Helen is a Post-Doctoral Research Scholar at the University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. She was conferred her PhD in April 2017 and to date, seven peer-reviewed papers have been published from her PhD study, ‘An investigation into the renewed need for care and prevention of congenital disorders in South Africa.’ Her post-doctoral research focuses on developing modelled estimates for congenital disorders (CDs) in South Africa in the absence of empiric data and investigating the role and impact of terminology used in community genetics.
Helen is the acting Chair of Genetic Alliance South Africa (GA-SA), a non-profit, membership organisation uniting patient support groups, healthcare professionals and other stakeholders relevant to the care and prevention of CDs. She also provides support for families in South Africa affected by Trisomy 18 (Edwards Syndrome) after the loss of her first child to this disorder in 2004. Prior to her involvement in community genetics, Helen worked in science communication for over 20 years including five years in international agricultural development based in Rome, Italy. She completed her MSc in Plant Genetic Resources conservation and use at the University of Birmingham and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK.