Dr. Liezl du Plessis earned her medical degree in 2003 from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. She completed her pediatric residency at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein and obtained her Master of Medicine degree in pediatrics in 2012.
She travelled to Canada in 2014 for a clinical fellowship in pediatric hematology, oncology and bone marrow transplantation at BC Children’s Hospital, Vancouver. After returning to her home country of South Africa in 2018, she initiated pediatric hematology and oncology services in the Northern Cape province.
Dr. Du Plessis currently serves as the first consultant pediatric oncologist for the Northern Cape, of South Africa. She works at a referral hospital affiliated with the University of the Free State.
As a medical student Dr. Du Plessis was drawn to human physiology. She wanted to understand what was happening in the body and why. Her fascination grew to include how drugs effected physiological processes and ultimately how the genetic make-up of patients effects their response to drugs, including their risk of toxicity. She realised the same factors influenced patients’ response to chemotherapy. Improving chemotherapy safety and effectiveness required a deeper understanding of genetics and the disease process. Her research focus emerged.
“No man is an island and certainly no pediatric oncologist can function in isolation,” she says. “Global child health speaks to my passion to serve as a link in the chain that delivers health care to all children with rare diseases. I am excited to join the Global Child Health program and create friendships and connections with like-minded individuals across borders and continents. I hope to connect with leaders in pharmacogenomics to improve the lives of children with cancer in sub-Saharan Africa.”
Hometown: Kimberley, Northern Cape, South Africa.
MMed in Pediatrics: University of the Free State, RSA, 2012
Medical Degree: University of the Pretoria, RSA, 2003