Professor Anthony Figaji joins CIDRI-Africa

10 Nov 2023
A head-and-shoulders photo of Prof. Figaji wearing a blue suit
10 Nov 2023

Tony joined CIDRI-Africa as a Principal Investigator (PI) in the fourth quarter of 2023. He holds several positions at the University of Cape Town including Professor and Head of Paediatric Neurosurgery (Groote Schuur Hospital and the Red Cross Children’s Hospital), Head of the African Brain Child research group in the Neurosciences Institute, and National Research Foundation South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) Chair of Clinical Neurosciences.

He has developed a translational research group in a surgical environment: 75% of the research team is non-clinical but are exposed to the clinical domain and take advantage of clinical data and specimens. The team of 24 staff and students are from diverse personal and professional backgrounds: from Honours, Masters, and Doctoral students to early career and intermediate researchers, research managers, and clinical specialists, 70% are female and two thirds non-White. The group’s research scope is intentionally interdisciplinary, including clinical neurology and neurosurgery, epidemiology, cellular neuroscience, neuro-immunology, brain physics, neuro-oncology, neuro-pharmacokinetics, and public health. The team has equipped and developed the Neuroscience Institute laboratory as a core facility for users of the multidisciplinary Institute. 

Tony currently holds grants from the SA MRC/Gabriel Foundation (as PI), the UK National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Global Health Research Portfolio (as co-lead), the US National Institutes of Health (as co-PI), and most recently, the Wellcome Trust (as PI). He received a Wellcome Discovery Award for the project “Novel Methods of Investigating Disease Mechanisms and Treatment in Children with Tuberculous Meningitis”.
Tony is a Member of the Academy of Sciences of South Africa, holds a B1 National Research Foundation rating, is a Fellow of the University of Cape Town, and is President-elect of the Society of Neurosurgeons of South Africa. He was the first person in UCT’s Division of Neurosurgery to be awarded a PhD (2008). His thesis “Multimodality monitoring in children with severe traumatic brain injury” also won the Bronte Stewart Research Prize for the most meritorious PhD thesis in the Faculty of Health Sciences.