Core Staff

Prof Vikash Sewram
Director of the ACI
Prof Vikash Sewram is the Founding Director of the African Cancer Institute (ACI). In 2009 he was nominated to the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and, in 2014, to the Permanent Scientific Committee in the Oncology Section of the World Organization for Specialized Studies on Diseases of the Esophagus (OESO). Prof Sewram serves on the boards of Ministerial Advisory Committee on the Prevention and Control of Cancer in South Africa and Pharmaceutical and Analytical Committee of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) and as Vice Chair of its Good Practices Compliance Committee. He has earned 10 national and nine international research awards, for his work as a strong advocate for cancer research through his continuous service at the African Cancer Institute (ACI). Prof Sewram obtained a PhD degree in Medicinal Chemistry and Physiology from the University of Natal in 1998, an MPH in Cancer Epidemiology (with distinction) from the School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, in 2002, and a PhD in Public Health: Cancer Epidemiology from the same university in 2007.
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Mrs Claudia Francis
Clinical Trials Coordinator
Mrs Claudia Francis joined the African Cancer Institute as a Clinical Trials Coordinator in 2017. She is responsible for preparing and coordinating the activities of the site, which is spread across a multitude of disciplines and to ensure trials are successfully started, kept on schedule, and undertaken with a high degree of quality, whilst continuously motivating team members to accomplish the project goals timeously. The Dutch philosopher, Desirius Erasmus (1466–1536) said: “prevention is better than cure” and Francis Bacon in his book 'Meditationes Sacrae and Human Philosophy' (1597), quoted: “Knowledge is power”. I am strongly convinced that the power in the process to help a person to prevent one of the non-communicable diseases namely, cancer, is the application of knowledge with compassion. Prior to joining the ACI, Claudia was a Study Coordinator at the Desmond Tutu TB Centre (DTTC), Stellenbosch University. In this role, she was responsible for conducting clinical trials with the research team under the guidance of the Principal Investigator. She has previously worked as a Study Nurse in areas like Khayelitsha, Ravensmead and Uitsig where she participated in recruitment, screening, enrolment and follow up visits of the participants and she also liaised with different community health centres to create awareness of the research projects. Outside of the office, Claudia enjoys the outdoor life including camping and travelling to explore our beautiful and interesting South Africa with her kids. She also loves to volunteer in community projects especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
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Dr Yuri Munsamy
Scientific Writer
Dr Yuri Munsamy joined the ACI team in 2021 as a Science Writer. She is passionate about making scientific research accessible and translating the exciting advances in cancer research. Prior to joining the ACI, Yuri gained project management experience in the clinical research industry. She earned her PhD from the University of the Free State (South Africa) in medical virology, researching human papillomavirus and the role it plays in causing cancers of the head and neck region. Outside of the office, Yuri is an avid reader and enjoys spending time outdoors.
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Dr Ilze Mentoor
Postgraduate Coordinator
Dr Ilze Mentoor joined the African Cancer Institute as an external scientific writer in October 2019. Since then, she has been appointed as the Postgraduate Coordinator in 2021. She is responsible for the management and coordination of the MPhil Cancer Science postgraduate program at the African Cancer Institute, Department of Global Health. Prior to joining the ACI, Dr Mentoor worked as a laboratory technician intern at the Institute of Plant Biotechnology (Stellenbosch University). Dr Mentoor is a multi-disciplinary researcher and academic and hard worker by choice when it comes to research, but thoroughly enjoys what she does. Her research interest includes the effect of lifestyle diseases/risk factors i.e., obesity on the efficacy of chemotherapy, particularly doxorubicin, with a specific focus on fatty acid and lipid metabolism in the breast tumour microenvironment. Outside of the office, Dr Mentoor enjoys traveling, biking, has a passion for doing nail art and visiting food markets.
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