Emer Prof Jacquie Greenberg
Professor Jacquie Greenberg obtained her BSc at Stellenbosch University (1970) and PhD (1990) at the University of Cape Town (UCT). She started her academic career in 1971, as a lecturer in Histology and Physiology at UCT Medical School. One year later, she joined the then newly established Department of Human Genetics, where the HOD, Professor Peter Beighton, became her mentor, supervised her PhD and stimulated her life-long interest in the late onset Neurodegenerative Diseases, including Huntington Disease and the Inherited Ataxias. Subsequently, Prof Greenberg’s research collaboration with Prof Raj Ramasar was seminal in expanding her research focus into heterogeneous conditions to include the Inherited Retinal Degenerative Diseases. Together, they established their current molecular research and diagnostic laboratory as a leading centre for studies focussing on genetic forms of blindness in Africa.
Prof Greenberg is a full professor in the Division of Human Genetics, which is now part of the Department of Pathology at the Faculty of Health Sciences, UCT. She has supervised over 40 post graduate students and her interdisciplinary network of research collaboration extends not only across UCT but also nationally and internationally. Prof Greenberg has published more than 80 peer-reviewed manuscripts, review articles and book chapters.
In 1994, Prof Greenberg registered as a Medical Scientist with the Health Professional Council of South Africa (HPCSA) and in 1996, based on her experience in Human and Medical Genetics, was one of the first Genetic Counsellors in SA to register with the HPCSA. She has been involved with molecular genetic diagnostic testing at UCT and Groote Schuur Hospital for over 40 years. In 2003, she was the first woman to be elected as Chair of the Southern African Society of Human Genetics. She is a National Research Foundation C1-rated scientist and served on the UCT Human and the Animal Research Ethics Committees for several years. She is the course convenor of one of only two Masters programmes in Genetic Counselling in South Africa (SA) and is an advisory board member of the Transnational Alliance of Genetic Counsellors representing over 15 countries. She has been actively involved with patient support groups for many years including Retina SA, the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation of SA and the Huntington’s Association of SA. Prof Greenberg was invited to serve on the committee of the SA Department of National Health’s team tasked with drafting regulations and guidelines for the new National Health Bill’s section on human cloning and stem cell research, as well as other genetic laboratory activities. This further stimulated her interest in cloning, which started as a scientific hobby in the new millennium and gradually progressed to stem cell research which has now become her vision, as part of her metaphorical journey along the double helix, of moving her research from basic science to translational genetics. In particular, the transition from medical diagnostics of Mendelian inheritance disorders, to therapeutics which is directed to SA families who suffer the consequences of these conditions.