Prof. Monika Esser

POSITION TITLE: Emeritus Associate Professor Stellenbosch University
Paediatric Rheumatologist

I am a certified Paediatric Rheumatologist and honorary consultant in the paediatric clinical immunology and rheumatology services, Tygerberg Hospital and served as Head of the NHLS Immunology laboratory Unit at Tygerberg Academic Hospital from 2005-2019. As founder member, past chairperson and Board member since inception of the African Society for Immunodeficiency Diseases (ASID), as also past Board member of SAIS and the NHLS Immunology Expert Committee I have gained many years of experience in immunodeficiency diseases and diagnostic. I initiated the service for Primary/genetic Immune deficits (PID/IEI) in Tygerberg Hospital in 1991 and the first Paediatric and Adolescent Rheumatology Service at the same hospital. I convened the first accredited Paediatric Rheumatology sub specialist program at Stellenbosch University, and the first accredited Internship in Immunology for biologic scientists. My research activities and publications range from prevention of neonatal sepsis, descriptions of immune deficits/dysregulations, immune responses in HIV exposure and molecular investigation and data collection of Primary Immune Deficits in South Africa for the National Immune Deficiency Registry, which I initiated in 2009. Experience in patient advocacy and translational application of research findings was gained by serving on the International Patient Organization for Primary Immunodeficiency Medical Advisory Board (IPOPI) as also PiNSA, the South Patient Support Group and with continued involvement in the Working Group for Immunodeficiency Diseases of ALLSA, the South African Allergy and Clinical Immunology Society. I intend to continue working toward increased awareness and access of diagnostic and treatment for patients with neglected immunological diseases.