William Daniels

Honorary Staff


 Professor William Daniels


 +27 (0)31 260 4267 




 Nelson R Mandela School of  




  Dean and Head of School



Prof Daniels graduated in 1983 with a BSc degree in Biochemistry and Botany at the University of the Western Cape.  He later obtained his BSc-Hons (1985) and MSc (1988) in Medical Biochemistry, a PhD in Chemical Pathology (1993), and MBA (2003) in Business Administration at the University of Stellenbosch.  He completed his postdoctoral studies at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, Texas, USA. He continued his education on Survival Skills and Ethics (2003) under Michael Zigmond and Beth Fischer (Snowmass, Aspen, Colorado, USA), and later obtained a fellowship to study proteomics (2005) at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridgeshire, UK.

He has held numerous appointments and positions.  He was a senior scientist in the Department of Chemical Pathology at Tygerberg Hospital (Feb. 1986 – Jan. 1996), a lecturer (Feb. 1996 – Dec. 1999), a senior lecturer (Jan. 2000 – Dec. 2002), and Associate Professor (Jan. 2003 – Dec. 2005) in the Department of Medical Physiology, University of Stellenbosch.  He became Director of the Animal Research Program MRC Unit for Anxiety and Stress Disorders (Jun. 2004 –), Director of the Cape Universities Brain and Behaviour Initiative (Oct. 2005 –) and Head of the Division of Medical Physiology at the University of Stellenbosch (Jan. 2006 – Nov. 2007).  In December 2007, Prof Daniels became a Professor in the Department of Human Physiology, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Westville Campus). In January 2009 he became the Head of the School of Medical Sciences and in 2012 he was made Dean and Head of the School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences. 

Prof Daniels has been a member of numerous professional and scientific societies including Secretary-General of the Society of Neuroscientists of Africa (SONA, 2010-2013), Member of the International Affairs Committee of the Society for Neuroscientists (SfN, 2011-2014), the Chair of the South African National Committee for IBRO (2002 –2010), the Chairperson of the South African Neuroscience Society (2002 – 2010), the Treasurer and President of the Society for Neuroscientists in Africa (2004 – 2005). He has received numerous honours.  In 1991 he received the Beckman Postgraduate Award, in 1994 the Boehringer Young Research Award, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Most Promising Young Scientist Award, the Harry Crossley Travel Award and FRD Travel Award, in 1995 the Mushet Education Trust Postgraduate Travelling Scholarship, in 1996 the Lundbeck Travel Bursary, in 2000 the International Society for Neurochemistry Travel Bursary, in 2003 the International Brain Research Organisation Travel Award, in 2004 the British Commonwealth Fellowship, and in 2006 the Italian Education Exchange Program.

His research interests are mainly in behavioural neuroscience where he uses animal models to study the pathophysiology of psychiatric and neurological diseases eg. Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Addiction, HIV-dementia and Epilepsy. Prof Daniels uses a variety of behavioural techniques to assess the behaviour of the animals (Morris Water maze, Light/Dark box. Place Preference chambers, Open field maze, Elevated Plus maze). His research is mainly funded by amongst others the NRF, MRC, Harry Crossley Foundation, Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, a Fogarty Grant from the NIH, and an NIH RO1 Grant. He is a prolific academic and has trained more than 38 postgraduate students and has thusfar published 70 articles in international journals.

Professor Daniels has organized  11 International and National conferences and workshops. He was invited to present 11 lectures at National and International platforms. He has received more than R2.5 million research funding for the last 5 years and trained 23 Postgraduate students.

Recent Publications

62. Roos A, Calata D, Jonkers L, Martiz SJ, Kidd M, Daniels WM, Hugo FJ. Normative data for the Tygerberg Cognitive Battery and Mini-Mental Status examination in a South African population. Compr Psychiatry. 2010 Mar-Apr;51(2):207-16.

63. Dimatellis JJ, Russell VA, Stein DJ and Daniels WM. The effects of lobeline and naltrexone on methamphetamine-induced place preference and striatal dopamine and serotonin levels in adolescent rats with a history of maternal separation. Metab. Brain Dis. 2012 Sep; 27(3): 351-61.

64. Dimatelis JJ, Russell VA, Stein DJ and Daniels WM. Effects of maternal separation and methamphetamine exposure on protein expression in the nucleus accumbens shell and core. Metab, Brain Dis 2012 Sep 27(3): 363 -75.

65. Subiah CO, Mabandla MV, Phulukdaree A, Chuturgoon AA and Daniels WM. The effects of vasopressin and oxytocin on methamphetamine-induced place preference behavior in rats. Metab. Brain Dis. 2012 Sep 27(3): 341- 50.

66. Daniels WM, Marais L, Stein DJ and Russell VA. Exercise normalizes altered expression of proteins in the ventral hippocampus of rats subjected to maternal separation. Exp Physiol. 2012 Feb 97(2): 239-47.

67. Dimatelis JJ, Pillay NS, Mutyaba AK, Russell VA, Daniels WM, Stein DJ. Early maternal separation leads to down-regulation of cytokine gene expression. Metab Brain Dis. 2012 Sep 27(3): 393-7.

68. Qulu L, Daniels WM, Mabandla M. Exposure of prenatal stress enhances the development of seizures in young rats. Metab Brain Dis. 2012 Sep 27(3): 399-404.

69. Ramautar A, Mabandla M, Blackburn J, Daniels WM. Inhibition of HIV-1 tat-induced transactivation and apoptosis by the divalent metal chelators, fusaric acid and picolinic acid – implications for HIV-dementia. Neurosci Res 2012 Sep 74(1): 59-63.

70. Dimatelis JJ, Hendricks S, Hsieh J, Vlok M Bugarith K, Daniels WMU, Russell VA. Exercise partially reverses the effect of maternal separation on hippocampal proteins in 6-hydroxydopmaine lesioned rat brain. Exp. Physiol 2013 Jan 98(1): 233-44.