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Karine Scheuermaier

Associate Professor in Physiology, Chair of Science Committee, South African Society for Sleep and Health, Member of the World Sleep Society, University of the Witwatersrand

I am an associate professor at the School of Physiology at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. I trained as a clinical haematologist in Paris, France and subsequently did a postdoctoral fellowship in sleep and circadian rhythms at Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA. I started my academic career at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) and built a research focus on sleep and circadian physiology and how modifications in sleep and circadian rhythms are associated with non-communicable diseases, in particular immunological, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
I have combined the use of precise laboratory experiments to investigate sleep and circadian rhythms and population epidemiological studies to investigate the association between sleep disturbances and HIV, and how this may modulate cardiometabolic risk.
I have received funding from the NIH, the South African Medical Research Council, the South African National Research Foundation and recently from the Wellcome Trust to sustain those areas of expertise.
I have joined the Ndlovu Research Consortium from University Medical Centre Utrecht (UMCU) as a scientific coordinator and assistant professor of global health to better investigate in longitudinal studies the relationship between sleep disturbances, chronic immune activation and cardiometabolic diseases (ongoing).
I am also part of a stimulating collaboration with Prof von Schantz (Northumbria University) and Prof Gomez-Olive (Wits School of Public Health) investigating sleep and circadian rhythms in a large random sample of older rural South African adults. In another exciting collaboration with Prof Venter and Dr Chandiwana at Ezintsha (Wits clinical trials unit), we are currently investigating the contribution of obstructive sleep apnoea to chronic immune activation and cardiometabolic risk in a large cohort of treated HIV positive participants (the ADVANCE study, NEJM, 2019). Sleep issues are also a hallmark of long Covid. Together with the Ezintsha team, we are investigating the effects of long Covid on sleep after asymptomatic, mild and severe Covid 19 infection, and their association with chronic inflammation and mental health. Finally, we have partnered in a South African nation-wide collaboration during the Covid lockdown, with Drs Rae and Lipinska at University of Cape Town and Drs Davy and Wells at Rhodes University, which has set the ground for the founding of the South African Society for Sleep and Health (SASSH). As a group we have been the successful recipients of a large Wellcome Trust 5-year grant (2023-2027) to investigate the association between sleep, circadian rhythms and mental health in adolescents in South Africa and in the United Kingdom.
I have supervised 15 MSc students and 5 PhD students and served as an external examiner to several academic programmes and postgraduate theses. My publication list can be found here: . More CV details can be found on ORCID:


  • –present
    Associate Professor in Physiology, University of the Witwatersrand


  • 2005 
    University of Paris, Medical Doctor, Clinical Heamatology Specialty


C2 rating by South Africa's National Research Foundation (NRF)