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Chatsworth celebrates appointment of former resident as Head of Pathology at UCT

Professor Komala Pillay was recently appointed as the head of the Department of Pathology at the University of Cape Town. Picture: Supplied

Professor Komala Pillay was recently appointed as the head of the Department of Pathology at the University of Cape Town. Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 5, 2022

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Durban — The Chatsworth community is proud of one of their own, Professor Komala Pillay, who has started a new position as the head of the Department of Pathology at the University of Cape Town.

Faculty of Health Sciences dean Associate Professor Lionel Green-Thompson, said he was looking forward to working alongside Pillay and the contribution she will make to the leadership of the faculty.

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Pillay’s appointment was announced last week and she started in her new position on July 1, 2022.

Green-Thompson said Pillay brings a wealth of institutional knowledge and experience to this role.

“I am deeply grateful to Professor Raj Ramesar for his leadership of this department and significant contribution over the last five years. I wish him well in his future endeavours,” Green-Thompson said.

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Commenting on her appointment, Pillay said: “I love Chatsworth and I will always treasure my upbringing and core values that I gained from my family, teachers at Crestview Primary and Arena Park Secondary schools, friends and the community as a whole.”

“I did not expect such recognition and it makes me feel incredibly privileged and grateful to be able to contribute to healthcare in South Africa.”

Pillay has been the Wernher and Beit chair and head of the Division of Anatomical Pathology at the UCT and National Health Laboratory Services, Groote Schuur Hospital and Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital since January 1, 2020.

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Professor Pillay’s interest in pathology led to her undertaking a research project as a fourth-year medical student titled, A study of Rhabdomyosarcomas, at the King Edward VIII Hospital.

Pillay also obtained a full MESAB scholarship for the period 1994-1997 and chose an elective at Embhuleni Provincial Hospital in Elukwatini, Mpumalanga as a third-year medical student in December 1994.

Following her MBChB graduation at the University of Natal in 1997, she completed her internship at Somerset Hospital and community service at Amajuba Memorial Hospital in Volksrust, Mpumalanga, and Harrismith District Hospital, Free State.

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Pillay started her specialist training in Anatomical Pathology at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine and transferred to UCT, where she has remained since 2002. She qualified as a pathologist in 2004 and has specialist qualifications in South Africa and the United Kingdom.

She was a consultant pathologist at UCT/NHLS since 2005 and practised as the only pathologist at RCWMCH from 2007-2019 also contributing significantly to research (more than 100 publications) and teaching (undergraduate and postgraduate).

A proud community had this to say about Pillay’s appointment:

Malcolm Shunmugam said: “This brilliant lady is straight out of Chatsworth. Congratulations to her. It’s a pity she had to take her talent to Cape Town.”

Brian Nobin said: “Is this the young lady I had the privilege and honour to teach at Arena Park Secondary in the 1990s? I am very, very proud of her. Congratulations.”

Davendra Naidoo congratulated Pillay and said she deserved it.

Vasindhe Iyer said: “Congratulations. So proud of you.”

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