Prof Ambroise Wonkam

Professor of Genetic Medicine, and Director of McKusick-Nathans Institute, and Department of Genetic Medicine, Johns Hopkins


Prof Ambroise Wonkam is a professor of Genetic Medicine, and Director of McKusick-Nathans Institute, and Department of Genetic Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA.

His is also Director of GeneMAP (Genetic Medicine of African Populations), and immediate past Deputy Dean Research at the 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 He (Cameroon), he completed a thesis in Medical Sciences (cell biology) at the University of Geneva (Switzerland), and a PhD in Human Genetics (University of Cape Town, South Africa). Prof Wonkam’s also trained as a medical geneticist at a highly reputable Genetic Medicine at the University of Geneva (Switzerland). He subsequently practices Genetic Medicine in both European and African contexts.

His research interests are reflected in more than 200 peer-reviewed publications. His research focuses genetic and genomic variation in African population with focus on: on 1) Genomics modifiers of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD); 2) Genetics of hearing Impairment, and 3) Ethical and educational Issues in human genetics. Prof Wonkam has let successfully over the past 10 years numerous NIH and Wellcome Trust funded projects accounting for about 20m USD, to pursue research studies in various countries in Africa (Tanzania, Cameroon, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, Mali, Sudan, Rwanda, and Ghana)

He was awarded the 2003 Denber-Pinard Prize for the best thesis from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, Switzerland, and won the very competitive Clinical Genetics Society International Award for 2014, from the British Society of Genetic Medicine, and 2021 Alan Pifer Award from UCT, and the 2021 MRC South Africa Gold Scientific Merit Award for the excellence of his research, and the 2023 Human Genome Organization (HUGO) Africa Prize, and elected fellow of The Word Academy of Science (UNESCO) for 2024.

Prof Wonkam served as associate Editor of the American Journal of Human Genetics, the American Journal of Medical Genetics, Associate editor of the Journal of Community Genetics, and Academic Editor of Plos One, and member of the editorial Board of Human Genetics, and Genetics In Medicine, npj Genetic Medicine.

Prof Wonkam is president of the African Society of Human Genetics.