Start main page content

Cardiovascular Pathophysiology and Genomics Research Unit

The Cardiovascular Pathophysiology and Genomic Research Unit (CPGRU) is a University recognised unit in the School of Physiology with extensive collaborations across clinical departments and a satellite unit at Life Flora Hospital (Cardiovascular Pathophysiology Research Unit, CPRU). Each year the unit contributes to, on average, 25-30 papers and graduates several MSc and PhD students. Several of the unit’s members carry substantial international recognition for their work. In addition, honorary members of the unit include several internationally recognised research clinicians. The unit’s members are interested in identifying mechanisms of cardiovascular disease to assist in identifying novel approaches to prevent and manage cardiovascular events. The unit has special interests in the impact on the cardiovascular system of aortic dysfunction, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, obesity, chronic inflammation (rheumatoid arthritis) and HIV. In addition, the unit contributes to understanding vascular disease, chronic kidney disease, heart failure and sex and ethnic differences in cardiovascular disease. The unit is unique in the world today in that it incorporates both basic science and clinical approaches to answering fundamental questions on the physiological mechanisms of cardiovascular disease.



Professor Angela Woodiwiss (NRF B2 rated). Is an internationally recognised researcher who directs the CPGRU. She presently has special interests in the role of aortic dysfunction as a cause of premature cardiovascular events, the best approaches to risk prediction, and the impact of obesity and HIV on the cardiovascular system. She is the South African PI for May Measurement Month, an international blood pressure screening and awareness program.


Doctor Vernice Peterson is the co-director of the Cardiovascular Pathophysiology Research Unit (CPRU), a satellite unit near Life Flora Hospital. Her primary interests are cardiac function and haemodynamic mechanisms related to hypertension, coronary artery disease and heart failure. In addition, she also has a particular interest in sex differences and epidemiology in cardiovascular disease in South African populations.


Doctor Glenda Norman is the Chief Technician in the School of Physiology.  Dr Norman’s interests lie in insulin resistance, obesity and inflammation effects on the cardiovascular system and outcomes. Her research is published in BMC Cardiovascular Disorders, International Journal of Cardiology Hypertension and Journal of Hypertension.


Doctor Oluwatosin Grace Tade is a lecturer in the School of Physiology. Dr Tade's research has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals, including Hypertension, International Journal of Nephrology and Renovascular Disease, and the American Journal of Hypertension. Her research interests are in the areas of hypertension, chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular risk.


Doctor Andrea Kolkenbeck-Ruh is a lecturer in the School of Physiology and a dedicated and active researcher within the CPGRU. Her primary focus lies in understanding the mechanistic aspect of early vascular aging and its correlation with the emergence of established cardiovascular risk factors like hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus and dyslipidaemia. Moreover, she explores the connection between early vascular aging and the occurrence of life-threatening and debilitating cardiovascular events with a special emphasis and focus on the diverse South African ethnic populations.    


Ms Nonhlanhla Mthembu is a senior technician in the School of Physiology and a cardiovascular researcher within the CPGRU. Her research interests are central blood pressure and the effects of heart rate on the frequency of harmonics.


Honorary Staff

Professor Patrick Dessein (MD, FRCP, PhD) (NRF B3 rated)

Professor Pinhas Sareli (MD, FACC)

Professor Carlos Libhaber (MD, FCNP, PhD)

Professor Miguel Gonzalez-Gay (MD)

Associate Professor Ferande Peters (MBBCh, FRCP, FCC)

Dr. Peter Hsu (MBBCh, FRCP, FCN)

Dr. Anthony Becker (MBBCh, FCP, FCC, PhD)

Dr. Nirvathi Pather (MBBCh, FCP, FCC)


For any queries regarding research projects and opportunities please contact:

Angela Woodiwiss (

Vernice Peterson (

Glenda Norman (

Grace Tade (

Andrea Kolkenbeck-Ruh (

Nonhlanhla Mthembu (