Treading the tightrope of healthy living : pondering heart metabolism's balancing act
Inaugural lecture delivered September 2011.
Prof Faadiel Essop is the current chairperson of the Depart - ment of Physiological Sciences at Stellenbosch University. He hails from a strong rural background; he was born in Ceres and grew up in Paarl (Western Cape, South Africa). He completed his undergraduate studies (biochemistry and microbiology majors) and PhD degree (medical biosciences) at the University of Cape Town (UCT). He also completed (part-time basis) a BA Hons degree (Arabic) at the University of the Western Cape. After postdoctoral fellowship stints at UCT and the University of Leeds, he joined the Hatter Cardiovascular Research Institute at UCT’s Faculty of Health Sciences (1998). During this time he focused on mechanisms driving the onset of cardiac hypertrophy and the effects of hypoxia on the heart. He was also appointed to the board of the Medical Research Council of South Africa by the Minister of Health (1998–2000). Prof Essop was awarded the prestigious Fulbright fellowship (2005–2006) to spend time in Prof Heinrich Taegtmeyer’s laboratory at the University of Texas-Houston Medical School. During February 2007, he joined the Department of Physiological Sciences at Stellenbosch University as an associate professor and was promoted to full professor in 2011. At Stellenbosch University he established the Cardio-Metabolic Research Group that focuses on altered fuel substrate metabolism and its contribution to the onset of type 2 diabetes and heart failure. Prof Essop and his students have received several awards over the last few years. He has published 42 peer-reviewed papers and supervised six PhD, five MSc and four postdoctoral students. He is married to Dr Rehana Essop and they have three children, Ziyaad, Aaliyah and Yasin.