Following a BSc degree in Chemistry & Biochemistry, during which time he worked as a research assistant to Professor Christiaan Barnard (who performed the first heart transplant), he obtained in 1983 his medical degree from UCT with distinction.
He undertook his post-graduate training in London before being appointed Clinical Lecturer and Surgical Tutor in the Nuffield Department of Surgery at the University of Oxford in 1989. Here he completed his doctoral thesis after a period of clinical and laboratory research. After six years specialising in gastro-intestinal, colorectal and laparoscopic surgery in the UK and Australia, he returned to Cape Town at the end of 1996 to join the country’s largest private practice. In 2021 he celebrates 23 years as a Consultant and Senior Lecturer at Groote Schuur Hospital and the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Cape Town (UCT), with a particular responsibility for the operative training of the Senior Colorectal Fellows and the introduction of new Colorectal techniques. In 2011 he was appointed to an Adjunct Associate Professorship by UCT, the first time a private surgeon has been accorded this status by the University.
After 15 years on the Editorial Board of the British Journal of Surgery, the only South African private surgeon to be accorded this privilege, he became in 2017 the first South African to be invited onto the Management Council of this journal, the 2nd most cited surgical journal in the world. He recently became the first South African appointed to the Editorial Board of the highly cited European journal, Colorectal Disease. He is a reviewer for several other journals including the USA Annals of Surgery, which has the highest citation index of any surgical journal worldwide. He has recently had three papers published in BJS. Bob was awarded the 2003 prize for the “Best clinical presentation” at SAGES for his randomized trial of anti-reflux surgery. In the same year, this work was awarded the highest mark at the annual AUGIS meeting in UK and was selected for a plenary session at the DDW meeting in New Orleans, 2004.
He has published more than 45 peer-reviewed original articles, as well as contributing several book chapters and reviews, and spoken at over 35 international conferences. He is actively involved with undergraduate and postgraduate teaching at UCT and is a regular contributor at local and national surgical conferences. In addition to academia and practice, he has spent more than 15 years contributing to South African surgery and its politics. Over this time he has been President of the South African Society of Endoscopic Surgeons (SASES) and was the Society’s eponymous lecturer in 2005. He has also been Chair of the Federation of South African Surgeons (FoSAS), a unifying organisation for General Surgery. In 2013 he was elected President of The Association of Surgeons of South Africa (ASSA), the oldest and most academic surgical association in the country. He is a founder member of the International Colorectal Forum, an annual academic conference of the highest quality in Switzerland, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2019.
Bob is a qualified IAATO Antarctica guide and doctor, and has made two voyages to the Southern continent on the 105-year old tall ship, Bark Europa. His interests include birding, extreme hiking, skiing, history and the kitchen. He recently represented Western Province at the National Grand Master’s hockey tournament. He is married to Carolyn, a Pathcare histo-pathologist, and they have two sons who, in 2016, completed graduate and post-graduate studies at UCT, making all four of the family alumni of this internationally famous university.
From 2021, Bob is hoping to increase his own longevity by ceasing major resectional surgery, and concentrating on niche aspects of coloproctology and laparoscopy.