Dr Ursula Rohlwink joins CIDRI-Africa

21 Feb 2022
21 Feb 2022

CIDRI-Africa welcomed Ursula to the ranks of Contributing Investigators in the first quarter of 2022. Ursula is a Senior Lecturer in the Division of Neurosurgery in the Department of Surgery at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and is currently completing a Crick African Network Fellowship. Her Crick African Network Fellowship enabled her to conduct research and analyses at both UCT and the Francis Crick Institute in the United Kingdom.

Ursula is a neuroscientist with a particular interest in tuberculous meningitis, specifically brain biomarkers of disease severity and prognosis, and mechanisms of brain injury. In addition to her research Ursula has also previously convened the Clinical Neuroscience Module of the BMedSc (Hons) course, the Continental Association of African Neurological Societies Young African Neurosurgeons Forum Research Methods course, and taught biostatistics and neuroscientific techniques. She has been supervising student research projects since 2010 and from 2022 will be the primary supervisor of PhD candidate Gabriela Singh.

Ursula was awarded a Wellcome Trust International Intermediate Fellowship on the topic “brain injury in paediatric tuberculous meningitis: mechanisms of injury and biomarkers of outcome”. She aims to assess sensitive blood tests that might enable early detection of brain injury; she will also investigate the causes of brain injury. She has previously held grants from the Neuroscience Institute and the Clinical Infectious Diseases Research Initiative (the forerunner of CIDRI-Africa).

She holds a PhD and MSc (Med) from UCT and BA and BA Honours (Psych) degrees from Bosphorous University (Turkey). Ursula received a Y1 rating from the National Research Foundation in 2021 and has won several awards for her conference presentations. She maintains an interest in public communication of science, having lectured at UCT’s Summer School, the Winter School for Scientific and Industrial Leadership Initiative, and the 2019 International Brain Awareness Week event (which she also organised). She also won the 2017 FameLab Cape Town Science Communication award, and in 2022 she is the local host and Chair of the International Symposium of Intracranial Pressure and Brain Monitoring.