Profile and Overview

The Hatter Institute for Cardiovascular Research in Africa (HICRA), within the Department of Medicine ( at the University of Cape Town is part of the Medical Research Council’s Inter-University Cape Heart Group, which comprises 3 groups from the University of Cape Town and 2 from the University of Stellenbosch. Groups at the University of Cape Town include the HICRA (directed by Professor Karen Sliwa), the Cardiovascular Research Unit (Prof Peter Zilla) and the Lipid Laboratory (Prof Dave Marais) – all located within the Cape Heart Centre, Chris Barnard Building, Medical School.

We are linked with the Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town (

The vision of HICRA is to facilitate national and international collaborations in its fields of expertise.

Aims and Objectives

  • To study ways of protecting the heart against insults such as lack of blood flow (ischaemia) (Cardiac Protection Group);
  • To study the genetic basis of cardiomyopathy and other forms of heart disease (Cardiovascular Genetics Group);
  •  To investigate cardiac disease interlinked with pregnancy (Cardiac and Maternity Disease projects);
  • To undertake African population studies, with a focus on translational research (Heart of Africa projects).
  • To develop awareness projects linked to health education in South Africa and Africa (,
  • In order to achieve research excellence, we strive to produce work that is published in high impact factor journals and that relevant to the society in which we live.
  • A major focus is on translational research and serving as a centre of training for post-graduate students from South Africa and other African countries.