Nicki Tiffin

Nicki Tiffin was elected as an AAS Fellow in 2019. As a fellow, Nicki Tiffin contributes to the development of the Academy’s strategic direction through participation in AAS activities and governance structures. . This gears the Academys vision of transforming african lives through science.

Year elected
Medical & Health Sciences

Nicki started her research career in molecular genetics the University of Cape Town, followed by a Ph D in Molecular Oncology at the University of London and a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular endocrinology research at UCSF. She conducted laboratory-based research into molecular genetics underpinning paediatric cancers of muscle (Rhabdomyosarcoma) and kidney (Wilm’s Tumour).  She then transitioned into the field of medical genomics and bioinformatics, and until 2015 ran a research group at the South African National Bioinformatics Institute at the University of the Western Cape, which focused on computational approaches to disease gene identification, and the genetic basis of disease in African populations. During this time her research group developed computational approaches to prioritising good candidate aetiological genes from the output of genome-wide analyses; as well as undertaking exome sequencing projects to identify rare aetiological variants in families with inherited diseases. During this time Nicki also addressed ethical issues relating to genome studies undertaken in African populations. She has completed a Masters in Public Health, specialising in epidemiology, and joined CIDER at the School of Public Health and Family Medicine working on secondment to the Western Cape Government Health Department with Andrew Boulle’s group to assist with developing the Provincial Health Data Centre. This has involved developing infrastructure, processes and governance structures for integrating clinical informatics and medical records into a health information exchange. In 2018, Nicki returned to full-time research on the Data Integration Platform of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Africa (CIDRI-Africa) and build a new research group within the Department of Integrative Biomedical Sciences at the University of Cape Town, focusing on the development of a cohort of African participants with genomic data linked to electronic health data, to address the aetiology of diseases in African populations.