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 Prof. David Fisher

Position: Deputy Vice-Chancellor Student Development & Support Services
Department: Medical BioScience Programme
Faculty: Faculty of Natural Science
Qualifications: Hons (UCT); MSc (UCT); PhD (UWC)
Tel: 021 959 2185
Fax: 021 959 1339
Email: dfisher@uwc.ac.za
Research:
 
 
 
 

Biography

 Personal and Academic Achievements
1984: Achieved the highest class marks for both undergraduate majors: Physiology and Biochemistry.
   Won the Van der Horst Award for the best final year physiology student.
1987: Joined the Department of Physiological Sciences at UWC as a lecturer.
1999: Elected deputy chairperson of the Department of Physiological Sciences.
   Coordinator of the Medical BioScience Expo 1999 (Depts of Physiology, Medical Microbiology and Anatomy).
2000:  Co-ordinator of the 218-228 Physiology course (2000-2002)
   Co-ordinator of the Medical BioScience Expo 2000 -2001 (Depts of Physiology, Medical Microbiology and Anatomy).
2000: Core member of the Postgraduate Herbal Sciences Programme
2001: Elected as programme leader for the Medical BioScience Programme
2001: Successfully submitted the postgraduate Medical BioScience Programme via the Senate and Council before approval by SA Qualification Authority.
2002: Selected by the National Research Foundation (NRF) to peer review funding proposals.
2005:  HOD of the Department of Medical Bioscience.
2006: Completed Leadership Development Programme
2007: Awarded Distinguished Administrator Award (UWC).
2009: Joined the School of Health Professions, University of Missouri, as Adjunct Professor
2010: Elected as Deputy Dean of the Science Faculty: Portfolio: Research and Post-Graduate Studies.
2010: Elected as Vice-President of the Physiological Society of Southern Africa.
2011: Appointed acting HOD of the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics
2012: Appointed as Acting Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences
2013:        Appointed as Acting Head of the Electron Microscope Unit (UWC).
2014 Re-elected: Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Natural Science: Research/PG

Recent Awards:
1.    Best Oral Presentation:
Harribhai, H, E. Pool and D. Fisher. (2012). The effect of raw sewage, treated effluent and reclaimed water on mouse testicular cells. Research Open Day at the University of the Western Cape, 31.10., Bellville, South Africa.
2.    Best Presentation in the Honours Section:
Esterhusen, F.N.,K. Gamieldien, D. Fisher. (2011). In vitro comparative analysis of street methamphetamine (MA) cytotoxicity on mouse brain endothelial (bEnd5) cells. University of the Western Cape, Cape Town.
3.    Best Poster of the PhD/post-doc Section:
Mars,JA,, Henkel,R,, Fisher,D,, Weitz,F (2008). Determination of selenium in aqueous herbal extracts to be used fertility studies. Research Open Day at the University of the Western Cape, 28.-29.11.2008, Bellville, South Africa.

Publications

Selected Publications and Conference Papers

  •  Mufiga C., Fisher, D, Kruger, TF, Henkel, RR. (2013). The relationship between seminal leukocytes, oxidative status in the ejaculate, and apoptotic  markers in human spermatozoa. Sys Bio Reprod Med. Early Online: 1–8, ISSN 1939-6368 print/1939-6376 online. DOI: 10.3109/19396368.2013.821540

  • Henkel,R, Fransman,WO, Hipler,UC, Wiegand,C, Schreiber,G, Menkveld,R, Weitz,F, Fisher,D. (2012) Typha capensis (Rohrb.) N.E.Br. (bulrush) extract scavenges free radicals, inhibits collagenase activity and affects human sperm motility and mitochondrial membrane potential in vitro – A pilot study. Andrologia, 44, 287-294. 

  • Prinsloo T. K., K. Gamieldien and D. Fisher. (2011) In vitro cytotoxic analysis of methamphetamine on mouse brain endothelial (bEnd5) cells. Sci Res Essays, Vol 7, 9.

  • Esterhuysen F., K. Gamieldien and D. Fisher. (2011) In vitro comparative analysis of street methamphetamine (‘tik’) cytotoxicity on mouse brain endothelial (bEnd5) cells. Sci Res Essays, Vol 7, 34.

  • Ogboko B., D. Fisher and R.Swart (2011). Cadmium and Lead Concentration in Saliva of Children in Ceres District of South Africa. J. Basic. Applied. Sci. Res.,1(8) 825-831.

  • Mukinda J. T., J.Syce, D.Fisher, M. Meyer. (2010) Effect of the Plant Matrix on the Uptake of Luteolin Derivatives-containing Artemisia afra Aqueous-extract in Caco-2 cells. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 130 439–449.

  • Ogboko B., D. Fisher and R.Swart (2009). Levels of lead and cadmium in hair and saliva of school children in Ceres district, South Africa. AJFAND, Vol 9 (3), 948-961.

  • Benson, O., D. Fisher and R. Swart. (2008)  Iron Indices in School children in Ceres District of the Western Cape South Africa. Journal of Biomedical Investigation; 6(2):39-46.

  • Fransman,W, Weitz,F, Fisher,D, Kruger,T, Menkveld,R. and R. Henkel (2008). In vitro effects of Typha capensis extracts on sperm parameters. Int J Androl 31 (Suppl. 1): 15-16.

  • Henkel,R, Fransman,W, Hipler,UC, Schreiber,G, Weitz,F, Kruger,TF, Fisher,D, Menkveld,R (2009) Typha capensis extracts decrease ROS production and affect human sperm functions. Afr J Trad Compl Alt Med 6: 438-439.

  • Fisher, D.  (2002): New light shed on fluid formation in the seminiferous tubules of the rat. Journal of Physiology (Lond) (2002), 542.2, pp. 445 –452. 

  • Isaacson, L. C., Nicolson, S. W. and Fisher, D.  (1989) Electrophysiological and cable parameters of perfused beetle Malpighian tubules. Am. J. Physiol. 257 (Regulatory Integrative Comp. Physiol. 26): R1190 R1198.

  • Fisher, D and F Mosaval  (2012). Oleanolic Acid causes reversible contraception in male mice by increasing the permeability of the germinal epithelium. Asian J Androl (Submitted).

  • Fransman,WO, Menkveld,R, Weitz,F, Kruger,TF, Fisher,D, Henkel,R (2012). In vitro effects of Typha capensis extracts on sperm motility and mitochondrial membrane potential. Asian J Androl (in preparation).

  • Mars, J.A., F. Weitz, D. Fisher, R. Henkel. (2012)Trace element composition of aqueous herbal extracts used in the traditional treatment of male infertility. J Androl (in preparation).

  • Mupfiga,C, Fisher,D, Henkel,R (2012) Male genital tract infection can induce apoptosis in human spermatozoa. (in preparation)
​​​
  • Fransman,W, Weitz,F, Menkveld,R, Fisher,D, Henkel,R (2012) In vivo effects of Typha capensis (Rohrb.)N.E.Br. (bulrush) rhizome extract on sperm functions in the rat. (in preparation)

Conference papers:

  • Mafunda, P.S., D. Fisher and K. Gamieldien. The in vitro effects of pure and street Methamphetamine on the proliferationand cell cyclesof Mouse brain endothelial cells. Physiological Society of Southern Africa, Stellenbosch University, September, 2012.

  • Esterhusen, F.N.,K. Gamieldien, D. Fisher. (2011). In vitro comparative analysis of street methamphetamine (MA) cytotoxicity on mouse brain endothelial (bEnd5) cells. Research Open Day, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town.

  • Prinsloo, T.K., K. Gamieldien, D. Fisher. (2011). Effects of Methamphetamine (MA) on mouse brain endothelial (bEnd5) cells: A comparison of selected cytotoxic assays. Research Open Day, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town.
  • Mentor, S., S. Ncwaiba, R. Mcbride, K. Gamieldien, D. Fisher. (2011) Optimising Mouse Brain Endothelial (bEnd5) Cells as a Possible Blood-Brain-Barrier Model. Research Open Day, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town.

  • Salie W, Sissing L, McBride R, Fisher D. (2010). The short term effect of Methamphetamine on the Blood Testis Barrier. University of Walter Sisulu, East London. September 2010.

  • Mcbride, R, Sissing, L, Dondi, A, Maritz, A, Fisher,D. (2010). Short term analysis of the effects of methamphetamine on bEnd5 cell adhesion and spreading. South African Neuro Science Symposium. University of Kwazulu-Natal, Durban.

  • Henkel,R, Fransman,W, Hipler,UC, Schreiber,G, Weitz,F, Kruger,TF, Fisher,D, Menkveld,R (2009). Typha capensis extracts decrease ROS production and affect human sperm functions. J Androl 30 (Suppl.): 40.

  • Haines,N, Bastiaan,HS, Willemse,C, Monsees,T, Weitz,F, Fisher,D, Henkel,R (2009) The effect of aqueous Typha capensis extract on TM4-Sertoli cell function. 12th Indigenous Plant Use Forum (IPUF), 06.-09.07.09, Stellenbosch, South Africa, abstract book p. 34.

  • Henkel,R, Fransman,W, Hipler,UC, Schreiber,G, Weitz,F, Kruger,TF, Fisher,D, Menkveld,R (2009).Typha capensis extracts decrease ROS production and affect human sperm functions. 9th International Congress of Andrology, 7.-10.03.2009, Barcelona, Spain.

  • Henkel,R, Fransman,W, Hipler,UC, Schreiber,G, Weitz,F, Kruger,TF, Fisher,D, Menkveld,R (2008).Typha capensis extracts decrease human sperm ROS production and affect sperm functions. 52nd Academic Research day , Faculty of Health Sciences, Tygerberg Hospital and University of Stellenbosch, 13.-14.08.08, Stellenbosch, South Africa, abstract book.

  • Schreiber,G, Fransman,W, Hipler,UC, Weitz,F, Menkveld,R, Kruger,TF, Fisher,D, Henkel,R (2008). In vitro Effekte von Typha capensis Extrakten auf Spermienfunktionen und die Inhibierung von reaktiven Sauerstoffspezies. J Reproduktionsmed Endokrinol 4: 222-223.

  • Mars,JA, Henkel,R, Fisher,D, Weitz,F (2008). Determination of selenium in aqueous herbal extracts to be used fertility studies. UWC Research Open Day, 28.-29.10.2008, Bellville, South Africa, abstract book.

  • Erasmus,N, Weitz,F, Menkveld,R, Fisher,D, Henkel,R (2008). The effects of Typha capensis extracts on acrosome reaction of human spermatozoa. UWC Research Open Day, 28.-29.10.2008, Bellville, South Africa, abstract book.

  • Henkel,R, Fransman,W, Hipler,UC, Schreiber,G, Weitz,F, Kruger,TF, Fisher,D, Menkveld,R (2008). Typha capensis extracts decrease ROS production and affect human sperm functions. 4th World Congress on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, 9.-14.11.08, Cape Town, South Africa, abstract book p. 75.

  • Mars,JA, Weitz,F, Fisher,D, Henkel,R (2008). Determination of trace elements in aqueous herbal extracts to be used in male infertility. 4th World Congress on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, 9.-14.11.08, Cape Town, South Africa, supplementary abstract book p. 13.

  • Fransman,W, Weitz,F, Fisher,D, Kruger, T, Menkveld,R, Henkel,R (2008). In vitro effects of Typha capensis extracts on sperm parameters. Int J Androl 31 (Suppl. 1): 15-16.

  • Fisher, D, Mosoval, F. and Rasool, Y. (2005) Compromising the blood-testis barrier to produce reversible male contraception. 35th International Union of Physiological Sciences, San Diego, California, USA.

  • Fisher, D. AND Isaacson, L.C. (1990): The effects of BaCl2 and HiK on the basolateral membrane of O.plana. Physiological Congress of South Africa.
Conference Lectures:

  • Mafunda, P.S., D. Fisher and K. Gamieldien. The in vitro effects of pure and street Methamphetamine on the proliferationand cell cyclesof Mouse brain endothelial cells. Physiological Society of Southern Africa, Stellenbosch University, September, 2012.

  • Esterhusen, F.N.,K. Gamieldien, D. Fisher. (2011). In vitro comparative analysis of street methamphetamine (MA) cytotoxicity on mouse brain endothelial (bEnd5) cells. University of the Western Cape, Cape Town.

  • Prinsloo, T.K., K. Gamieldien, D. Fisher. (2011). Effects of Methamphetamine (MA) on mouse brain endothelial (bEnd5) cells: A comparison of selected cytotoxic assays. University of the Western Cape, Cape Town.

  • Henkel,R, Fransman,W, Hipler,UC, Schreiber,G, Weitz,F, Kruger,TF, Fisher,D, Menkveld,R (2008). Typha capensis extracts decrease ROS production and affect human sperm functions. 4th World Congress on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, 9.-14.11.08, Cape Town, South Africa

  • Mars,JA, Weitz,F, Fisher,D, Henkel,R (2008). Determination of trace elements in aqueous herbal extracts to be used in male infertility. 4th World Congress on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, 9.-14.11.08, Cape Town, South Africa

  • Fisher, D, Mosoval, F. and Rasool, Y. (2005) Compromising the blood-testis barrier to produce reversible male contraception. 35th International Union of Physiological Sciences, San Diego, California, USA.

  • Fisher, D. and Rasool, Y. (2004) A molecular mechanism for Oleanolic Acid inferred Reversible Male Contraception in rodents. The University of Missouri, Columbia, MO.

  • Fisher, D.  and G.vd Horst (1999): Electrophysiological Exploration of the Seminiferous Tubule: Future Application. International conference: Guest speaker at Plenary session: Andrology in the Nineties, University of Stellenbosch.

  • Fisher, D., and G. van der Horst (1999): The significance of measuring the transepithelial potential across the isolated seminiferous tubules of the rat using different electrophysiological techniques. AstraZeneca 2nd Annual Medical Research Day, University of the Western Cape.

  • Fisher, D., and H. White*(1996): The effects of anaethetics on the resting membrane potential of Abalone. Research Day. University of Rhodes.

  • Fisher D.(1995): An electrophysiological study on the isolated perfused seminiferous tubules of the rat testis: Effects of BaCl2.Proceedings of the 23rd annual congress of the physiological society of Southern Africa, Johannesburg.

  • Fisher, D. and L.C. Isaacson (1990). Electrophysiological and cable parameters of perfused beetle Malpighian tubules. Physiological Congress of Southern Africa (Gordon’s Bay): 

  • Fisher, D. and L.C. Isaacson (1986) -  The Effect of Diuretic Hormone on the Passive Ionic Permeability of beetle tubules. Physiological Congress of Southern Africa (Thaba Nchu).

  • Fisher, D. and C.J Beardwood (1985). - The Effect of Negative Air Ions Morphine induced decrease in Gastro-intestinal Transit. Physiological Congress of Southern Africa (Pretoria)
  • Fisher, D. and  G. van der Horst (1984). The Effect of Nicotine on the Heart Rate in three different age groups of Rats. Faculty of Dentistry Research Day- Presented (as an undergraduate)

 

Networks

 Male Reproduction and Contraception Research group:
Exploring the Electrophysiological and Molecular Properties of the Testis with a view to Reversible Male Contraception.

The seminiferous tubule is a likely site in the male reproductive tract to which manipulation (using various plant extracts, drugs and/or hormones) could result in reversible sterilization (male contraception?). Highly sophisticated electrophysiological techniques are currently used to study the physiological properties of the seminiferous tubule in our laboratory. Seminiferous tubules are essentially made up of two types of cells:  Sertoli and germ cells. The Sertoli cells are crucial for the support and development of germ cells into sperm cells. One particular feature of this process is the formation of tight junctions between adjacent Sertoli (TM4) cells (which constitutes the blood-testis barrier). As these tight junctions develop between adjacent TM4 cells, the permeability across the monolayer decreases and this variable can be measured using a TER Ohmmeter. Our lab also measures intracellular potentials and membrane currents which gives substantial evidence of transport of ions across a cell membrane as well as to the permeability of cell membranes.

We will collect data on the effects of selected plant extracts on the assembly or disassembly of tight junction molecules. This will therefore indicate whether or not the Blood-Testis Barrier will be compromised and therefore also spermatogenesis. Identifying an active molecular species within a plant extract capable of reversibly compromising the tight junction molecules will be tantamount to identifying a possible male contraceptive.

The experimental techniques of this research provide exciting research avenues for the future testing of drugs (male contraceptives),  hormones or combinations thereof on the germinal epithelium (Sertoli cells).

Male Reproduction and Contraception Research group: Prof D Fisher, Prof Ralf Henkel, Prof Thomas Monsees, Prof Doug Bowles, Dr Ekobi Ekpo, Averouz Maritz, Nicole Haines, Hitesh Harribhai.

Neurobiology Group:
Effects of methamphetamine (Tik) on the Blood-Brain Barrier

Several immortalized endothelial cell lines are currently being developed as in vitro models for the blood-brain barrier (BBB). b.End5 cells are one of only two commercially available mouse brain capillary cell lines and still need to be fully characterized in terms of their ability to mimic the in vivo BBB characteristics. The function of the BBB, which is created by tight junctions between adjacent endothelial cells, is to protect the underlying brain parenchyma from blood-borne toxins and pathogens while maintaining the optimal ionic milieu for neural function. The abuse of illegal methamphetamine (METH), a powerful psycho stimulant that is eroding the lives and families of especially poor communities in the Western Cape, has long been a world-wide public health problem. Due the lipid-soluble nature of METH, it diffuses across the plasma membrane of brain endothelial cells, by-passing the paracellular barrier of tight junctions, and has severe neurotoxic effects. In addition, METH weakens the integrity of the BBB, making it susceptible to bacteria and viruses such as HIV-AIDS. There is presently a scarcity of studies dealing with the effects of METH on tight junction expression and those which have have analyzed the effects of METH after 24hrs and beyond. This study has, however, focused on the immediate and short term effects of both pure and street METH (“tik”, confiscated by the SAPS) on bEnd5 cells, and also the long term physiological and morphological affects . Here we propose several mechanisms whereby the junctional complexes of b.End5 cells are altered by METH exposure and attempt to correlate these changes to the functioning of the BBB in vivo.

Neurobiology Group: Professor David Fisher, Dr Kareemah Gamieldien, Dr Okobi Ekpo, Dr Ruth McBride, Ms Linda Sissing, Shireen Mentor, Tarryn Prinsloo, Tahirah Boltman, Siya Mafunda, Kelly Thomas.

Recent Committees served on:

1. Board Member of AIMS (2011-)
2. Member of Senate/SIR/SR/SHD
3. Member of Senate International Relations Committee
4. Member of Senate Research Committee
5. Member of Senate Higher Degrees Committee
6. Chair of Post-Graduate Committee (Faculty of Science)
7. Professorial/General Appointments Committee
8. Science Faculty Management Committee
9. Chair of Post-Graduate Committee (Faculty of Science)
10. Chair of the PSSA organising Committee (2010 – Feb 2011)
11. Organising Committee Member of the International Symposium on Toxicity Assessment (ISTA) 16th biennial Conference hosted by UWC (2013)

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