Prof Tshepo Matjila

I am the HOD of the Dept of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria.  
My research focus is on the transcriptome analysis of babesias in an effort to identify possible vaccine candidates and also to develop improved diagnostics for the rapid detection of these parasites. My work with co-workers within the faculty and international collaborators (University of Montpellier, France and ProtActivity, Holland) on vaccine research of important tick-borne pathogens continues with an added momentum.

Prof Lucille Blumberg

Professor Lucille Blumberg is a Deputy Director at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), of the National Health Laboratory Service, and founding head of the Division of Public Health Surveillance and Response. She is a specialist in clinical microbiology and infectious diseases and a  medical consultant the Centre for Emerging, Zoonotic and Parasitic Diseases where her major focus is on malaria, rabies and zoonotic diseases and ‘One Health ‘ . She has worked on a number of outbreaks including rabies, avian influenza, cholera, typhoid, and the Lujo virus. She is a medical graduate of the University of the Witwatersrand, an Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology at the University of Stellenbosch, and lecturer in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. University Of Pretoria, South Africa. She is a member of the South African expert advisory groups on rabies and malaria (Immediate Past Chairperson) as well as the advisory groups to the WHO on yellow fever risks in travellers (Chairperson), the ‘Blue Print’ for research in diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics for epidemic–prone (mainly zoonotic) diseases and member of the guidelines group for the 2018 WHO rabies guidelines for prevention of rabies in humans. She is the recipient of a One Health award from the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. 

Dr Soledad Colombe

Soledad is an Epidemiologist – Outbreak Research Team at Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp (ITM). Prior to joining ITM, she was a EPIET Fellow at ECDC European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training. 

Dr Veronique Dermauw
Veronique Dermauw is a scientific fellow (postdoc) at the Department of Biomedical Sciences (Unit of Veterinary Helminthology) of the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM).

She completed her PhD and Master in Veterinary Science at Ghent University. She joined the team of professor Pierre Dorny at ITM in March 2015, and she’s involved in the epidemiology, diagnostics and data management/analysis of several projects in the South (e.g. Burkina Faso, DR Congo, South Africa, Ethiopia, Vietnam). Her work focusses on zoonotic helminth and foodborne infections of veterinary and public health importance (e.g., fasicoliasis, taeniasis/cysticercosis, echinococcosis). In 2021, she obtained her Master degree in Statistical Data Analysis at Ghent University, Belgium.

Prof Pierre Dorny

I hold a DVM (1980) and PhD (1990) degree from Ghent University (UGent), Belgium and have followed a postgraduate course (1981) in tropical animal health and husbandry at the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM), Antwerp. I am a European Veterinary Specialist in Parasitology certified by the European Board of Veterinary Specialisation.

After working one year in private practice, I joined the faculty of Veterinary Medicine, UGent from 1983-1990 where I worked as a research assistant in the laboratory of Parasitology. My PhD research was on diagnosis and control of gastrointestinal nematodes on dairy cattle farms. I defended my thesis in April 1990. From 1990-93 I worked as a parasitologist in a university collaboration research project at ‘Universiti Pertanian Malaysia’ on the control of nematodes in small ruminants. In 1994 I worked as a parasitology consultant in a USAID project on sheep production in Sumatra, Indonesia. From the end of 1994 I joined both the ITM and UGent to continue research on animal parasites. In 2000 I was appointed lecturer of veterinary helminthology at ITM and as a guest professor (20%) of tropical veterinary medicine at the UGent. I was chairman of the Department of Animal Health, ITM from 2003-2011. I was appointed full professor at ITM in 2008. Besides my teaching assignments in veterinary helminthology, helminth zoonoses and tropical veterinary medicine at ITM and UGent, I am the head of a laboratory that conducts research on helminth zoonoses and helminth control in which several post-doc and PhD students work. My lab at ITM is National Reference Centre for diagnosis of trichinellosis and other parasite zoonoses.


Prof Folorunso Oludayo Fasina 

Dr Fasina Folorunso Oludayo was born and grew up in Ibadan, Nigeria He received his primary and secondary education at C & S Primary School and Lagelu Grammar School respectively.

He proceeded to the University of Ibadan and obtained a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1998. He got an MSc (Vet Sc.) with Distinction working on Avian Influenza in the Department of Production Animal Studies of the University of Pretoria in the year 2008. He used to work with the National Veterinary Research Institute Vom, Nigeria but transferred his service to the University of Pretoria in February 2011. He is currently with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. To date, he has a regularly increasing profile in academic databases and in peer-reviewed publications and has received many grants and awards. He has a PhD each from the University of Pretoria and Utrecht University, the Netherlands.


Prof John Frean

Prof John Frean is the Deputy Director of Microbiology and Head of Parasitology Reference Laboratory at the Centre for Emerging Zoonotic and Parasitic Diseases. He obtained an MBBCh, MMed and a DTM&H from the University of the Witwatersrand and an MSc from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London. Prof Frean contributed to over 140 peer-reviewed articles, textbook chapters, and other publications, as well as contributing to and editing the NICD’s Communicable Diseases Communiqué Bulletin. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Annals of the Australasian College of Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease, and Associate Editor of the Southern African Journal of Infectious Diseases. His research achievements over the last 10 years have been in three areas: malaria, opportunistic infections, and zoonotic/biosecurity risks. Prof Frean’s interests are clinical and diagnostic microbiology, especially parasitic and zoonotic diseases.


Dr Ralph Huits

Dr. Ralph Huits is an internist, infectious disease physician and post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Clinical Sciences of the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium. He has extensive experience working overseas (Zimbabwe, Caribbean). He obtained a PhD in emerging infections (chikungunya and Zika virus infections) from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

His research interests include emerging infections, arboviruses, zoonosis, febrile illness, tropical medicine, clinical epidemiology, and molecular diagnostics.

Dr. Huits is the Research lead for the executive committee of GeoSentinel, a global network of travel clinics for research and surveillance of emerging infections and travel-related morbidity. 


Prof Frans Jongejan

  • 25 years of professional working experience within an academic environment as well as in national agricultural research institutions in Africa
  • Editor-in-chief (ticks) of the Journal Experimental and Applied Acarology
  • Coordinator of a large network of scientists (ICTTD) working on ticks and tick-borne diseases in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia, which started in 1995 and has developed into an internationally recognized
  • Forum for tick-borne disease control policies.

Dr Darryn Knobel

Dr. Knobel grew up in South Africa and received his veterinary degree from the University of Pretoria. He has focused his career on enhancing knowledge of the epidemiology of rabies in free-roaming dog populations in resource-poor communities, and in applying this knowledge to improve the health of dogs and the communities in which they live. He has conducted this work in several different countries including South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, and Ethiopia. He has published over 50 papers on the topic of rabies and other zoonotic diseases in animals and people. He holds an adjunct appointment with the Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria.


Prof Anita Michel

Prof. Anita Michel qualified as a veterinarian in Germany in 1987 and obtained her postgraduate Dr med vet degree from Munich University in 1989 and her PhD from Utrecht University in The Netherlands in 2008. She worked as a research veterinarian at the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute of the ARC from 1989 to 2009 and joined the Department Veterinary Tropical Diseases at the Faculty of Veterinary Science in 2009 where she has since been involved in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching as well as research with a focus on the epidemiology, diagnosis and control of bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis in wildlife and livestock.


Prof Luis Neves

Luis Neves was born in Beira-Mozambique and completed his undergraduate studies in Veterinary Medicine at the Eduardo Mondlane (EMU), Mozambique. In 1991 completed his MVSc. degree in Applied Parasitology and in 1999 obtained a PhD on in vitro culture and immunodiagnosis of Babesia, both from the University of Liverpool. His main activity for the last 25 years was teaching and research in Veterinary Parasitology at the Eduardo Mondlane University. He served as dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Science of the same University from 1999 to 2005. From 2000 to 2005 he leaded the process of establishment of the Biotechnology Center at EMU, which is a joined specialized unit of molecular biology and applied immunochemistry that integrates the Faculties of Agriculture and Forestry, Science, Veterinary Science and the Medical School of EMU.

Prof Marinda Oosthuizen

Marinda Oosthuizen was born in Pretoria and completed her undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of Pretoria where she obtained her degrees cum laude. In 1998 she obtained a PhD with a thesis entitled “Taxonomy and phylogeny of aerobic Gram-negative heparinase producing bacteria”.

During 1999 to 2001 she completed a University of Pretoria and NRF funded postdoctoral fellowship at the University of the Witwatersrand on the topic “Proteomic investigation of a dairy-associated Bacillus cereus biofilm”. She joined the Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria in 2002 as a Research officer, was appointed as senior lecturer in 2007, and promoted to Associate Professor in January 2012.

In recent years she has established herself in the field of molecular veterinary parasitology; focusing on molecular diagnostic assay development and the molecular characterization of novel tick-borne blood parasites (Theileria, Babesia, Ehrlichia and Anaplasma species) of domestic and wild animals, including those that threaten endangered and rare wildlife species. Some of the highlights include the identification of novel Babesia and Theileria species from sable, roan and giraffe as well as the development of a Theileria parva-specific real-time PCR assay for the detection of T. parva (causing Corridor disease in South Africa) in buffalo and cattle.

Marinda Oosthuizen has a C2-rating from the NRF and she was the joint-winner of the Faculty of Veterinary Science “Researcher of the Year” award in 2011. She has published 30 papers in peer-reviewed journals and her findings have been presented at various national and international conferences.

There are currently 1 postdoctoral fellow, 2 PhD and 2 MSc students enrolled under her supervision. During the past 6 years she successfully supervised and/or co-supervised 4 PhD, 8 MSc and 3 Honours students. Furthermore, she is a council committee member of the Parasitological Society of Southern Africa (PARSA).


Prof Melvyn Quan

Melvyn Quan studied veterinary science at the University of Pretoria. After qualifying, he worked at a small animal veterinary clinic in Kent, UK for a year and a half before undertaking a MSc. His research topic was on copper deficiency in blesbok in the Camdeboo National Park. After his MSc, he got accepted for a PhD studentship at the Pirbright Laboratory, UK and enrolled at the University of Edinburgh. He modelled in vivo dynamics of foot-and-mouth disease virus in pigs. He returned to Onderstepoort in 2005 as a research officer and worked on rapid diagnostic assays and the molecular epidemiology of African horse sickness virus. In 2010, he became a senior lecturer in the DVTD.

His current research interests are on the rapid diagnostics of viruses of veterinary importance, as well as the phylogeography of viruses, using bioinformatics, phylogenetics and geographic information systems tools.


Dr Leen Rigouts

Leen Rigouts graduated as a Master in Biological Science in 1987, and successfully completed a postgraduate course on Tropical Medicine (ITM) in 1988. In 1989 she joined the Unit of Mycobacteriology at ITM, and executed various studies on serological diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB), identification of mycobacteria by fatty-acid analyses, and molecular epidemiology of bovine and human TB. The latter was the subject of her PhD thesis defended in 2000. 

Since then she supervised and accomplished studies covering various aspects of human and bovine TB: 
Molecular epidemiology studies on reinfection versus reactivation, prevalence of multiple M. tuberculosis infections, and transmission rates among MDR and non-MDR TB

Drug-resistance studies on its prevalence and incidence various geographic regions, rapid detection of drug resistance by molecular tools, development of drug-resistance, resistance to second-line drugs, and alternative ways for TB treatment

Studies on the zoonotic aspect of bovine TB
Studies investigating social aspects of TB



Dr Claude Sabeta

Dr Claude Sabeta is presently a Research Team Manager for Public Health and Zoonoses at the Onderstepoort Veterinary Research (Pretoria) of the Agricultural Research Council. He has been working on rabies epidemiology since 2003 and his research interests focus on rabies at the animal/human/wildlife interfaces. He is an OIE Expert for Rabies and serves as an external collaborator on the OIE Pathogen Genomic Platform project. At present, Dr Sabeta is an extra-ordinary lecturer at Veterinary Tropical Diseases (University of Pretoria). He is affiliated to the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions and is also a member of the South African Veterinary Council.

Prof Bob Swanepoel

Prof Swanepoel graduated as a veterinarian at UP in 1960, spent two years in colonial service in Malawi, and obtained a PhD in virology at Edinburgh University in 1968. Thereafter he established medical and veterinary virus laboratories in Zimbabwe before being appointed as Head of the new Special Pathogens Unit (SPU), with a biosafety level 4 (BSL4) facility, at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in Johannesburg in 1980. The unit gained recognition as a WHO Regional Collaborating Centre for Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers and Arboviruses, and Prof Swanepoel was appointed Reader (Professor) in Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers and Zoonoses, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand. He headed the SPU for 24 years and remained as Consultant on post-retirement contract for a further 7 years until taking up his present appointment in the new Zoonoses Research Unit at UP in 2011. The SPU at NICD diagnosed and participated in teams to investigate and control many disease outbreaks, including Marburg and Ebola haemorrhagic fevers, Lassa fever, Rift Valley fever and Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, in 23 countries in Africa and 10 in Europe and Asia, as far afield as Afghanistan, and identified the lethal new Lassa fever-related Lujo virus which killed health care workers in Johannesburg in 2008. Prof Swanepoel has authored or co-authored 203 publications including 151 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 32 book chapters and 20 invited articles, and reports, plus institutional and national guidelines. He has served on or headed 30 national and international committees, editorial boards and disease outbreak investigation and response teams. His national and international awards and honours include the Theiler Memorial Trust Award for contributions to Veterinary and Medical Science in Africa in 2002, and Honorary Membership of the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in 2007.


Prof Peter Thompson

Prof  Thompson qualified as a veterinarian at UP in 1990, PhD at Utrecht in 2006. Registered as Specialist in Bovine Medicine and in Veterinary Epidemiology.

Research description: Epidemiology and surveillance of infectious diseases at wildlife/livestock/human interfaces. Epidemiology of transboundary animal diseases, particularly zoonotic diseases. Epidemiology of Rift Valley fever. Effects of infectious disease on animal health and production.


Dr Wim Van Bortel 

Wim Van Bortel is a medical entomologist, PhD, with more than 25 years of experience in research on vectors and vector-borne diseases in Europe, Africa and Asia. He obtained his Master degree in Biology at the University of Antwerp Belgium in 1990 after which he specialised in Medical Entomology at the Institut Pasteur Paris. In 2002, he obtained his PhD at the University of Antwerp Belgium. From 2010 till 2016 he was Senior Expert vector-borne diseases at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control where he was Deputy Head of ECDC’s Emerging and Vector-borne Diseases Programme. Since 2017 he works at the Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp (ITM) as senior Researcher in the Unit of Entomology and in the Outbreak Research Team. His research focuses on disentangling the role of arthropod vectors in transmission systems in order to improve vector-borne diseases prevention and control in a public health context. As member of the ITM outbreak Research team he aims to enhance the understanding of what drives the transmission and spread of outbreak-prone diseases, as well as to assess different outbreak prevention and control strategies.


Prof Jan Van Den Abbeele

Jan Van Den Abbeele graduated as a zoologist and obtained a PhD in Biological Sciences at the University of Antwerp in 2001.

During this period, he was trained as a parasitologist and insect molecular biologist at the Unit of Entomology at Institute of Tropical Medicine and at the Laboratory of Molecular Parasitology (Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium) where he studied different aspects of the development of the Trypanosoma 
brucei  parasite in the tsetse fly.

Currently, he is professor at ITM and head of the Unit of Veterinary Protozoology. He is also coordinator of the Group Protozoa of the BMS department and member of the ITM Policy Commission Education.   In November 2011, he was awarded with an ERC-Starting/Consolidator Grant with the project NANOSYM: 
Symbiotic bacteria as a delivery system for Nanobodies that target the insect-parasite interplay’.

Research activities of his group focus on African trypanosomiasis aiming to understand the molecular mechanisms and evolution of drug-resistance in animal African trypanosomes and the molecular dialogue between the parasite and  the host  (tsetse fly  as well as the mammalian host)  as key component in the pathogen transmission. 
His lab is FAO-Reference Centre for Animal African Trypanosomiasis  – drug resistance and diagnosis.


Prof Marianne van der Sande

Marianne van der Sande is professor of Public Health Epidemiology and heads the Department of Public Health at ITM since July 2017. Before joining ITM, she was for 10 years State Epidemiologist of the Netherlands, heading the Centre of Epidemiology and Surveillance of Infectious Diseases at the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). Prior to that, she worked with MSF-Holland in Darfur-Sudan and Soroti-Uganda, with Memisa in Sichili-Zambia, and after obtaining an MPH at Johns Hopkins, at MRC The Gambia as medical epidemiologist. Between 2014 and 2017 she was co-director of the WHO collaborating centre AMR. Since she joined ITM, she has been active in outbreak research, both acute outbreaks, and the slow AMR outbreak, with a particular interest in development and evaluation of interventions.

Prof Henriette van Heerden

Henriette van Heerden is a associated professor in the Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases (DVTD) at UP.  At DVTD she is part of research projects in zoonotic diseases, primarily focusing on anthrax and brucellosis.  The projects are predominantly focused on bacterial zoonotic diseases with a specific emphasis on the epidemiology and diagnosis of diseases such as Brucella species and Bacillus anthracis as well as vaccine development. The aim is to improve the capability to understand, detect and control these diseases in wildlife and livestock. The strategies range from serological approaches to using genomic data to develop molecular diagnostic tools and markers.