Group members 2015
Dr Dee Blackhurst Principal investigator
Joanne Pillay Lecturer/ Medical Scientist
Richmond Ateko PhD student
Biana Southon PhD student
Sarah Lampert  MSc student


Core interests ยป

  • Oxidative stress: in particular lipid peroxidation, antioxidants
  • Lipidology, in particular HDL (high density lipoproteins)
  • GC (gas chromatography) analysis of fatty acids
  • HPLC-UV analysis of vitamins, Iohexol (to calculate glomerular filtration rate (GFR)
  • LC-MS (Liquid Chromatography-Mass spectrometry) analysis of metabolites involved in diagnosis and study of inherited metabolic diseases
  • Clinical Toxicology including hair analysis of alcohol metabolites and drugs of abuse in hair, blood and urine with GC-MS and LC-MS


PhD student project for Richmond Owusu Ateko: 

Prevalence of Dysbetalipoproteinaemia in Ghana

Project Supervisor: Dr Dee Blackhurst
Co-supervisor: Professor David Marais 
Co-supervisor: Professor Dirk Blom
Clinical collaborator: Dr Josephine Akpalu (Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, University of Ghana) 
Richmond Ateko joined UCT Chemical Pathology as a PhD student from Ghana in 2019, the same year he was awarded an ARISE (Africa Regional International Student Exchange) scholarship. He was subsequently awarded an International Refugee scholarship from UCT as well as funding from the University of Ghana College of Health Sciences Postgraduate Endowment Fund. 

His project aims to determine the prevalence in Ghana of dysbetalipoproteinaemia, a genetic lipid disorder associated with raised concentrations of both total cholesterol and triglycerides. Although the disorder is strongly associated with early atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, many clinicians are unaware of it. The study will also describe the lipid profiles of the population, as well as provide information on lipid control in high-risk patients such as patients attending diabetic clinics. It will also provide information on the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and other lipoprotein disorders, which will help inform clinicians about dyslipidaemia and atherosclerosis risk. 

After familiarising himself with the relevant theory and laboratory techniques, Richmond will spend several months in Ghana, collecting samples from patients in cardiac and diabetic clinics as well as from population control subjects. He will carry out some of his laboratory work in Ghana before returning to UCT to complete all the analyses. It is expected that he will graduate in 2022.

Recently, current PhD student, Richmond Ateko, appeared in the article below, published by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB).  Finding ways to help