Professor Michèle Ramsay


Michèle Ramsay obtained her PhD in Human Molecular Genetics from the University of the Witwatersrand and is currently the head of the Molecular Genetics Laboratory (service and research) in the Division of Human Genetics at the National Health Laboratory Service. She holds a joint appointment as Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand. Michèle teaches medical students and supervises MSc and PhD students and is joint editor and author of a textbook, “Molecular Medicine for Clinicians” (Wits University Press 2009). She is the Chair of the Wits Bioinformatics Steering Group and joint champion of a cross-faculty Research Thrust, “Molecular Biosciences: Health for Africa”, which focuses on an understanding of the molecular basis of health and disease in Africans. Since 1984, she has published over 100 papers in peer reviewed journals and many book chapters on the genetic basis of single gene disorders and more recently complex diseases.

Research interests

Her research interests include the genetic basis and molecular epidemiology of single gene disorders in South African populations and the role of genetic and epigenetic variation in the molecular aetiology of foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) and other diseases exacerbated by adverse lifestyle choices. The FASD research includes the use of a mouse model to investigate alcohol induced epigenetic remodelling as a mechanism of teratogenesis. Her other research interests include cystic fibrosis in the black African population, pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE), lipoid proteinosis, pigmentation in health and disease and hermaphroditism.

Her current research collaborations include studies on obesity, hypertension, bone development, HIV related kidney disease and glaucoma in South African populations. In addition to being the reporting PI for this training program, she is Interim Director of the Sydney Brenner Institute for Molecular Bioscience (Wits University) which focuses on a molecular understanding of non-communicable diseases in African populations, joint PI of the first phase of the “Southern African Human Genome Programme”, chair of the Southern African Society for Human Genetics, chair of the Wits Bioinformatics Steering Group, joint champion of a cross-faculty Research Thrust, Molecular Biosciences: Health for Africa” and joint editor and author of a textbook, “Molecular Medicine for Clinicians” (Wits University Press, 2009).

Contact information

Prof Michèle Ramsay, Tel: +27 11 489 9214