Professor Khumalo graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and surgery (MBChB) in 1990. She worked as a general practitioner in Langa Township and later half-time for 10 years whilst raising her daughters. She received clinical and research training in Dermatology at Groote Schuur Hospital and 3 years at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford UK, registering as a Fellow of the SA College of Dermatologists in 2003. Dermatology training in South Africa (SA) is an excellent clinical discipline. However, although there is increasing clinical research, until recently SA dermatology did not have a single laboratory facility. Khumalo is the founder and director of the Hair and skin Research (HSR) Laboratory a state-of-the-art hair and skin research facility on the top floor of the historic Old Main Building at Groote Schuur Hospital that also houses the first human heart transplant museum.
Khumalo has managed to merge tripartite academic roles as teacher clinician scientist with out-of-the-box strategies for research and fund raising. With Funding from the National Skills Fund (NSF) she established the HSR lab and with funding from the Services Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) the National Cosmetic Safety Testing Unit and a new qualification (the Advanced Diploma in Cosmetic Formulation Science) are run from the HSR Lab from 2017. Khumalo moves comfortably from the bedside to the laboratory and community in her use of clinical, basic science and public health research tools. She received the inaugural Discovery Foundation (SA) Research Fellowship Award and was awarded a PhD in Public Health from the UCT in 2007. She was appointed as a consultant dermatologist in 2008, received ad hominum promotion to the rank of Associate Professor in 2009 (full professor in 2016), Head of Dermatology at UCT in December 2012 and awarded the National Research Foundation - SARChI chair Dermatology and Toxicology in 2015. She is the founding Editor of the SA Journal of Child Health and author of “Genes for Teens” a science-made-relevant-to-daily-life book that aims to inform and motivate teenagers to think before they act.
The huge laboratory research backlog in South African dermatology requires a multipronged approach and innovative thinking to attract core skills, accelerate and fast track us to the desired status of “world leading research program” in the fastest possible time – all in the interest of solving neglected African hair and skin disorders to benefit of our population.