The Department of Human Biology within the University of Cape Town's Faculty of Health Sciences brings together several medical scientific and clinical academic disciplines. These disciplines are divided into four Divisions, namely (1) Biomedical Engineering, (2) Cell Biology, (3) Clinical Anatomy and Biological Anthropology, and (4) Physiological Sciences. The divisions are located in the Anatomy Building on the Faculty of Health Sciences Campus, except one part of the Division of Physiological Sciences that is located at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) in Newlands.

Apart from research activities in the various fields of the academic disciplines, the department also conducts research into curriculum development and intervention strategies for transformation in, and broadening access to, medical education. The department's undergraduate teaching contributes to the MBChB, Health and Rehabilitation, as well as Faculty of Science programmes. Human Biology has a large cohort of postgraduate students in the Faculty of Health Sciences. It offers a wide range of post-graduate programmes in niche areas such as: (1) applied anatomy, (2) biokinetics, (3) biological anthropology, (4) biomedical engineering, (5) cell biology, (6) exercise science, (7) health care technology management, (8) nutrition and dietetics, (9) physiology and neurosciences, (10) sports and exercise medicine, (11) sport management (offered together with the Faculty of Commerce), and (12) sports physiotherapy (offered together with the Division of Physiotherapy in the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences).

The department also hosts the Confocal & Light Microscope Imaging Facility which is a modern inter-faculty unit that provides a service relating to light and fluorescence microscopy, including the new LSM confocal microscope. The unit specialises in advanced fluorescence imaging acquisition and image analysis supported by computer workstations equipped with state of the art software. The department is also part of a multi-departmental multi-institutional Cape Universities Body Imaging Centre (CUBIC) on the premises of Groote Schuur Hospital. CUBIC features Africa’s first full-body high-field Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner.

The department has a body donor programme where interested people can bequeath their bodies to help train future health professionals.

Delva Shamley, BSc, BSc (Hons), PhD, EMBA
Associate Professor and Head of Department