Professor Timothy Pennel is the Head of Division and Chris Barnard Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Cape Town. His niche area of expertise focuses on heart and lung failure as well endothelial tissue engineering. Tim simultaneously completed his Master’s degree (MMED) and PhD on synthetic vascular graft optimisation, before obtaining his Fellowship in Cardiothoracic Surgery. His laboratory research focuses on the mechanism of vascular graft healing in high-porosity conduits, electrospun degradable polymers and decellularized xenografts. Tim serves as an executive member of the International Society for Cardiovascular Biology (ISACB) and International Symposium on Vascular Tissue Engineering (ISVTE) and the board of SA Heart. In 2017, Tim established the first lung transplant programme Africa for public sector patients and oversees thoracic transplantation at Groote Schuur and Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. His vision is to re-establish University Hospitals as centres of excellence for quaternary based care whilst training emerging Cardiothoracic surgeons as clinicians and researchers.