jewkes

Director of the Gender & Health Research Unit, Medical Research Council

Professor Jewkes is an NRF A-rated scientist, having trained as a medical doctor and is a specialising in Public Health Medicine. She has a Masters in Community Medicine and Doctorate of Medicine (MD) from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London. She has spent most of the last 20 years researching intersections of gender-based violence, particularly intimate partner violence and sexual violence (including child sexual abuse), and gender inequity and health in South Africa using methods drawn from epidemiology, anthropology and health systems research.


Jody Heymann

Dean of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California at Los Angeles

Professor Heymann is the Dean of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. She also serves as Founding Director of the WORLD Policy Analysis Center. She previously held a Canada Research Chair in Global Health and Social Policy at McGill University where she was the founding director of the Institute for Health and Social Policy.  While on the faculty at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, she founded the Project on Global Working Families. She has authored and edited more than 300 publications, including 17 books.


Kathleen Kahn

Professor in the School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, and Senior Researcher in the MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit (Agincourt)

Professor Kahn leads the Unit's work on Child and Adolescent Health and Development, as well as on mortality, particularly determination of cause-of-death based on a validated verbal autopsy instrument. She developed and leads an interdisciplinary PhD training programme in Public and Population Health. Prof Kahn is a Research Associate in the Population Centre, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA, and Guest Researcher in Epidemiology and Global Health, Umeå University, Sweden. She has been a Board member of the Soul City Institute for Health & Development Communication since 1998, and Deputy-Chair since 2005.

Chunling Lu

Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School, USA

Professor Lu is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and an Assistant Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, USA. She studied International Relations (BA) and Political Science (MA) in China, and sociology (MA) and Applied Statistics (MSc) at Syracuse University, USA, where she also received her doctoral degree in economics. She joined the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard University in 2007.   As a health economist, Prof Lu is currently engaged in five research areas: (1) tracking, measuring, and analysing national and global funding sources for health; (2) developing methodologies, measurements, and cost information-collecting technologies that facilitate comparative analysis for evaluation research; (3) evaluating the impact of global health aid on health system strengthening and population health outcomes in resource-poor settings; (4) evaluating the progress of universal health coverage; and (5) measuring the economic burden of diseases in developing countries.

Lenore Manderson

Professor of Public Health and Medical Anthropology, University of the Witwatersrand

Professor Manderson is a medical anthropologist and was a professor from 1988, at the universities of Queensland, Melbourne and Monash in Australia, and an inaugural Federation Fellow. She joined Wits in 2014 as Professor of Public Health and Medical Anthropology. An NRF A-rated scholar, she is internationally known for her research on inequality, social exclusion and marginal, and the social determinants of infectious and chronic disease. At Wits, she is working on chronic disease and its management, and on medical interventions, technology, access and equity.


Barak Morgan

Research Fellow, University of Cape Town

Dr Morgan is a biologist and medical doctor with clinical experience mostly in psychiatry, and a PhD in engineering. He is a Research Fellow in the Global Risk Governance Programme at the University of Cape Town. For the last 10 years he has pursued research in the field of human social-cognitive-affective neuroscience.  His varied background allows him to apply a wide range of interests, ideas and techniques to complex brain, mind and behaviour questions. Most of his research is in the field of early childhood development, focused on the enduring impact of early social experience on brain structure and function in later life, a field often referred to as ‘biological embedding of early social adversity’.

Mark Orkin

Associate Fellow, Oxford University

Prof Orkin is an Associate Fellow in the Department of Public Policy and Social Intervention at Oxford University. His previous posts, all in South Africa, were Director-General of PALAMA (the public service college), CEO of the Human Sciences Research Council, Head of Statistics South Africa, Professor in the Management Faculty at the University of the Witwatersrand, and Director of the social research NGO Community Agency for Social Enquiry (CASE). His research and consulting are in the statistical analysis of social surveys,  public management indicators, and the measurement  of democratic governance. His degrees are from the University of the Witwatersrand (BSc Hons, PhD), Oxford (BA) and Sussex (MA). 

John Pettifor

Emeritus Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences at Wits, and part-time Director of the Carnegie PhD Fellowship Programme

Emeritus Professor Pettifor specialised in paediatric medicine. He completed his PhD in medicine in 1981, having spent a year as a Clinical Research Fellow in paediatric bone diseases at the Shriners Hospital and McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Prof Pettifor spent 20 years as Head of the Department of Paediatrics at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, 25 years as Director of the Mineral Metabolism Research Unit at the SA Medical Research Council (MRC) and 15 years as Director of the Birth to Twenty Research Programme at the University of the Witwatersrand, where he was also a professor and chief paediatrician, until his formal retirement in 2010. He is now Honorary Professorial Researcher and Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Wits. 

Linda Richter

Distinguished Professor, University of the Witwatersrand 

Prof Richter is a Distinguished Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand. She led the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Human Development in its first four years from 2014-2018. She is a Distinguished Research Fellow at the Human Sciences Research Council in South Africa, a Research Associate in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford (UK), a Faculty Affiliate of the World Policy Centre at the University of California in Los Angeles, and an advisor to the World Health Organization in Geneva on early child development. From 2003-2006, she was a Visiting Researcher at the University of Melbourne, from 2007-2010 a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University (USA), and from 2010-2012 she served in Geneva as Advisor on Vulnerable Children at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. She obtained her PhD in Psychology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Steve Tollman

Director of MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit (Agincourt), University of the Witwatersrand

Professor Tollman holds a Master's degree in Medicine from the University of the Witwatersrand, an MA from Oxford University, UK, and a Master's degree in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health, USA. Previous honorary positions have been as Research Associate at the University of Colorado, USA, and also as Guest Professor at the Centre for Global Health, and Professor at Umeå University, Sweden. From 2004 to 2010 he was a panel member of the Continuing Epidemiological Transition in sub-Saharan Africa, the Committee on Population of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, the Public Health and Tropical Medicine Interview Committee (PHATIC), the Wellcome Trust, and MRC Global Health Group (UK).

The passing of Professor Claire Penn

The DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Human Development (CoE-HUMAN) mourns the passing of Professor Emeritus Claire Penn on 21 July 2018.

Professor Penn was an A-rated professor in Speech Pathology and Audiology and served as the Director of the Health Communication Research Unit in the School of Human and Community Development.

She was one of the lead investigators who supported the establishment of the CoE-HUMAN in 2014 and remained one of our research fellows. She was an excellent researcher and an inspiring teacher and mentor.

We will miss her warmth, encouragement and committed scholarship.

The Centre extends its condolences to her family, friends, colleagues and students.