Dr Nastassja Koen (MBChB, PhD) is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at the University of Cape Town, South Africa (UCT) and Head of the Division of Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry. She also co-heads the Psychiatric Genetics Group in the Brain-Behaviour Unit in UCT’s Neuroscience Institute, and serves as incumbent Secretary of the African College of Neuropsychopharmacology.
Nastassja completed her medical and doctoral degrees at UCT, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in biological psychiatry. Her research interests include the genomic, epigenomic and transcriptomic neurobiology, and trans-generational associations, of trauma-related disorders – particularly in the South African and African contexts. In recognition of her work to date, she has received the South African Medical Association Young Leaders Doctors’ Award (Research); the Biological Psychiatry Special Interest Group Research Career Award; and the Harry Crossley Postdoctoral Research Award. She has also appeared on the Mail and Guardian’s list of 200 Young South Africans.
To have this pan-African opportunity has been extremely beneficial and valuable. It’s manifested not only in our research but also in our building of really strong interpersonal connections. I know these partnerships, and definitely these friendships, will persist beyond GINGER.