Research Fellows Directory
Professor Marlien Pieters
University of Surrey
My research interest focuses on the haemostatic profile of Africans; how the haemostatic profile differs from individuals of European descent and how genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors influence the haemostatic processes. Despite the recent increase in non-communicable diseases such as CVD in Africans, very little is known regarding the cause, risk factor profile and clinical presentations thereof in individuals of African descent. Evidence is emerging that while similar risk factors are associated with CVD in individuals from African compared to European descent, the respective roles/contribution and cut-off levels for increased risk of these risk factors differ between ethnicities. We are specifically interested in the role of haemostasis as CVD risk factors. Haemostasis plays an integral part in atherosclerosis (plaque formation) which forms the basis of CVD. Levels of haemostatic risk factors have been shown to differ between ethnicities, with Africans, for example, having significantly higher fibrinogen concentration than individuals from European descent. Also, the genetic make-up of the haemostatic factors differs dramatically with different single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) observed in individuals from African, compared to individuals from European descent.
Understanding the difference in CVD aetiology amongst the different population groups in South Africa, is the first step in developing evidence based targets for CVD prevention which is also ethnic specific / sensitive. Secondly, understanding the interactions between lifestyle factors, genetics and haemostasis, will aid in the identification of modifiable practices that should result in decreased prevalence and severity of CVD and increased quality of life.