Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, MBChB, FRCPsych, PhD
Prof Petrus J de Vries
Sue Struengmann Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Principal Investigator
Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry,
University of Cape Town, South Africa
Petrus de Vries is the Sue Struengmann Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, and Director of the Centre for Autism Research in Africa at the University of Cape Town. He trained in Medicine at Stellenbosch University in South Africa before moving to the UK where he completed his clinical training in Psychiatry and Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, and a PhD in Developmental Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge. He returned to South Africa in 2012.
He has a clinical research interest in assessment and intervention for infants, young children and adolescents with complex neurodevelopmental and mental health needs. Since his return to South Africa he has focused on global child & adolescent mental health and on implementation science in low- and middle-income settings. Apart from his interest in autism, he has a longstanding clinical research programme in Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) and its associated neuropsychiatric disorders (TAND). He was the chairman of the International Neuropsychiatry Panel that coined the term ‘TAND’ and was lead developer and author of the TAND Checklist. Apart from his work on TAND, he was also closely involved in the phase II and III clinical trials of mTOR inhibitors for brain tumours (SEGA), renal tumours (AML) and treatment-resistant epilepsy in TSC. These studies have led to FDA and EMA approval for mTOR inhibitors as molecularly-targeted treatments in TSC. He also co-led two studies of mTOR inhibitors for TAND.
Petrus was chairman of the Society for the Study of Behavioural Phenotypes (SSBP), an international, interdisciplinary research organisation for rare diseases from 2008-2017, and was on the WHO ICF-CY steering group for autism spectrum disorders and ADHD, under the chairmanship of Prof Sven Bolte. At a national level, he was the President of the South African Association of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions (SA-ACAPAP). At an African level, he was chairman of the African Division of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (2018-2022). Internationally, he was Secretary of the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) (2019-2021) and Treasurer of the International Association of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions (IACAPAP) (2018-2022), where he still coordinates the Helmut Remschmidt Research Seminars, an international research capacity building programme. He was elected as President of INSAR for the 2023-2025 term.
Petrus has been actively involved with many TSC user/carer organisations over the last 21 years, including the TSA UK, TSC Alliance, STSN and TSDeutschland. In August/September 2018 he did a ‘roadshow’ with TSC Australia and the New Zealand TSC Association on TAND. In 2014 he was awarded the Manuel R Gomez Award for his contributions to Tuberous Sclerosis Complex research by the TSC Alliance, and in 2021 received the Bourneville Prize from the Dutch TSC Association (STSN) for this contributions to TAND and TAND research.