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Precision and Genomic Medicine

The SAMRC/UCT Precision and Genomic Medicine Research Unit (PGMRU) is interested in using the exciting developments in the field of genomic sciences to investigate human biodiversity. This quest will contribute to a more proactive and preventive approach to health. Tied closely to this quest is the expansion of research to cover genome-wide investigations pertaining to the burden of disease in Southern Africa and to assess the impact of  genomic variants on the health of the indigenous populations of Africa.

Key focus areas

  • To identify the ancestral groupings detectable in the current populations of Southern Africa, and to compare the genetic lineages/composition of populations of Southern Africa, with those already characterised in Africa, and elsewhere in the world.
  • To identify low frequency, possibly functional genetic variants, in the populations of Southern Africa.
  • To collate allele frequencies of sample data in order to identify sub-populations and to relate this to susceptibility and resistance to disease.
  • To provide a genetic dimension towards understanding the heterogeneity of practically all disorders, and the biology underlying this heterogeneity, towards devising improved clinical management.
  • To create an attractive research environment comprising well characterised disease resources.
  • To establish a state of the art health ecosystem which has a knowledgeable subject/patient/client at its centre
  • To enhance public understanding of genetics and genomics




Prof Rajkumar S Ramesar
Unit Director
  • +27 21 406 6337