Soraya Bardien

Soraya Bardien is a professor of human genetics at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, South Africa. She did all her training at the University of Cape Town. During her studies, she undertook research training visits to Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and the Institute of Ophthalmology in London.

She has done research on the genetic basis of several disorders over the years including retinitis pigmentosa, essential hypertension and diabetes. Her current research is focussed on investigating the genetic causes of Parkinson’s disease (PD) in the diverse South African population. Her work has shown that South African individuals with PD typically do not have pathogenic variants in the known PD genes and therefore potentially harbour variants in novel PD genes.

Soraya served as the Chair of the Southern African Society for Human Genetics (2017-2019), and she currently serves on several international committees including the African Society of Human Genetics, GP2 Underrepresented Populations Working Group, Steering Committee of Genetic Epidemiology of Parkinson’s Disease Consortium, and the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society’s Task Force on Recommendations for Clinical Genetic Testing in Parkinson’s Disease. She also serves on the Editorial Boards of Frontiers in Neurology, Parkinson’s disease and Related Disorders and the Journal of Movement Disorders.

Soraya has won several awards, and was the second runner up for the Department of Science and Technology’s South African Women in Science Award (2018) and a finalist for the National Science and Technology Forum-South32 Lifetime Award (2021). To date, she has co-authored 97 research publications, and three book chapters.

When she’s not working, Soraya likes to spend time working in her garden, watching crime documentaries or hiking in the beautiful mountains in South Africa.