Associate Professor Phumla Sinxadi joins CIDRI-Africa

01 Aug 2022
01 Aug 2022

CIDRI-Africa recently welcomed Phumla to the ranks of Contributing Investigators. She is a specialist clinical pharmacologist and Head of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology in the Department of Medicine at UCT; she is also Deputy Unit Director for the newly established SAMRC/UCT Platform for Pharmacogenomics Research and Translation (Unit Director—Prof Collet Dandara).

Phumla received a number of awards for her postgraduate training including Discovery Foundation and CIDRI awards, which allowed her an opportunity to spend time at Vanderbilt University with Professor David Haas, an expert in pharmacogenomics. Her research focuses on understanding the toxicity of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and cardiovascular medications in South Africans using pharmacokinetic and pharmacogenetic approaches. She has conducted a series of studies to determine if there are dose-response relationships between antiretrovirals and their associated metabolic complications. As part of her PhD (supervised by Profs Gary Maartens and David Haas), she conducted the first study of expanded genotyping for CYP2B6, which encodes the primary metabolising enzyme for efavirenz. She has also collaborated on work identifying novel polymorphisms associated with dolutegravir exposure and weight gain. Ongoing work is investigating the pharmacogenetics and pharmacokinetics of tenofovir prodrugs and how these relate to their toxicity. She also has experience in early drug development: she was the lead investigator of the first-in-man clinical trial investigating the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of MMV390048, a novel antimalarial drug discovered at UCT in collaboration with the Medicines for Malaria Venture and the Department of Science and Technology (Principal investigator—Prof Karen Barnes).

In 2016, she was awarded an EDCTP-WHO TDR Clinical Research and Development Fellowship and spent a year at the Diseases of the Developing World unit, a research and development department at GlaxoSmithKline in London. Currently, her research is funded by the South African Medical Research Council, the National Research Foundation, Wellcome and the Newton Fund.

Phumla holds an MBChB, MMed and PhD, all from UCT. In addition, she holds a diploma in anaesthesiology and a certificate in human pharmacology. She has won several awards including a Young Scientist Award at the 5th ACP conference and Young Investigator Award at CROI in 2012, best 2013/2014 publication award from the South African Society for Basic and Clinical Pharmacology, “best paper by an author in training” from the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology in 2015, and the 2018 South African Clinician Scientist Award at the South African Health Excellence Awards.