Home > Divisions > Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

  • About Us

    Head of Division:  Associate Professor Maia Lesosky BSc MSc PhD Guelph

    Contact Information:

    Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
    School of Public Health and Family Medicine
    Faculty of Health Sciences
    University of Cape Town
    South Africa

    Senior Secretary:  Jolene Brooks
    Tel: +27 21 406 6578
    Fax:+27 21 406 6764
    Email: Jolene Brooks

    Click here for information about our Masters Programme

    The Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics leads teaching and research around quantitative research methods in the School and Faculty. Courses taught from the Division include Introduction to Epidemiology, Quantitative Research Methods, Advanced Epidemiology, Evidence-Based Health Care, Clinical Epidemiology, Infectious Diseases Epidemiology, Non-Communicable Diseases Epidemiology, and a range of biostatistics courses (in conjunction with the Department of Statistical Sciences). 

    The Division has a joinable mailing list – we use this to announce our seminars, workshops and short courses. Please join if you wish to hear about Division hosted activities.

    The Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics has a joinable mailing list – we use this to announce our seminars, workshops and short courses. Please join if you wish to hear about Division hosted activities.

    How to sign up to DivEB mail list:

    1. Send an email to epibio-division-l-join@lists.uct.ac.za.
    2. Your subscription to the mailing list will be confirmed by email.

    How to leave the DivEB mail list:

    1. Send an email to epibio-division-l-leave@lists.uct.ac.za
    2. Your request will be processed and your removal from the mailing list will be confirmed by email.

    How to send a message to the DivEB mail list:

          1. Email epibio-division-l@lists.uct.ac.za

          Note that this will email ALL the people on the list.


    Jul/Aug 2019

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  • Undergraduate Teaching

    The Division assists with undergraduate epidemiology and biostatistics teaching in the MBChB curriculum (including during Semesters 3-5, and as part of the 4th year Public Health teaching programme) and as part of research methods teaching for allied health sciences students.

  • Postgraduate Teaching

    The Division provides epidemiology and biostatistics teaching at both introductory and advanced levels. Most of the Division's teaching is through the Master of Public Health (MPH) programme, where the Division convenes the Epidemiology and Biostatistics track.

    Courses taught by the Division include:

    • Introduction to Epidemiology
    • Advanced Epidemiology
    • Clinical Epidemiology
    • Seminars in Epidemiology
    • Infectious Diseases Epidemiology (taught in conjunction with the Division of Public Health Medicine)
    • Non-Communicable Diseases Epidemiology (taught in conjunction with the Division of Public Health Medicine)
    • Evidence-Based Health Care (taught in conjunction with the Department of Medicine)
    • Biostatistics I (Introduction to Biostatistics)
    • Biostatistics II (Linear & Logistic Regression Modelling)
    • Biostatistics III (Survival analyses and advanced topics) (taught in conjunction with the Department of Statistical Sciences)

    Additional teaching takes place on a range of short-courses and special seminars throughout the Faculty. This additional teaching typically focuses on either general research methods (study design, measurement, causal inference, etc) and/or specific advanced topics. Recent topics for short-courses and seminars include:

    • mathematical modelling of infectious diseases
    • structural equation modelling
    • missing data and imputation
    • modelling for causal inference

    In addition, the Division offers PhDs in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. While the PhD programme is by dissertation-only, most of our PhD students enter through the MPH, and/or participate in short-courses and seminars programme.

  • Research

    Research interests and activities in the Division include:

    • Methods for modelling longitudinal data
    • Infectious diseases epidemiology, including HIV, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections
    • Maternal and child health
    • Cardiovascular diseases
    • Women's reproductive health, including contraception and termination of pregnancy

    Researchers in the Division collaborate with investigators in other parts of the School of Public Health and Family Medicine (including CIDER and WHRU) and the Faculty (including the Departments of Paediatrics and Child Health, Clinical and Laboratory Sciences, Psychiatry and Mental Health, Medicine).

  • People

    Maia Lesosky, Associate Professor and Head of Division



    Email:  maia.lesosky@uct.ac.za

    Phone:  021 650 4532




    Biostatistician and Associate Professor, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health and Family Medicine. Contributing Investigator with CIDRI-Africa (Wellcome Trust Centre), and with the NIHR Unit IMPALA studying respiratory outcomes across Africa. Maia has previously worked as Senior Lecturer – Medical Statistics – in the Department of Medicine at the University of Cape Town, as Extraordinary Lecturer in the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences at the University of Pretoria and as a research fellow at the University of Edinburgh, Institutes of Evolutionary Biology, Immunology and Infections Research and the Roslin Institute and at the Institute of Mathematics, Aalto University. She completed her PhD in 2009 in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Guelph, Canada with research on statistical inverse problems. Current interests are in supervised learning as related to cytokine and other biomarker assay profiles, particularly in TB disease progression and Bayesian mixture models for longitudinal HIV viral load data. Constant distractions are statistical graphics, ‘composite’ statistical methods, algorithmic statistical methods (aka machine learning) and R programming. The Biostats Lab works with the Cape-R Users Group to promote R programming around the Cape and wider afield. Please join if you are local to Cape Town (twitter @CapeRUser). We also run a regular statistical methods seminar series on the Health Sciences Faculty – announced on web and via twitter (@EpiBiostats_UCT).

    Landon Myer, Professor, Head of Department and Director of School



    Email:  landon.myer@uct.ac.za

    Phone:  021 406 6661




    Landon Myer is Director and Head of the School of Public Health and Family Medicine at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He has training in social anthropology, clinical medicine and epidemiology. His research focuses on women's, maternal and child health in the context of HIV. He has lead multiple clinical and health systems studies investigating the health of HIV-infected women receiving ART during pregnancy and postpartum, as well as the health and development of HIV-exposed and -infected children and adolescents.

    Tamsin Phillips, Senior Lecturer/Research Officer



    Email:  tammy.phillips@uct.ac.za





    Tamsin Phillips is an epidemiologist in the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.  Her research focus is the continuum of care for women living with HIV. Her PhD investigated the impact of mobility and care transitions on adherence and retention in HIV care among pregnant and postpartum women in Gugulethu. She is also interested in the methodological considerations for measuring retention and adherence and the use of mobile health and smartphone technology for supporting the HIV care continuum. Tamsin recently received a VECD Fogarty Global Health Postdoctoral Fellowship through which she will explore longer-term patterns of disengage and re-engage in HIV care among postpartum women. She also teaches Introduction to Biostatistics as part of the MPH programme.

    Kirsty Brittain, Lecturer/Research Officer




    Email:  kirstybrittain@gmail.com




    Kirsty Brittain is a Research Officer in the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Her research interests include psychosocial aspects of maternal, child and adolescent health, including adherence and engagement in HIV care, behavioural risk factors, and mental health problems. Her current work focusses on pregnant and postpartum women living with HIV, with a particular emphasis on HIV-status disclosure and experiences of stigma. She teaches Introduction to Epidemiology as part of the Master of Public Health programme.

    Hlengiwe Madlala, Lecturer/Research Officer




    Email:  Hlengiwe.madlala@uct.ac.za




    Hlengiwe Madlala is a PhD Physiologist who recently completed her MPH and currently work as a Research Officer in the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Her research interests are co-morbidity of maternal obesity and HIV infection in pregnancy and underlying mechanisms for adverse birth outcomes. She manages a population-based cohort evaluating adverse pregnancy outcomes under the new policy of Option B+ strategy for prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT).

    Elton Mukonda, Lecturer/Research Officer



    Email:  elton.mukonda@uct.ac.za





    Elton currently works as a Research Officer in the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. He is a trained demographer and also has experience working as a statistician and data analyst. He completed his MPhil in Demography in 2015 at the Centre for Actuarial Research (CARe), University of Cape Town, with research on estimating mortality for metropolitan populations in developing countries. Current interests include economic evaluation, statistical learning, longitudinal data analysis, actuarial modelling and bayesian statistics.

    Thokozile Malaba, Lecturer/Research Officer



    Email:  Thoko.Malaba@uct.ac.za




    Thoko Malaba is an epidemiologist in the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Cape Town.  Her work focuses primarily on maternal and child health in the context of HIV, particularly the use of antiretroviral therapy in pregnancy.  She is currently involved in clinical, population-based and health systems research studies in HIV-infected women using different antiretroviral therapy regimens in pregnancy.  Her specific research interests are adverse birth outcomes and the methodological issues encountered in perinatal research studies.

    Frissiano Honwana, Assistant Lecturer



    Email:  Frissiano.Honwana@uct.ac.za




    Frissiano Honwana is an assistant lecturer in the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. He completed his Masters in Statistics at University of KwaZulu-Natal. His areas of interest are longitudinal data analysis and infectious disease modelling. Frissiano is a member of South African Statistical Association (SASA).

    Jasantha Odayar, Clinical Research Officer





    Email:  Jasantha.Odayar@uct.ac.za


    Jasantha Odayar is an epidemiologist in the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Research (CIDER).  Her interests are in improving health care services, particularly for individuals requiring long-term care, including for HIV and TB.  She manages an implementation science trial (“PACART”) comparing routine clinics to community-based adherence clubs for antiretroviral therapy (ART) delivery in HIV-positive postpartum women who initiated ART in pregnancy. 

    Karryn Brown, Data Analyst




    Email:  Karryn.Brown@uct.ac.za


    Karryn currently works as a data analyst in the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. She completed her Masters in Public Health, specializing in epidemiology and biostatistics in 2018. Karryn had previously completed her Honours in Human Genetics and worked as a research intern in the Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine (ESSM), Department of Human Biology, UCT. Her current research interests include maternal health and genetic epidemiology.

    Tracy Glass, Statistical Analyst




    Email:  Tracy.Glass @uct.ac.za



    Tracy Glass (PhD candidate, UCT), currently works as a data analyst at the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, UCT.  She completed the Masters in Public Health in 2016, specialising in epidemiology and biostatistics. Tracy previously worked as a research intern at the Burden of Disease Research Unit (BODRU), at the South African Medical Research Council. Her current interest include disease modelling.

    Stanzi le Roux, PhD candidate









    Dr Stanzi le Roux is a doctoral student and clinical epidemiologist in the School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town. She has a background in clinical paediatrics and child health, with previous appointments at the clinical research unit in Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital, and the Desmond Tutu TB research Centre at Tygerberg Hospital, in Cape Town. Her research focus is maternal and child health in the context of infectious diseases in southern Africa, and she is currently completing her doctoral thesis on comparative health outcomes of HIV-exposed uninfected children.

    Chukwudi Nnaji, PhD candidate



    LinkedIn Profile

    Twitter handle: @ChuxNesta_Nnaji


    Chukwudi Nnaji is a Nigerian medical doctor, with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree. He completed his Master of Public Health (MPH) study at the University of Cape Town – with distinction in 2018, and now studying towards a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Public Health at the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (RSTMH) and currently working as an adjunct Senior Scientist/Epidemiologist at Cochrane South Africa, based at the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), Cape Town.

    His research interests are in the areas of evidence based medicine, infectious disease epidemiology, vaccinology and vaccine implementation science. His PhD research aims to use multilevel analytical approaches to evaluate the burden, as well as individual-level and contextual enablers of missed opportunities for vaccination; while using the findings to design context-tailored quality improvement strategies for addressing identified missed opportunities for vaccination. He is supervised by Prof. Charles Wiysonge, Associate Prof. Maia Lesosky and Dr Duduzile Ndwandwe.

    Deborah Constant, Senior Research Officer


    Email:  Deborah.Constant@uct.ac.za

    Phone:  021 406 6722




    Deborah Constant completed her PhD in Public Health at the University of Cape Town in 2016, and was awarded ad hominem promotion to Senior Researcher in 2017. She is currently Director of the Women’s Health Research Unit, School of Public Health at the University of Cape Town, where she has worked since 2002. Her main research interests are in the field of sexual and reproductive health and female cancers, and her research is aimed at influencing policy, improving service delivery, and strengthening women’s autonomy with respect to their reproductive health. She is predominantly a quantitative researcher with strong biostatistical skills, and has designed, raised funding for and led numbers of randomized controlled trials as well as observational studies. She has published 38 peer reviewed articles, mostly in international journals. She teaches at post graduate level in the MPH degree offered by the University of Cape Town School of Public Health and Family Medicine, and has supervised masters and co-supervised doctoral students.

    Benjamin Kagina, Senior Research Officer



    Email:  benjamin.kagina@uct.ac.za




    Benjamin has a MSc. Degree in Epidemiology (from the Jomo Kenyatta University (JKUAT, Kenya) and a PhD in Clinical Sciences & Immunology (from the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa). Currently, Benjamin's role is to lead the day to day operations of the group as well as the strategic growth of VACFA. View profile.

    Honorary Appointments

    Annibale Cois, Honorary Senior Lecturer


    Email:  annibalecois@gmail.com







    Annibale Cois is an Epidemiologist and a Senior Scientist at the Burden of Disease Research Unit of the South Africa Medical Research Council. He has an honorary appointment as a Senior Lecturer in the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the School of Public Health and Family Medicine of the University of Cape Town.

    His background includes Masters Degrees in Electrical Engineering (University of Cagliari, Italy) and Public Health (University of Cape Town), and a PhD in Public Health (University of Cape Town).

    His research interests focus primarily on the epidemiology of non-communicable diseases and associated risk factors in low- and middle-income countries.

    Recent works include the application of latent variables techniques to the estimation and modelling of measurement error in anthropometric characteristics in large-scale surveys; the joint analysis of multiple datasets to recover long-term trends in blood pressure, body mass index and other cardiovascular risk factors; the study of seasonal patterns of cardiovascular risk factors in the South African population and their socioeconomic correlates; the application of Bayesian estimation methods for the study of population pattern of alcohol consumption.

    Dvora Joseph Davey, Honorary Senior Lecturer







    Dr. Dvora Joseph Davey is an Honorary Senior Lecturer in the Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of Cape Town. Dr. Davey received her Master’s Degree in Public Health from Columbia University and her PhD in Epidemiology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Davey has over eighteen years’ experience in international health with extensive experience in the design, management and evaluation of HIV prevention and care, sexual, reproductive health interventions and studies.  Her current research focuses on evaluating how best to prevent HIV in pregnant and breastfeeding women, including sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnosis and treatment, and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in pregnant and breastfeeding women.

    Nathan Ford, Honorary Senior Lecturer

    Kevin Kelly, Honorary Senior Lecturer

    Melissa Wallace, Honorary Senior Lecturer

    Jabulani Ncayiyana, Honorary Research Associate








    Jabulani Ncayiyana is an epidemiologist with research interests in infectious diseases, child and adolescent health, spatial epidemiology and implementation science.