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Dr Nelleke G. Langerak


PhD Biomedical Engineering (2009)

Bsc Physiotherapy (2004)

MSc Human Movement Sciences (2001)

Research Projects

Interdisciplinary studies: gait analyses - physical, functional and fitness assessments - X-ray, MRI and DXA imaging – psychosocial, neurocognitive and life-style questionnaires.


Principal investigator on following projects:

  • Long-term follow-up after Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) in children with Cerebral Palsy (CP)
  • Long-term follow-up after multiple orthopaedic interventions in children with CP
  • Follow-up of children with HIV encephalopathy
  • Transition from childhood into adulthood with CP

Dr Nelleke G. Langerak is a Human Movement Scientist (HMS) working at the Division of Neurosurgery, University of Cape Town, South Africa. Besides her Master’s degree in Biomedical Health Sciences (HMS, 2001), she also has a Bachelor’s degree in Physiotherapy (2004, Cum Laude) and a PhD degree in Biomedical Engineering (2009, Tripe A: Cum Laude). Her first two degrees were obtained in the Netherlands, while she completed her PhD at UCT in South Africa (SA). After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Faculty of Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University (SU) in SA, she moved back to UCT where she is currently based.

Her expertise lies in interdisciplinary research with a special interest in the lives of people with childhood-onset neuromuscular disabilities. She enjoys working with a holistic approach resulting in studies with a wide variety of outcome measures including gait analysis, physical examinations, functional tests, brain and spine imaging, neurocognitive studies, and quality of life, activity and participation assessments.

Dr Langerak’s primary research is in the field of long-term follow-up studies after Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR), a neurosurgical procedure, in children with spastic diplegic Cerebral Palsy (CP). In line with this, she also focuses on long-term outcomes of orthopaedic interventions in this population and transition problems. Another area of interest is the status of children with HIV encephalopathy and spastic diplegia, which formed the basis of a prestigious Collaborative Initiative for Paediatric HIV Education and Research (CIPHER) award she received from the International AIDS Society. In addition, Dr Langerak received a five-year Research Career Advancement Fellowship funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF) South Africa, what she is currently holding at UCT.