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 in history), he obtained his UCT medical degree with distinction in 1983.
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. He then spent 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. He has been a part time Consultant and Senior Lecturer in the GI Unit 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 Junior Consultants and introducing new surgical 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.
He has been on the Editorial Board of the British Journal of Surgery for 10 years, and is the only South African private surgeon to be accorded this privilege, and recently became the first South African appointed to the Editorial Board of the highly cited journal, Colorectal Disease. He is a reviewer for several other journals including Annals of Surgery, which has the highest citation index of any surgical journal worldwide. He has recently had two papers published therein. 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 30 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 elected President of the South African Society of Endoscopic Surgeons (SASES) and was the Society’s eponymous lecturer in 2005. He has also been the Chair of the Federation of South African Surgeons (FoSAS), a unifying organisation for General Surgery. Lastly, in April 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 was a founder member of the International Colorectal Forum, an annual academic conference of the highest quality in Switzerland, which celebrates its 17th anniversary in 2016.
His interests include playing a range of ball sports, skiing, birding, extreme hiking, politics, history and the kitchen. He is married to Carolyn, an outstanding histo-pathologist. They have two sons who, in 2015, completed graduate and post-graduate studies at UCT, making all four members of the family alumni of this internationally famous university.