Skip to main content
KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico


Dr Michelle Pentecost is a Lecturer in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine and Director of the BA in Global Health and Social Medicine. A physician-anthropologist by training, her research and publication record reflects her work and interest across disciplines including clinical medicine, anthropology, science and technology studies, urban studies and global health.

Michelle holds a degree in medicine from the University of Cape Town and has a decade of work experience as a clinician in South Africa. She defended her doctorate in Anthropology at the University of Oxford in 2017, specialising in the anthropology of postgenomics and global health.

She is a founding member of the Health Professions Special Interest Group of the Medical and Health Humanities Africa Network. She is especially interested in the contemporary roles of the physician (and the physician-anthropologist) across the clinical, academic and public sectors, and the opportunities and challenges that accompany them.


Michelle is currently working on a monograph based on this work, provisionally titled The First Thousand Days: Global Health and the Politics of Potential in South Africa, which interrogates the logics and implications of "the first thousand days" as an object of global health, premised on new scientific understandings of risk and heredity in the context of South Africa's national nutrition policy, which focuses squarely on the perinatal period and the mitigation of intergenerational disease transmission.

Michelle is in the early stages of her next project, which will examine how advances in developmental neuroscience are reshaping early childhood policy and social practice in the global South. 

Michelle is also currently a co-investigator on a Wellcome Trust project titled 'Urban animals, human livelihoods and health in the global south: a trans-species approach'. Her other research interests engage questions around the place of inter/transdisciplinary work, particularly in the settings of medical pedagogy and medical and health humanities. 

Further details

See Michelle's research profile