Professor Alta Schutte is a professor of physiology and the SARChI chair in the Early Detection and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in South Africa, which is hosted by the Hypertension in Africa Research Team (Hart) at North-West University. Schutte is also the director of the Medical Research Council’s Extramural Unit for Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease, and vice president of the International Society of Hypertension.
Schutte’s research focus is on gaining a better physiological understanding of the development of raised blood pressure, and ultimately the prevention of cardiovascular disease in black South Africans. She formally established Hart as founding director in 2008, where she led some of the first prospective multidisciplinary studies in this field in Africa. Her findings on long-term contributors to hypertension development are used in policymakers’ booklets for health ministries in Africa, as well as International Hypertension Practice Guidelines.
She has a NRF B2 rating and is the author of nearly 200 peer-reviewed publications, including papers in leading medical journals such as the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine. She is a frequent keynote speaker for international audiences, and has received several national and international scientific awards. These include the 2016/17 National Science and Technology Forum TW Kambule Award, the World Academy of Sciences Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Young Scientist Prize, the Next Einstein Forum Fellowship Award, the Royal Society of South Africa Meiring Naudé Medal, and the Physiology Society of Southern Africa Excellence in Physiology Award. Schutte has successfully mentored seven postdoctoral fellows, supervised 13 PhD, 24 master’s and 25 BSc honours students, and currently supervises nine PhD and four master’s students.
A medical research scientist, registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa, Schutte is a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa, and one of 20 founding members of the South African Young Academy of Sciences. She serves on the editorial board of established journals including the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, Journal of Human Hypertension, Current Hypertension Reports and Clinical Science.