Professor Rob Veale


Prof Veale completed his BSc, BSc hons and PhD studies at Wits. He further went on in his Wits career to become the current Head of School of Molecular and Cell Biology. Prof Veale acted as referee/reviewer from time to time for the South African Journal of Science, Cell Biology International and Bioscience Reports. He has received numerous awards, including Continental Ethicals Award in 1987 for the best young researcher in gastroenterology, and in 1997 the Convocation Distinguished Teachers Award in the Faculty of Science. He has supervised numerous post-graduate students and published over 20 peer-reviewed journal articles and has been the PI of the Cell Biology Laboratory at Wits for the past 20 years.

Research interests

Prof Veale’s research interests lie in aspects of cellular growth, differentiation and neoplasia, employing modern tissue culture, biochemical, molecular biological and immunological techniques. His current investigations are particularly in the properties of human oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (HOSCC).

Oesophageal cancer is the sixth most common cancer world wide. It is the most common cancer in South African black men, and second only to cervical cancer in black women. The Southern African survival rate for oesophageal cancer in patients with metastases is extremely low making studies of the fundamental problems associated with tumour growth and metastasis indispensable for improving prognosis. Metastasis is a complex cascade of events involving either increases or decreases in tumour cell adherence to adjacent cells or to the surrounding extracellular matrix.

Prof Veale research group investigates the factors affecting oesophageal SCC invasion and metastasis. In particular, the quantification of the integrin and cadherin components synthesised and secreted by oesophageal SCC s; fibrinolysin activity in that it has been demonstrated that blockage of E-cadherin-dependent cell adhesion leads to a stimulation of plasminogen activator expression; the role of mdr in oesophageal SCC invasion; and the mediation of the above activities by selected growth factors.

Contact information

Prof Rob Veale, Tel: +27 11 717 6332