Prof. Wonkam is a specialist medical geneticist, in the Division of Human Genetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa. After a MD training from the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaoundé I (Cameroon), he completed a thesis in Cell Biology in the department of Morphology, University of Geneva (Switzerland) and a PhD in Human Genetics (University of Cape Town, South Africa).
Other salient aspects of Prof Wonkam's background include his education as a medical geneticist at a highly reputable genetics department in Geneva (Switzerland). He subsequently practices medical genetics in both European and African contexts. His research interests are reflected in more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, which are in molecular, clinical, educational and ethical aspects of medical and human genetics. His research focuses on: 1) Psycho-social Burden and Genomics modifiers of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD); 2) Genetics of hearing loss, and 3) Ethical and educational Issues in human genetics in Africa. His is member of the steering committee of H3Africa consortium, leading specifically the NIH/NHGRI funded SCD project.
He has recently been granted from NIH/NHLBI 3.7m USD, to establish a Sickle Africa Data Coordinating Centre (SADaCC), at the University of Cape Town that will work collaboratively with a sister consortium (Sickle Pan African Network, SPARCo) to develop various studies in Tanzania, Nigeria and Ghana. He was awarded the 2003 Denber-Pinard Prize for the best thesis from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, and won the very competitive Clinical Genetics Society International Award for 2014, from the British Society of Genetic Medicine.
Prof Wonkam is secretary of the African Society of Human Genetics, Board member of the International Federation of Human Genetics Societies, council member of Human Genome Organization, steering committee's member of the Global Genetic Medicine Collaborative (G2MC).