A/Professor Mark Engel graduated from the University of Cape Town (UCT) with an honours degree in Human Genetics in 1996. Following this, he then completed a fellowship at Harvard University’s School of Public Health from 2001 to 2002 before gaining a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in Epidemiology from UCT in 2005. He received his doctorate from UCT in 2013 and currently serves as a researcher and educator in UCT’s Department of Medicine. He collaborates on a number of CHDRU-led studies and also provides part-time consultation to the REACH project. A/Prof Engel employs a wide range of investigative approaches, from molecular to population-based methods, in conducting research on all aspects of rheumatic heart disease. Currently, his main research interest is in host and microbial determinants of Streptococcus pyogenes-related infection to which end he recently established AFROStrep, Africa's first registry and biorepository for Group A Streptococcus.
Dr David Watkins received a Bachelor of Science from Rhodes College and his medical degree from Duke University before moving to the University of Washington in Seattle, where he completed a residency in internal medicine. During this time, he also completed an MPH through the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation as well as a research fellowship in health economics with the Disease Control Priorities Network at the University of Washington. Dr Watkins currently serves as an academic physician based in the Department of Medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle. He also holds a joint appointment in the Department of Medicine at UCT and provides part-time consultation to the REACH project as a scientific advisor, spending about two months in Cape Town each year. His research seeks to inform the health system response to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Since rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is a model NCD for LMIC health systems, his projects include burden of disease analysis, mixed methods research to identify gaps in healthcare delivery, and economic evaluation of RHD interventions and policies.