Dr. Vinet Coetzee

Senior Lecturer

vinet.coetzee [at] up.ac.za

Tel: 012 420 4085



PhD (University of St Andrews, UK)

MSc – University of Pretoria, 2007

BSc (Hons) – University of Pretoria, 2003

BSc (Genetics) – University of Pretoria, 2002



Senior Lecturer – January 2017 to present

Lecturer – March 2015 to December 2016

Research Fellow – March 2013 to February 2015

NRF Scarce Skills Postdoctoral Fellow – March 2011-February 2013




Genetic Variation and Evolution (GTS 261)

Introductory Statistics (BSc Honours)


Molecular Genetics (GTS 251)


Research focus:

Dr Coetzee is the principal investigator of the Facial Morphology Research group and the African Longitudinal Facial Appearance and Health (ALFAH) study. Her work focuses on identifying affordable, non-invasive measures of health. More specifically, she studies how facial structure and colour give us an indication of direct measures of health, such as Body Mass Index (BMI), diet, respiratory infections, cardiovascular health, immunity and genetic variation of immune associated genes. She collaborates with various other researchers both nationally and internationally. 

Dr Coetzee is also a member of the Micronutrient Research Programme (MNRP) that falls under the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Well-being (IFNuW). Her work focuses on finding non-invasive measures to identify micronutrient deficiencies, especially in Africa.

Dr Coetzee is a member of the Royal Society of South Africa and was recently selected as a prestigious Next Einsten Forum Fellow. She achieved an Y1 rating from the South African National Research Foundation (NRF) in 2014.


Postgraduate students



23 publications (H index = 15)


Stephen, I.D., Hiew, V., Coetzee, V., Tiddeman, B. & Perrett, D. (2017) Facial shape analysis identifies valid cues to aspects of physiological health in Caucasian, Asian and African populations. Frontiers in Psychology, 8:1883, doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01883. (Open access paper)


Phalane, K.G., Tribe, C., Steel, H.C., Cholo, M.C., & Coetzee, V. (2017) Facial appearance reveals immunity in African men. Scientific Reports, s41598-017-08015-9. (Open access paper)


Coetzee, V., Greeff, J. M. Stephen, I. D. & Perrett, D. I. (2014) Cross-cultural agreement in facial attractiveness preferences: the role of ethnicity and gender. PLoS ONE, 9 (7): e99629. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0099629 (Open access paper)


Coetzee, V., & Perrett, D. I. (2014) The effect of beta-carotene supplementation on African skin. Journal of Biomedical Optics, 19 (2), 025004, doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.19.2.025004 (Link)


Re, D. E., Hunter, D. W., Coetzee, V., Xiao, D., DeBruine, L. M., Jones, B. C., & Perrett, D. I. (2013) Looking like a leader - Facial shape predicts perceived height and leadership ability. PLoS ONE, 8(12): e80957. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080957 (Open access paper)


Re, D. E, Holzleitner, I. J., Coetzee, V., Tiddeman, B. P., Xiao, D-K., & Perrett, D.I. (2013) Wie viel gewicht liegt im gesicht? Wahrnehmungsschwellen für körpergewichtsassoziierte veränderungen der dreidimensionalen gesichtsform [How much weight lies in the face? Perceptual thresholds for three-dimensional face shape changes associated with changes in body weight]. Journal für Ästhetische Chirurgie, 6, 141-146 (Link)


Rantala, M. J., Coetzee, V., Moore, F. R., Skrinda, I., Kecko, S., Krama, T., Kivleniece, I., & Krams, I. (2013) Facial attractiveness is related to women’s cortisol and body fat, but not with immune responsiveness. Biology Letters, 9, 20130255 (Link)


Moore, F. R., Coetzee, V., Contreras Garduño, J., Debruine, L. M., Kleisner, K., Krams, I., Marcinkowska, U., Nord, A., Perrett, D. I., Rantala, M., Schaum, N. & Suzuki, T. N. (2013) Cross-cultural variation in women’s preferences for cues to sex- and stress-hormones in the male face. Biology Letters, 9, 20130050 (Link)


Rantala, M. J., Coetzee, V., Moore, F. R., Skrinda, I., Kecko, S., Krama, T., Kivleniece, I. & Krams, I. (2013) Adiposity, compared to masculinity, serves as a more valid cue to immunocompetence in human mate choice. Proceedings of the Royal Society, Biological Sciences, 280, 1471-2954 (Link)


Coetzee, V., Faerber, S. J., Greeff, J. M., Lefevre, C. E., Re, D. E., & Perrett, D. I. (2012) African perceptions of female attractiveness. PLoS ONE, 7(10): e48116. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048116 (Open access paper)


Danel, D. P., Fedurek, P., Coetzee, V., Stephen, I. D., Nowak, N., Stirrat, M., Perrett, D. I. & Saxton, T. K. (2012) A cross-cultural comparison of population-specific face shape preferences (Homo sapiens). Ethology, 118, 1-9 (Link)


Lefevre, C. E., Lewis, G. J., Bates, T. C., Dzhelyova, M., Coetzee, V., Deary, I. J. & Perrett, D. I. (2012) No evidence for sexual dimorphism of facial width-to-height ratio in four large adult samples. Evolution and Human Behavior, 33, 623-628 (Link)


Stephen, I. D., Scott, I. M. L., Coetzee, V., Pound, N., Perrett, D. I. & Penton-Voak, I. S. (2012) Cross-cultural effects of color, but not morphological masculinity, on perceived attractiveness of men's faces. Evolution and Human Behavior, 33, 260–272 (Link)


Whitehead, R. D., Coetzee, V., Ozakinci, G. & Perrett, D. I. (2012) Cross-cultural effects of fruit and vegetable consumption on skin color. American Journal of Public Health, 102, 212–213 (Link)


Re, D.E., Coetzee, V., Xiao, D.K., Buls, D., Tiddeman, B.P., Boothroyd, L.G. & Perrett, D.I. (2011) Viewing heavy bodies enhances preferences for facial adiposity. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 9, 295–308 (Link)


Coetzee, V., Re, D. E., Perrett, D. I., Tiddeman, B. P. & Xiao, D. (2011) Judging the health and attractiveness of female faces: Is the most attractive level of facial adiposity also considered the healthiest? Body Image, 8, 190–193 (Link)


Stephen, I. D., Coetzee, V., & Perrett, D. I. (2011) Carotenoid and melanin pigment coloration affect perceived human health. Evolution and Human Behavior, 32, 216–227 (Link)


Coetzee, V. & Perrett, D. I. (2011) African and Caucasian body ideals in South Africa and the United States. Eating Behaviors, 12, 72–74 (Link)


Coetzee, V., Chen, J., Perrett, D. I. & Stephen, I. D. (2010) Deciphering faces: quantifiable visual cues to weight. Perception, 39, 51–61 (Link)


Coetzee, V., Greeff, J. M., Barrett, L. & Henzi, S. P. (2009) Facial based ethnic recognition: Insights from two closely related but ethnically distinct groups. South African Journal of Science, 105, 464–466 (Link)


Coetzee, V., Perrett, D. I. & Stephen, I. D. (2009) Facial adiposity: a cue to health? Perception, 38, 1700–1711 (Link)


Stephen, I. D., Coetzee, V. Law Smith, M. & Perrett, D. I. (2009) Skin blood perfusion and oxygenation colour affect perceived human health. PLoS ONE, 4(4), e5083. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005083 (Open access paper)


Coetzee, V., Barrett, L., Greeff, J. M., Henzi, S. P., Perrett, D. I. & Wadee, A. A. (2007) Common HLA alleles associated with health, but not with facial attractiveness. PloS ONE, 2(7), e640. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0000640 (Open access paper)


Popular articles and other outputs

TV and Radio interviews:

  • Radio New Zealand (New Zealand). 20 July 2016.
  • VOWFM (SA) The science inside. 30 May 2016.
  • GrootFM (SA). 18 January 2016.
  • PowerFM (SA). 11 January 2016.
  • Radio 702 Believe it or not (SA). 23 September 2012.
  • SAFm Science Matters (SA). 21 April 2011.
  • Scottish TV News at 6 (UK). 28 October 2009.
  • Kingdom FM News (UK). 27 October 2009.
  • BBC Radio Scotland (UK). 27 October 2009.
  • Tay FM (UK). 27 October 2009.
  • Kingdom FM (UK). 19 March 2009.


Selected newspaper and online articles:

Participation in public events:

  • Eskom Expo for Young Scientists. Pretoria, 2012 – 2017.
  • UNIZUL Science Centre: How I became a scientist. Richards Bay, 2 August 2012.
  • Science Cafe: The Science of beauty. Richards Bay, 1 August 2012.
  • Science Cafe: The Science of beauty. Pretoria, 4 August 2011.
  • Scifest Africa: The secrets of facial beauty. Grahamstown. 4-6 May 2011.
  • Scifest Africa: Faces of culture. Grahamstown. 4-6 May 2011.
  • Newcastle Science Festival. Newcastle, UK. 18 March 2010.
  • Edinburgh Science Festival. Edinburgh, UK. 24 March-5 April 2008.
  • National Science Week. St. Andrews, UK. 8 March 2008



- Author Vinet Coetzee
Last edited by Vinet Coetzee

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