Professor Maritha Kotze founded Gknowmix in 2007 with the vision to develop a global genetic testing service delivery system and database tool for research translation at the interface between the laboratory and clinic. As evidenced by her scientific outputs, this has been accomplished through multi-disciplinary research initiatives. In 2016 she has been appointed as a registered medical scientist at the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS), at Tygerberg Hospital. Since obtaining her PhD degree at Stellenbosch University in 1990, she supervised numerous postgraduate students and received the Rector’s Award for Research Excellence in 1999, with a B-rating from the National Research Foundation shortly thereafter. Her publications include more than 180 peer-reviewed articles and invited books/chapters in books. She received a patent incentive award in 2005 and was identified during this time by the Institute for Scientific Information in the USA as one of the 20 highest ranking active publishers in the biomedical field in South Africa. Over the following years she pioneered the application of genomic medicine using an integrated service and research approach, which was acknowledged as best practice in 2020 by the International Consortium of Personalised Medicine. Qualifications: BSc, BSc Honours, MSc (all cum laude), PhD. Field of Practice: Human molecular genetics
Dr Tony Bunn is the executive director of Gknowmix. He was instrumental in establishing the company, as a spin-out of the SA Medical Research Council (MRC), in 2007 and co-developed its unique business model. He has a PhD in medical science (physics) and has been involved in health technology R&D, and specifically medical device innovation, for nearly 40 years. Whilst a researcher at the Stellenbosch Medical School in 1984 his spin-out company developed and commercialised the world’s first, portable lung function system. He was subsequently professor and acting head of the department of biomedical engineering at the University of Cape Town and extra-ordinary professor at the Central University of Technology followed by Director of the MRC innovation centre (now SHIP). His R&D activities (in addition to scientific publications and postgraduate supervision) have led to 5 successful, health technology companies and one international company all based on novel medical technologies. He was also co-founder of the Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA) in 2001 and the MRC-PATH Global Health Innovation Accelerator (GHIA) in 2014. Qualifications: BSc(Hons) Cum Laude, MSc, PhD, UED. Field of Practice: Health Technology Research & Innovation
Lujane Nutt is the General Manager of the Gknowmix genetic testing service delivery system and database tool, which enables research translation at the interface between the laboratory and clinic. This role is complemented by her skills as a volunteer counsellor of the Cancer Association of South Africa. She comes from a diplomatic family background living in The Netherlands and France during her childhood years, and later living in Taiwan, Spain and Greece as a diplomats’ wife. They moved to Cape Town in 2000 where she gained invaluable experience in the medical field, which included various courses such as secretarial, customer related services, marketing and management, eventually taking up the position of Customer Services and Marketing Manager at a Netcare Hospital. In 2012 she obtained a certificate in Digital Marketing to further her knowledge into private business marketing in the modern world of technology.
Emeritus Professor Peter Beighton who has passed away in 2023, shared his vast knowledge as a medical geneticist with the Gknowmix team over more than two decades. Under his mentorship, we developed the pathology supported genetic testing algorithms for complex diseases with a genetic component. This is based on insights gained under his clinical guidance at GeneCare Molecular Genetics, which was located at the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital in Cape Town until 2007. His academic awards included Fulbright and Oppenheimer Fellowships, a Silver Medal from the Medical Research Council (1997) and the Order of Mapungubwe, Bronze award for outstanding achievements in medical genetics (2002). His publications exceed 400 medical articles, including 19 books plus 24 chapters in books. Qualifications: MD, PhD, FRCP, FRCPCH, FRSSA.
Dr David Pieter van Velden is a registered Family Physician with a special interest in epigenetics associated with lifestyle-related diseases and the interaction of environmental influences on genetic predisposition in the management of chronic and degenerative diseases. He remains active in the scientific reporting of health-related issues for the lay-public, and initiated research in Integrative Medicine to stimulate the natural healing potential of the body. He is a strong advocate of natural interventions such as diet and exercise to manage the modern lifestyle-related diseases and support the application of pathology supported genetic testing to identify modifiable gene-environment interactions in the phenotypic expression of disease. Qualifications: MB, ChB (US), M Prax Med (UP), M Phil (Journalism) (US) Field of Practice: Medical Journalist
Lindiwe Whati is a registered Dietitian and nutrigenetics expert. She graduated in 2000 with a BSc (Dietetics) degree at the University of the Western Cape and obtained an MSc degree in Nutrition Science in 2005 from the University of Stellenbosch. She is actively involved with Gknowmix in the co-development of new tests for conditions where gene-diet interaction plays an important role. Previous experience in the field of nutrition includes management of chronic diseases in adults, nutrition therapy for hospitalised adults and children, nutrition education and research, as well as project management. She is registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa and a member of the Association for Dietetics South Africa. Qualifications: BSc (Dietetics), MSc (Nutrition Science)Field of Practice: Dietetics and Nutrigenetics
Emeritus Prof Susan J van Rensburg is an HPCSA registered medical scientist and Scientific Advisor of Gknowmix. She completed her BSc at the University of the Witwatersrand, majoring in Chemistry, Biochemistry and Botany. She received an Hons degree in Biochemistry at Northwest University’s Potchefstroom campus, and an MSc at Stellenbosch University. She joined the Department of Chemical Pathology at Tygerberg Hospital in 1986 in the MRC Research Unit for the Neurochemistry of Mental Diseases. She graduated with a PhD in Medical Sciences (Chemical Pathology) in 1993, investigating the relationship between genetic and environmental factors in the aetiology of Alzheimer’s disease. In the same year she received the Beckman Post-Graduate Bursary Award, and in 1999 the Bristol-Myers Squibb Travel Award for the “Most Promising Neuroscientist”. Continuing with the Neuroscience theme, she collaborated with the Department of Psychiatry to evaluate the efficacy of the fatty acid EPA as supplemental treatment in schizophrenia. In 2003 she joined a research project relating to multiple sclerosis (MS). From this collaborative project the concept of Pathology Supported Genetic Testing was born. She received the Bayer Senior Researcher Award in 2006 for an article on MS. She has published more than 80 peer-reviewed articles and five book chapters and she has co-registered two patents. She has retired in 2016, which changed her status from Associate to Emeritus Professor in the Division of Chemical Pathology, Tygerberg Hospital, University of Stellenbosch. Qualifications: BSc, BSc Honours, MSc, PhD.Field of Practice: Biochemistry