Petrus de Vries is the Sue Struengmann Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, and Director of the Centre for Autism Research in Africa and the Adolescent Health Research Unit 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.
Between 2004-2011, Prof de Vries established and led a multi-agency, multi-disciplinary service for school-aged children with neurodevelopmental disorders in the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, UK with strong partnership working between Health and Education sectors. In 2012 he returned to South Africa to take up the Sue Struengmann Professorship. He oversees 4 research programmes at the University of Cape Town, including the Centre for Autism Research in Africa, an Adolescent Health Research Unit, a Tuberous Sclerosis Complex programme, and a Staff Research Development Programme. His highly interdisciplinary research team includes ~25 Masters’, PhD, post-doctoral and contract researchers across disciplines such as psychiatry, psychology, speech & language therapy, education, occupational therapy, veterinary sciences and engineering.
He has a clinical research interest in assessment and intervention for infants, young children and adolescents with complex neurodevelopmental and mental health needs, and in the application of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychological assessments in the clinical and educational setting.
Prof de Vries was chairman of the Society for the Study of Behavioural Phenotypes (SSBP), an international, interdisciplinary research organization from 2008-2017, and is on the WHO ICF-CY steering group for autism spectrum disorders and ADHD, under the chairmanship of Prof Sven Bolte. He is also on the Executive of the International Association of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions (IACAPAP) where he coordinates the Helmut Remschmidt Research Seminars, an international research capacity building programme. He is on the editorial boards of Autism Research and Journal of Intellectual Disability Research.
Locally, he is President-Elect of the South African Association for Child & Adolescent Psychiatrists and Allied Professions (SA-ACAPAP), a member of the National Executive Committee of Autism South Africa (ASA), and Associate Editor of the Journal of Child & Adolescent Mental Health.
Prof de Vries will be presenting on child and adolescent mental health in Africa.