Professor Soraya Seedat is a Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Executive Head of the Department of Psychiatry at Stellenbosch.
She is a prominent expert on post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety disorders, and has more than 20 years of clinical, epidemiological and basic neuroscience research experience as a psychiatrist, including as a prestigious South African Research Chair. With a focus on the mental health of children and adolescents, she has worked with the some of the most vulnerable population groups in South Africa, while leading collaborative efforts to build research capacities across lower and middle-income countries in South-East Asia and Latin America.
Hosted by Professor Sarah Halligan in the Department of Psychology, her appointment lends further support to Bath's strong partnerships in South Africa and our global research networks in the field of mental health, in particular in Child and Adolescent Mental Health.
Professor Seedat said:
I am really grateful to the University for my appointment as Global Chair, which will allow me to further develop my relationship with Professor Sarah Halligan and her team. We have overlapping research interests in the longitudinal trajectories of youth from high adversity environments and in identifying early psychobiological signatures of persistent PTSD that may be targets for early intervention. I am very excited about engaging with staff and students and generating new research ideas and collaborations at Bath and across the G4 alliance.
Her Global Chair host, Professor Sarah Halligan, commented:
I’m absolutely thrilled that we will be welcoming Professor Soraya Seedat as a Global Chair. She is an international leader in child and adolescent mental health, with expertise ranging from psychiatric genomics to intervention-based research. Her appointment will be a major opportunity to consolidate our existing links and to develop a wider range of collaborations in the global mental health field.
Head of the Department of Psychology, Professor Gregory Maio, added:
Professor Seedat is an exceptional international academic who will help consolidate and further develop networks that build on our particular strengths in studying the psychological impacts of childhood adversity. I see important possibilities for collaborative international research development, particularly in light of the prominence of mental health in UKRI funding priorities.
Activities at Bath
Professor Seedat was appointed a Women Global Chair in 2019/2020.
- Due to Covid travel restrictions, our recent Global Chairs have engaged with the University primarily through a number of virtual events and network-building activities. Their appointments will continue into the academic year 2021-22 to enable these links to expand further.
Since her appointment, Professor Seedat visited Bath in March 2020 and has:
held meetings with Bath staff and other UK experts in child trauma and PTSD to explore new opportunities for collaborative research.
provided expert teaching and mentoring to our undergraduate psychology students.
delivered a public lecture on Trauma and Alcohol Abuse: Two Intersecting Epidemics (4 March 2020).
- The lecture examined the prevalence of pre-natal alcohol exposure and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), which, linked with domestic violence and lifetime experiences of violent trauma, constitute major public health concerns in South Africa. Both can have pervasive impacts on the behavioural, cognitive, and psychosocial development of affected children, with potentially devastating outcomes. With several communities in South Africa having the highest rates of FASD in the world, the talk highlighted approaches to address this problem in the South African context.