Prof Dirk Hermanus van Papendorp was born in Pretoria in 1949. He is married to Selomé (Nel) and they have four children and ten grandchildren.
He obtained his Medical degree at the University of Pretoria in 1974 and his ECFMG diploma from Philadelphia, USA, the following year. After his internship at the Pretoria Academic Hospital he practiced for 2 years as general practitioner at the Van Riebeeck Medical Centre and Monument Park centre, Pretoria. Thereafter he moved to the Cape Province to continue his studies. He completed his BSc Honours degree (cum laude) at the University of Stellenbosch and later, in 1985 his PhD degree with his dissertation on the subject: Clinical physiological parameters for the evaluation of femur neck fractures’.
In 1978 he was appointed as lecturer in the Physiology Department, Faculty of Medicine, University of Stellenbosch and promoted to senior lecturer in 1980. In 1986 he joined the Physiology Department, University of Pretoria as associate Professor and he was promoted to full Professor and Head of the Department in 1990. He retired as HOD in 2014.
During this period he was appointed as Part time District Surgeon, Department of Health; Part time Consultant Osteoporosis clinic, HF Verwoerd Hospital; Principal Medical Officer, Student’s Health Service, UP; non executive Medical Director, Techpulse Technologies (PTY) Ltd and appointed by the Minister of Labour as Medical assessor to assist the Compensation Commissioner in court cases pertaining to injury on duty.
Professor van Papendorp is particularly interested in the subject of metabolic bone diseases thus his research interest lies particularly in the field of calcium, osteoporosis, and Vitamin D and of lately, also in the field of pain. He is the author / co-author of more than 80 national and international scientific publications as well as numerous non-scientific magazine articles and radio talks. He is the co-author of four books and has presented more than 50 papers on various research subjects, at both national and international congresses / symposia.
He served on several university committees e.g. The Disciplinary Hearing Committee and Committee for the Evaluation of Medical Aid Schemes. Faculty committees include Academic Advisory Committee for PhD Qualifications, fixed member of the Appointment Selection Committee, Evaluation Committee for the New Medical Curriculum, Appeal Committee – students and the Ethical Committee – Glaxo Institute. He served on the evaluation panel for the Medical Research Council for Bone and Mineral research, and served on the panel of editors of the South African Medical Journal. He was member of 10 professional organisations.
It is to his credit that under his leadership the Department of Physiology has grown and developed into a flagship Department of the Faculty of Medicine, UP with the most research publications in the Faculty for 16 years. The department has also received the award for the “Best publication of an Individual Researcher” and “Team Work” on several occasions, as well as the award for the “Best Young Researcher” in the Faculty of Medicine three times.
Since his retirement he was appointed on a contract basis for 3 years in the Department. He is still actively involved with post graduate students.