A new multi-disciplinary research institute at UP will help patients and athletes keep active

Malaria is a complex disease that has devastated Africa and parts of South Africa. Researchers at the University of Pretoria Institute for Sustainable Malaria Control are combining research disciplines to understand and control malaria.

Sports medicine and lifestyle researchers at UP will soon find themselves under one, brand new roof - COO of the UP Institute for Sports, Exercise Medicine and Lifestyle Research (ISEMLR), Dr Jill Borresen, and its Director, Prof Martin Schwellnus, are renovating and relationship-building in preparation.

Dr Borresen and Prof Schwellnus have been hard at work reaching out to anybody and everybody at the University of Pretoria (UP) that could potentially be involved with sports and lifestyle research. This includes UP's Faculty of Health Sciences’ clinical departments as well as biokineticists and biomechanists at UP. They hope to incorporate as many of these groups as possible into the ISEMLR over time.

Where will all these groups be housed? The ISEMLR is currently refurbishing the HPC building (on UP’s LC de Villiers Sports Campus) to accommodate the ISEMLR headquarters, laboratories, and a clinical space for practitioners.

Once all the necessary relationships are successfully forged, this trans-disciplinary research and service delivery space will bring together researchers and health practitioners to ensure that research is based on real data and that research findings are rapidly translated into practice.

The Institute will house sports physicians, biomechanists, biokineticists, physiotherapists, and a wide range of other practitioners that can provide medical care to the public. These practitioners will help provide an income for the Institution as well as collect real data on every patient that comes to the Institute.

“The vision is to have a patient management system but also a data collection system. Day-to-day clinical practice then feeds data into several research projects,” says Dr Borresen, COO of the Institute. Research at the institute will use real world data and the practitioners will be able to use that research to help their patients; in a sort of positive feedback loop.

Dr Borresen and Prof Schwellnus hope to have the ISEMLR host postgraduate research students from various departments in the University, who will also be able to work closely with patients or practitioners.

Prof Schwellnus hopes to collaborate with a wide range of research groups, such as the newly formed Big Data Science Institute, the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology (EBIT), and geneticists at the University of Pretoria

The ISEMLR will incorporate sports physicians and other medical practitioners from various UP departments.