Vinet Coetzee

Senior Lecturer, University of Pretoria

Research is focused on developing novel diagnostic tools to identify a variety of inborn conditions, nutritional deficiencies and high impact diseases (such as malaria) especially in African populations. Africa has an immense burden of disease, but limited funds, infrastructure and trained personnel. Developing diagnostic tools that will provide rapid, affordable and non-invasive detection of a variety of conditions, thereby improving diagnosis, wide scale screening and management of disease. 2018, filed a provisional patent for a rapid, affordable and non-invasive method to screen for malaria using sensitive skin colour measurements in the palm of the hand coupled with artificial intelligence to predict whether someone has malaria. This device can facilitate wide-scale screening in rural areas. Other work focuses on identifying inborn conditions including Down syndrome using an affordable 3D camera at one tenth of the price of commercial systems. The 3D camera is currently being used to photograph infants with-and-without Down syndrome and to train computer models to predict Down syndrome. The long-term goal is to develop a 3D facial screening tool and 2D mobile app that can assign the probability of Down syndrome, and other inborn conditions, from facial images alone.