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WISH Research

As a recognised Research Group of the University of the Witwatersrand, the vision of WISH Research is

“To create an active and winning nation through excellence in physical activity, exercise and sports-related research with impact”.

The WISH Research pillar is concerned with research into physical activity, exercise and sports, which would in turn have a significant impact both locally and globally. The research agenda of WISH-R is in direct alignment with the University of the Witwatersrand’s vision “to be a globally-leading research-intensive university and a gateway to research, engagement and intellectual achievement in Africa”. WISH-R underpins two strategic objectives, which arise from the Wits Vision 2022, namely: to produce research with impact, and to foster a swift, secure and stimulating postgraduate experience. In addition to being globally competitive, the WISH-R vision depicts its locally responsive nature in that it also closely relates to the vision of Sport and Recreation South Africa namely “An active and winning nation”.

Research Priority Areas

WISH Research tackles clinically-relevant research questions with the potential to create a locally responsive impact and globally competitive opportunities. Our research includes communities from different spheres and addresses the research needs throughout the lifespan while being true to our local South African and African context.  In the same line, we value ground-breaking research meeting and exceeding international standards. Through effective knowledge translation, we are creating an impact where it is most needed. WISH Research is aware of the performance-enhancement needs of the athlete and our sports-related research underpins this value. The WISH Research Priority Areas encompass the entire spectrum of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) where we explore impairments, functional limitations and participation restrictions within considering the influence of environmental and other contextual factors.        


The following research priority areas have been determined:

  • Non-communicable disease prevention and rehabilitation: A lifestyle creating wellness
  • Injury surveillance, prevention, management & rehabilitation (includes a major focus on concussion)
  • Paediatric physical activity, exercise and sport
  • Geriatric medicine and exercise
  • Women’s health and exercise
  • Human movement analysis and intervention
  • Genetics in sports
  • Sports code specific research


A comprehensive consultation process was followed to determine our research priority areas. Our research priority areas are also aligned with the goals of the South African Department of Health and the Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR), as well as local and international priority areas including the Sustainable Development Goals, South Africa’s Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) and the Department of Science and Technology’s (DST) Grand Challenges.


WISH Clinical Research Initiatives

The WISH Research pillar is exploring the structures available to support research in the clinical area. If you are interested in initiating a research project in your clinical setting, please complete this brief survey. 



WISH Research believes that “together we will achieve more”.

Feel free to contact the WISH Research Director at in the quest to explore the potential for collaboration

WISH Researchers
NameDesignation and AffiliationResearch Speciality Area

Prof Benita Olivier

Professor, Physiotherapy Department, School of Therapeutic Sciences, Faculty of Health Sceinces, University of the Witwatersrand Human movement analysis and sports injury prevention

Assoc Prof Jon Patricios

Visiting associate professor, School of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand Concussion, Tendinopathy, Rugby and Youth Sports

Dr Brad Gelbart

Orthopaedic surgeon, Linksfield Park Medical Centre, Linksfield, Johannesburg and School of Clinical Medicine Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Witwatersrand Anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus injuries

Mr Siyabonga Kunene

Lecturer, Physiotherapy Department, School of Therapeutic Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Witwatersrand Sports injury prevention

Prof Hellen Myezwa

Head of School Therapeutic Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Witwatersrand Research methodology service delivery and HIV rehabilitation

Dr Corlia Brandt

Senior Lecturer, Physiotherapy Department, School of Therapeutic Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Witwatersrand Sport neuromusculoskeletal, pelvic and women's health.