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Dr Ursula Rohlwink


B.A Psychology and Neuroscience (2009)

MSc Neuroscience (2009)

PhD Neuroscience (2014)

Selected Academic Grants

Clinical Infectious Diseases Research Initiative -Wellcome Trust PhD Fellowship

Clinical Infectious Diseases Research Initiative -Wellcome Trust Post-doctoral Fellowship

South African National Research Foundation Competitive Support for Unrated Researchers Grant

USA National Neurotrauma Society TEAM Women in Neuroscience Visiting International Scholar Grant

Research focus Dr Rohlwink stives to answer clinically relevant questions through translational research by integrating clinical data from multimodality brain monitors with laboratory data from transcriptomics, proteomics, drug recovery and metabolic analyses.
Research Projects

Biomarkers of brain injury and inflammation in paediatric tuberculous meningitis

Differential gene expression profiling of the cerebrospinal fluid and blood of children with tuberculous meningitis

Transcriptomic and metabolomic analysis of brain injury mechanisms and energy metabolism in paediatric tuberculous meningitis

Neurocritical care in brain injury – traumatic and infectious

Cerebral microdialysis in traumatic brain injury and tuberculous meningitis

Pharmacokinetic profiling of rifampicin in site of disease samples in tuberculous meningitis

Pharmacokinetic profiling of analgosedatives in traumatic brain injury

Pathways of cell death in tuberculous meningitis

Long term consequences of paediatric tuberculous meningitis


Dr Ursula Rohlwink joined the UCT Division of Neurosurgery in 2009 when she began her Master’s in Neuroscience investigating the relationship between intracranial pressure and brain oxygentaion following paediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI). Through her continued research in neurotrauma in the Paediatric Neurosurgery Unit she has gained insight into neurocritical care and multimodality neuromonitoring. For her PhD in Neuroscience she expanded her research on brain injury to tuberculous meningitis (TBM), a severe form of disseminated tuberculosis. Her project examined biomarkers of brain injury and inflammation in association with neurodevelomental and clinical outcome. Key findings indicated ongoing brain injury in patients despite full TBM treatment, and compartmentalisation of inflammatory and injury responses within the central nervous system. She pursued this work further during her post-doctoral fellowship by characterising the immune response and mechanisms of brain injury using whole-genome RNA-sequencing in site of disease samples. In 2018 Dr Rohlwink was awarded one of the first fellowships in the UCT Neuroscience Institute. She continues her work on TBI and TBM as a member of the Division of Neurosurgery.


John’s Hopkins Medicine, USA

Cambridge University, UK

Francis Crick Institute, UK

Imperial College, UK

University of Stellenbosch, RSA