Tim Pennel qualified in medicine at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa in 2003. Following two years of general surgery, he joined the University of Cape Town (UCT) as a resident in Cardiothoracic Surgery. During this time Dr Pennel simultaneously completed his master’s degree (MMED) and PhD, and subsequently qualified as Cardiothoracic surgeon in 2014. During his time at the Cardiovascular Research Unit in Cape Town, Dr Pennel developed a small animal model to investigate the mechanism of vascular graft healing in high-porosity polymers and decellularized xenografts. His clinical interest is surgery for heart and lung failure and the expansion of the mechanical assist program at the Groote Schuur hospital and is the surgical director for heart and lung transplantation fort the Chris Barnard Division of Cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Cape Town.