Biosketches of academic staff members and associates

ana Zimba Kalula. MBChB (Zambia), FRCP (UK), MMed, MPhil, PhD (UCT), is a physician specialist in Geriatric Medicine and the director of the Albertina and Walter Sisulu Institute of Ageing in Africa at UCT. She headed the Division of Geriatric Medicine at UCT from 2001-2010 and is the course convenor for the MPhil degree in Geriatric Medicine. Apart from clinical service and teaching responsibilities, she manages a focused and expanding research programme on functioning and health care at the IAA. Her current research interests are a) falls in older persons, b) physical and cognitive functioning, and c) the epidemiology and management of dementia.

Kalula is co-director of the International Longevity Centre-South Africa;  a member of the African Research on Ageing Network (AFRAN); a member of Global Aging Research Network (GARN); and a member of the South African Geriatric Society and the International Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology.


Marc Combrinck, MBChB, BSc(Med)(Hons), PhD, FCP(SA)(Neurol), MRCP(UK), DTM&H, is a consultant neurologist in the Division of Geriatric Medicine at Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH) and the University of Cape Town (UCT).  He trained in medicine, biochemistry and neurology at GSH and UCT.  He was a research fellow at the University of Oxford from 1997 to 2004. He worked for the Oxford Project To Investigate Memory and Ageing (OPTIMA) at the Radcliffe Infirmary and studied the role of inflammation in neurodegenerative diseases in the laboratory of Hugh Perry in Southampton. He returned to Cape Town in 2004.  His main interest is in dementia.  Between 2008 and 2013 he held a South African National Research Foundation Chair in Clinical Neurosciences at UCT.  


Linda de Villiers, MB ChB Cape Town, FCP SA, is a Specialist in the Division of Geriatric Medicine. She participates in the full undergraduate and postgraduate medical and allied professions teaching programme. Her main research interest area is stroke. She has developed a data bank of stroke patients at Groote Schuur and GF Jooste Hospitals, and protocols for management of stroke in various evolutionary stages. She is a member of the South African Geriatrics Society. 



John A. Joska, MB ChB, MMed (Psych), FC Psych (SA), is Head of Clinical Unit (Psychiatry) and Head of Division of Neuropsychiatry at GSH. He is also director of The HIV Mental Health Research Unit and an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at the UCT. He is a consultant in Old Age Psychiatry and is part of a multidisciplinary team in the UCT/GSH Memory Clinic within the IAA. He is responsible for old age psychiatry services for Metro West and Honorary lecturer in the Division of Geriatric Medicine. His main research interest area is neurocognitive disorders in HIV infection; Neuropsychiatry; and Mental Health Services.



Kevin G. F. Thomas, BA (Harvard), MA (Southern California), PhD (Arizona) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and a member of the Applied Cognitive Science and Experimental Neuropsychology Team (ACSENT) in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cape Town. He did his post-doctoral clinical internship (Neuropsychology at the University of Florida in 2002). His main research interests are clinical, cognitive and experimental neuropsychology, especially spatial cognition and the effects of ageing on neuropsychological function; effects of trauma and stress on the short and long term cognitive functioning and paediatric traumatic brain injury. He is a member of the South African Clinical Neuropsychological Association, the Psychological Society of South Africa, and the Association for Psychological Sciences and the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology. 


Carla Freeman,MBChB (UCT), FC Psych (SA), MMed Psychiatry (UCT) is a psychiatrist and senior lecturer in the Division of Neuropsychiatry at UCT. She has completed a 2-year clinical fellowship in Neuropsychiatry and is a 2010 Discovery Foundation Academic Award recipient. Her interests include HIV and Old Age Psychiatry.



Celeste de Jager, NDMT, HDE, BSc (Med Hons), PhD, Senior Researcher in the Division of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Cape Town. She has 14 years’ experience in Neuropsychological assessment and research at the University of Oxford, UK with relevance to early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Prevalence, modifiable risk factors for dementia and intervention trials are also key areas of her work. 



Tarryn Blouws,BA Hons, MSc, is a researcher in the IAA. She obtained an honours degree in Anthropology and a master’s degree in Herbal Science from the University of the Western Cape in 2010 and 2012, respectively. Her academic interest is within the field of health research and health promotion. She is currently in the field with a study on Cape Town as an Age Friendly City and is doing preparatory work for upcoming studies on HIV and AIDS and older persons 



Leon Geffen,MBChB FCFP (SA), is a Family Physician in general practice in Cape Town. He is an Honorary Senior Lecturer in the Division of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Cape Town and conducts sessions in the Groote Schuur Hospital/UCT Memory Clinic. He is active in teaching and examining Registrars in Family Medicine at the university. He is a member of the South African Geriatrics Society, the South African Academy of Family Physicians, the South African Medical Association, the Allergy Society of South Africa and the South African HIV Clinicians Society. He is the president and honorary medical superintendent of Highlands House, a Jewish Aged Home in Cape Town. Geffen has published on stroke, the management of infective endocarditis, ageing and sexuality, ageing and immunology, management of patients in a memory clinic and research in general practice. His current research interests include improved quality of long-term care, and the use of quality indicators and assessment instruments in community dwelling older persons. He is currently engaged in a public private partnership programme with the Western Cape Department of Health to provide medical services at a primary care level. He is the Medical Director of Agewell, an international multi-centre project being implemented  in two sites in Cape Town to develop and evaluate support services for older persons in the community.  Geffen recently completed an evaluation of oral health in older persons in Cape Town as part of an international collaborative study. He was appointed a Fellow of


Kathleen Ross, MB ChB (Stell), FCP (SA), Cert Geriatrics SA, is a physician with subspecialty in Geriatric Medicine in private practice. She is a part-time consultant in Geriatric Medicine and provides clinical services, and education in the geriatrics clinics at Groote Schuur Hospital. She is the treasure and secretary of the South African Geriatrics Society.



Jaco Hoffman, DPhil (Oxon), is Research Professor and head of the Optentia Research Focus Group: Ageing and Generational Dynamics in Africa at North-West University (Vaal Triangle Campus) and a James Martin Senior Research Fellow in the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing at Oxford University, UK. He is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Institute of Ageing in Africa at the University of Cape Town. He is the Co-ordinator of the African Research on Ageing Network (AFRAN) and a Board Member of the South African Care Forum (SACF), and is a Past President of the South African Gerontological Association (SAGA).



Sonya Hendricks is secretary and administrative assistant at the IAA. Her duties range from office administration, to desktop publishing, to organising functions and events, to providing assistance with financial management.