Speakers Biographies


The Penman Visiting Professorship to the University of Cape Town was made possible by the generosity of the Frank Penman Memorial Foundation. This foundation was established by the late Mrs. Robina Douglas Penman in memory of her husband, Frank Garfield Penman who was treated by Professor JH Louw at Groote Schuur Hospital in 1963.

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Professor Ajith Siriwardena

Prof Siriwardena studied medicine at the University of Manchester and then trained in General and Hepatobiliary Surgery in Manchester, Edinburgh, Richmond USA and with Professor Henri Bismuth in Paris.

He then moved to his current position as Consultant Surgeon at the Manchester Royal Infirmary in 1999 and was appointed Professor of Hepatobiliary Surgery at the University of Manchester in 2008. In 2007 he received the prestigious “Silver Scalpel” award as the best surgical trainer in the UK. His clinical practice is in Hepato-pancreato-biliary oncological surgery with a clinical focus on liver and pancreas cancer surgery. Prof Siriwardena has research interests in pancreatic inflammatory disease and in metastatic colorectal cancer.

His unit in Manchester is now one of the UK’s busiest regional HPB units undertaking 300 liver and pancreas cancer resections in 2018. He was the congress President for E-AHPBA 2015 and is the President-elect of E-AHPBA.


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Francois Malherbe

Dr Francois Malherbe attended medical school at the University of Free State and graduated in 1998.

After internship and community service he spent time in the UK and George Provincial Hospital before starting his surgical residency at the University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital in 2008. He graduated in 2011 with a FCS(SA) and MMed(UCT). Since 2014 after working as a general surgeon at New Somerset Hospital he has been back full time at the Groote Schuur Hospital breast and surgical endocrine unit. His clinical interests are oncoplastic breast surgery, breast cancer, surgical oncology and endocrine neoplasms (thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal)

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Sean Burmeister

Dr Burmeister was born and raised in Cape Town, subsequently attending the University of Cape Town where he graduated with the MBChB degree in 1997. After completing his internship at Groote Schuur Hospital he spent time gaining surgical experience as a medical officer in the semi-rural areas of both the Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Returning to the University of Cape Town, he completed his surgical training, becoming a fellow of the College of Surgeons in 2006. Dr Burmeister completed his sub-specialty training in Hepato-pancreatico-biliary (HPB) and upper Gastro-intestinal (GI) surgery in 2010, the same year he took up a full time senior consultant post in the surgical HPB unit at Groote Schuur Hospital where he currently still works, as well as at the University of Cape Town Private Academic Hospital’s Digestive Diseases Unit. Dr Burmeister’s particular interests include the management of acute and chronic pancreatitis; pancreatic, hepatic and biliary malignancies; benign biliary disease; pancreatic cystic lesions; neuro-endocrine tumours and the role that endoscopy, specifically ERCP and endoscopic ultrasound as well as other minimally invasive modalities can play in the management of these conditions. Dr Burmeister plays an active role in various multi-disciplinary tumour boards and has assisted in the establishment of endoscopic ultrasound at Groote Schuur and UCT Private Hospitals. He is a senior lecturer and the convener of undergraduate education in the division of General Surgery as well as the year convener for the fifth year of the MBChB programme at the University of Cape Town. He is actively involved in post-graduate training at specialist and subspecialist level and has examined at both levels for the college of Medicine of South Africa. He is a member of the South African Gastroenterology Society and current President elect of the Hepato-Pancreatico-Biliary Association of South Africa. He is a regular member of local and international faculty in various continuing medical educational activities and congresses relating to HPB diseases.

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Pradeep H. Navsaria

Qualifications: MBChB(UCT), FCS(Surg)(SA), MMed(Surg)(UCT), Trauma Surgery (HPCSA), FACS

Clinical Position: Deputy-director: Trauma Center, Groote Schuur Hospital Academic Position: Professor of Surgery: Department of Surgery, Health Sciences, University of Cape Town Research interests: Special interests include civilian penetrating trauma, negative pressure wound therapy, temporary abdominal wall closure, non-operative management of penetrating abdominal, vascular and neck trauma, and under- and post-graduate surgical education. NRF-rated.

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Marc Bernon

Dr Marc Bernon is a hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgeon in the UCT Hepato-pancreatico-biliary (HPB) surgical unit.

Dr Bernon completed his undergraduate training at the University of the Witwatersrand. He completed his specialist general surgical training at the University of Cape Town in 2008 and completed his sub-specialist training in HPB surgery in 2011. During this time he became involved in the UCT liver transplant program. He has a specific interest in colorectal liver metastases, hepatocellular carcinoma, portal hypertension, pancreatic cancer and malignant biliary obstruction.

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Eduard Jonas

MB, ChB (Pret), MMed (Stell), FCS (SA), PhD (Karolinska Institutet) Eduard Jonas underwent his pre-graduate training at the University of Pretoria, South Africa obtaining a MBChB in 1985. He did his surgical training at the University of Stellenbosch becoming a Fellow of the South African College of Surgeons in 1995 and obtaining a MMed degree in general surgery.

He served as consultant surgeon in the Upper Gastrointestinal Service of the Department of General Surgery at Tygerberg hospital, Cape Town before taking up an endoscopy fellowship position at Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden in 1997. He obtained a PhD from the Karolinska Institute in 2002 with a thesis on Imaging-based Dynamic Liver Testing. He was affiliated to the Karolinska Institute as associate professor and held several clinical positions in Karolinska Institute affiliated hospitals, including Head of Endoscopy at Danderyd Hospital and senior consultant in the Hepato-pancreato-biliary service of Karolinska University Hospital. Since 2015 he is Head of Surgical Gastroenterology at the University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa.

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Heather Bougard

Dr. Heather Bougard is the Head of Clinical Unit for Surgery at New Somerset Hospital, an urban general specialist hospital in the Cape Metropole.

Heather is passionate about Minimal Access Surgery with particular emphasis on cost containment and applicability in the public sector. She has a special interest in Hernia Surgery and is the chair of the South African Hernia Interest Group. Heather also serves as Vice Chair of the Somerset Hospital Facilities Board and on the Executive Committee of the South African Society of Endoscopic Surgeons.

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Christo Kloppers

Christo Kloppers is currently heading the Acute Care Surgery Unit at Groote Schuur Hospital and do work as a consultant in the HPB Unit.

His undergraduate training was at the University of Stellenbosch. After a short stint in the UK he received both his General Surgery and HPB subspecialty training at UCT. He is a hernia enthusiast and his interests include all aspects of hernia surgery including laparoscopic repairs and open surgery. As part of HIG he is busy developing a national hernia databases.

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Adam Boutall

Adam Boutall is a colorectal surgeon at Groote Schuur Hospital and UCT Private Academic. He is the clinical lead for the Groote Schuur Intestinal Failure Unit and has an interest in complications of surgery and colonoscopy.

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Bob Baigrie

BSc, MBChB, MD, FRCS (Eng) Qualifications obtained from UCT and Oxford University. Consultant Colorectal surgeon at GSH and UCT. Private practice: General and GI surgery with Dr Matley and Partners at Kingsbury and Vincent Pallotti Hospitals. Past President of ASSA, SASES and Chair of FoSAS. Management Council of the BJS and Editorial Board of Colorectal Disease. Distinguished Surgeon Award 2018.

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Shreya Rayamajhi

Dr Shreya Rayamajhi is a consultant in the Acute Care Surgery Firm at Groote Schuur Hospital. She completed her post graduate training at the University of Cape Town and has spent an additional year as a fellow in Colorectal surgery at Groote Schuur hospital.

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Claire Warden

Dr Warden is a Colorectal surgeon at the University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital

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Gayla Chinnery

Presently running Upper GI Unit at Groote Schuur Hospital, University of Cape Town, Cape To with a special interest in laparoscopic surgery and interventional endoscopy.

  • Undergraduate medical training at University of Pretoria
  • Surgical specialisation at University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban
  • Sub-specialisation in Surgical Gastroenterology, University of Cape Town
  • Fellowship in Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery, AMC, Amsterdam, Netherlands
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Mike Madden

  • Surgical training at University of Cape Town
  • Colorectal training at St Mark’s Hospital, London
  • Private coloproctology practice
  • Part-time specialist, Colorectal unit, Groote Schuur hospital & part-time senior lecturer in surgery, UCT
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Herbert Chen

Dr. Herbert Chen obtained his BS from Stanford University with Honors and with Distinction in 1988 and graduated from Duke University School of Medicine Alpha Omega Alpha in 1992.

Dr. Chen then completed a general surgery residency followed by a surgical oncology and endocrinology fellowship at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Dr. Chen is Chairman of the Department of Surgery at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), and the Surgeon-in-Chief of UAB Hospital and Health System. He is a Professor of Surgery and Biomedical Engineering, and holds the Fay Fletcher Kerner Endowed Chair. His clinical interests include endocrine surgery and he is a pioneer in radioguided parathyroid surgery. Dr. Chen’s lab has been continuously funded for 17 years and studies the role of Notch signaling in thyroid and neuroendocrine cancers. He served as the American Cancer Society MEN2 Thyroid Cancer Professor. Dr. Chen is an Associate/Section Editor for Annals of Surgery, Scientific American Surgery, and The Oncologist, and serves on 6 other editorial boards. He is also the Past-President of Association for Academic Surgery, President of the Society of Clinical Surgery, President of the Society of Asian Academic Surgeons Foundation, and the President-Elect of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons. Dr. Chen has mentored over 100 faculty, post-doctoral fellows, residents, medical students, and undergraduates in his lab. He has published over 480 original research and review articles and has edited 15 textbooks. He been recognized for his passion for teaching and mentoring the next generation of surgical leaders.

Dr. Chen and his wife Harriet reside in Mountain Brook, AL. His son Alex is currently pursuing a Masters in Philosophy in King’s College, London while his daughter Liz is a journalism major at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

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Anna Claudia Coccia

Dr Anna Claudia Coccia attained her medical degree at the University of Pretoria after which she moved to Cape Town for her internship.

Her interest in surgery was sparked and in 2010 Dr Coccia moved to Rob Ferreira Hospital in Nelspruit where she gained further surgical knowledge. Her interest led her to seek broader experience and she moved to London where she worked in the Acute Care Surgery Unit at Kings College Hospital. Dr Coccia’s formal surgical training commenced in 2013 at Groote Schuur Hospital and on completion was awarded the Swann-Morton Prize for best registrar. Throughout her training period and alongside her MMed she developed an interest in colorectal surgery. Currently Dr Coccia holds the post of specialist general surgeon at New Somerset Hospital in Cape Town where she aims to grow a safe colorectal and general surgery practice.

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Anthony Sander

Dr Anthony Sander is a specialist general surgeon currently completing his vascular fellowship at the University of Cape Town.

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Valentine Nfonsam

Valentine N. Nfonsam, MD, MS, FACS, FASCRS is an Associate Professor of Surgery and the Division Chief of Surgical Oncology at the University of Arizona. In addition, he is the General Surgery Residency Program Director.

Dr. Nfonsam graduated from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago and completed his surgery residency training at UT southwestern in Dallas and North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, New York. He did a research fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland and completed a two-year fellowship in Colon and Rectal Surgery at the University of South Florida, Tampa.

Dr. Nfonsam is a member of national and international societies including the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS), Western Surgical Association (WSA) and the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and holds leadership positions within the Association of Program Directors in Surgery (APDS). He also holds several leadership positions within the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Tucson and Banner University Medical Center Tucson. He is the immediate past President of the Arizona Chapter of the American College of Surgeons.

Dr. Nfonsam’s clinical specialties include colorectal and gastrointestinal surgery, gastrointestinal oncology and laparoscopic and robotic-assisted surgery. His research focuses on colorectal cancer especially in the young in addition to disparities in colorectal cancer.

He has had several local and national grant funding to support his research work and has received several awards for his research. Dr. Nfonsam has more than 50 peer review publications and been an invited speaker at numerous national and international meetings. He is a true clinician, always putting the patient first and recently won the University of Arizona, College of Medicine – Tucson Clinical Excellence Award, which is a recognition by his peers for the care he gives his patients.

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Lydia Cairncross

Dr Cairncross is a general surgeon with a special interest in soft tissue sarcomas. She works as a senior consultant at Groote Schuur Hospital and the University of Cape Town and is head of the Surgical Oncology Unit (Breast, Endocrine, Sarcoma) in the Division of General Surgery

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Britney Corey

Dr Britney Corey, MD is an assistant professor and Minimally Invasive GI Surgeon in the Department of Surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Birmingham VA Medical Center.

She can be found on Twitter (@britneycoreymd) or by email (blprince@uabmc.edu). Her professional focus is on medical education, as well as anti-reflux and hernia surgery. She completed her MIS fellowship and general surgery residency at UAB.

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Ferhana Gool

Ferhana Gool is a subspecialist hepatobiliary surgeon working at Mitchell's Plain District Hospital in the Cape Flats and a lecturer at the University of Cape Town.

She completed her undergraduate training at the University of the Free State and community service in Kimberly, her home town. She completed her postgraduate surgery degree and subspecialization at the University of Cape Town and has an interest in service delivery.

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Elmi Muller

Elmi Muller is a general surgeon who has worked in the field of in transplantation since 2005.

She has an active interest in promoting organ donation and transplantation and was The Transplantation Society (TTS) councillor for the Middle East and Africa between 2010 and 2014. She currently serves on the TTS Executive, with her term expiring at the end of 2018.

Elmi had been involved in many transplant-related outreach and educational programmes in South Africa and Africa. Through the ISN Educational Ambassador’s programme she trained surgeons in Zambia and Nigeria. She has also organized workshops for African clinicians who wanted to start transplantation programmes in their own countries. Since the end of 2014 she had been a chair of the Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group (DICG) with Dominique Martin, working on the prevention of organ trafficking and commercialism around the world. She will be the co-chair of the 10th year anniversary meeting of this document, planned for 2018 in Madrid.

Elmi is currently the head of the Division of General Surgery at the University of Cape Town.

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David Thomson

David Thomson is a critical care subspecialist and transplant surgeon working at Groote Schuur Hospital and the University of Cape Town.

He completed his undergraduate training at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal and postgraduate training at the University of Cape Town. His areas of interest include organ donation, medical education and extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation.

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Jessica Lindemann

Jessica Lindemann is a clinical research fellow in the Surgical Gastroenterology Unit at Groote Schuur Hospital and a general surgery resident at Washington University in Saint Louis.

She is also PhD candidate at the University of Cape Town and the topic of her thesis is the prevention and management of laparoscopic cholecystectomy associated bile duct injuries.

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Liana Roodt

Dr Liana Roodt, a specialist general surgeon with a passion for breast care and surgery.

Dr Roodt has been in Private Practice in Somerset West since October 2017 and has subsequently grown a unique and thriving surgical practice focused on the surgical management of breast and endocrine (in particular thyroid and parathyroid) diseases.

Dr Roodt obtained her MBChB from the University of Pretoria in 2006. She completed her internship at Groote Schuur Hospital and community service in Barberton, Mpumalanga. After returning to Cape Town in 2010, she worked at GF Jooste Hospital as a surgical medical officer, while also completing a post-graduate certificate in Integrative Medicine at the University of Stellenbosch. It was during this time that she created Project Flamingo (www.projectflamingo.co.za), a successful non-profit company, to address the long and distressing treatment waiting time faced by breast cancer patients in the public health care sector.

Dr Roodt joined the Groote Schuur Department of Surgery in 2012 where she obtained her FCS (SA) and MMed (Surgery) Cum Laude from the University of Cape Town. After qualifying as a specialist, she worked as a consultant surgeon and Fellow in the Surgical Breast and Endocrine and Trauma Surgery Units at Groote Schuur Hospital. She used this opportunity to refine her special interest in breast surgery and gained valuable experience in managing surgical endocrine pathology, particularly thyroid and parathyroid disease. During this time, she lectured pre-and postgraduate surgical students from the University of Cape Town.

Dr Roodt now aims to bring her passion and the expertise that she has gained in the public and academic health care sector to private medicine in South Africa where she believes she can make a tangible contribution. After opening her private breast and endocrine surgery practice in October 2017, she was offered the opportunity to remain as sessional consultant at the Groote Schuur Hospital Breast and Endocrine Unit — an honor she gladly accepted as she believes that an affiliation with an institute of academic medicine is of the utmost importance to deliver up to date and evidence-based care in the private sector. In this manner she also contributes to bridging the gap between private and public health care in South Africa.