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 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).

 

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.

Dr Mieke Stevens

Mieke Stevens graduated from Ghent University with a Doctoral Degree in Veterinary Sciences in 2012. She is an Education Coordinator for the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp with 8 years experience as an Education Coordinator (and 5 years as coordinator of the collaborative degree). She is responsible for student’s admission, curriculum, counseling and guidance. Mieke has numerous publications in scientific journals. She was prompted to enter this profession because of her passion for teaching and helping students reach their goals. In the next 3-5 years, she would like to work further on the policy component and academic management. She feels the key to her success is due to being open minded, having a good network, and being creative. She feels her greatest professional accomplishment or achievement is the collaborative degree program she negotiated with a partner in South Africa. In her spare time, Mieke enjoys traveling. 

Ms Cleo Maerivoet

Cleo has been the co-chair of ITM’s commission on decolonisation for the past 11 months. Prior to that, she was involved in ITM as a Communications officer: Events Coordinator, where she coordinated institutional events from start to finish. She also chaired the organising committee ITM Colloquium and provided support to the communications team (social media, internal and external communications, online). 

 

Ms Louise O Connor

Louise O Conner is part of the Steering/Organising Committee for the 62ND ITM

 

Mrs Rina Serfontein

Rina is a Senior Administrative Officer and postgraduate coordinator in the Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases (DVTD), Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria. and has over 27 years of experience at the institution. Rina has extensive experience working with postgraduate processes, finances, fundraising, student bursaries, and budgets. She was the acting DVTD Financial Manager from 2013-2014 and has been involved in internal, local and International liaison/collaboration as well as events planning and prosecution. Since 2005, Rina has collaborated with the Institute for Tropical Medicine (ITM), Education Unit of the Department of Biomedical Sciences, Antwerp, Belgium.

Dr Anton Baert

Anton is a Marketing, Communication and Business Development Manager with nearly 20 years of international experience in various roles ranging from middle management to senior management to partner from a corporate as well as a business level and responsibility. An expert in developing and implementing business and competition strategies and translating these strategies into daily practice within the teams. He has extensive experience in the creation and execution of marketing, sales and communication projects. From strategic branding operations to sales campaigns, both offline and online. Experience has been gained in a variety of sectors in Belgium and The Netherlands including Energy, Telecom, Tourism, Care, Training and Education. Specific knowledge of the Belgian-Dutch market and regulations.

Dr Raksha V Bhoora

Raksha Bhoora is a Senior lecturer at the Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, within the Vectors and Vector-borne diseases research programme. After obtaining her PhD in Veterinary Parasitology at the University of Pretoria in 2010, she completed a two-year post-doc at CSIR Molecular Biomaterials. In 2012 she was appointed as a Researcher within the Transboundary Animal Disease Programme (TADP) at ARC-Onderstepoort Veterinary Research (ARC-OVR). During that time, she worked on a Vaccine development initiative project on Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD). In 2015 she was appointed as a Senior Researcher at the Epidemiology, Parasites and Vectors (EPV) Programme (ARC-OVR), where she was involved in the development of improved molecular assays for economically relevant diseases of veterinary importance. Although she has worked on other systems (Trypanosomiasis (Nagana and Dourine); Anaplasmosis; Babesiosis and Theileriosis), her current model and the research system that she continues to develop is equine piroplasmosis (Theileria equi and Babesia caballi).

Dr Aqil Jeenah

My interest in One Health was sparked during my daily dinner conversation at home with both of my parents. This interest grew during my veterinary undergraduate degree where I was exposed to many similarities between human and animal health problems.

During my undergraduate studies I was fortunate enough to have been exposed and involved within multiple global organisations such as the World Health Organisation, World Veterinary Association and One Health Commission. These interactions allowed my interest in One Health, global and public health to grow and provide the foundation for my future career in research and academics.

After completion of my undergraduate studies I began studying towards an MSc in One Health while completing my community service(CCS) year in the Eastern Cape (EC) province of South Africa. During my time in the EC I was further exposed to the health inequalities that exist in rural areas, and how veterinarians can play an important role in the health of both humans and animals in these areas.

After completing my CCS year, I returned to the faculty initially as a clinical veterinarian and then as a lecturer. My research focus is evaluating the impact of zoonosis on human health care systems, in addition to understanding the role that the environmental improvements can lead to degradation in health

Ms Nokuzola Nkosi

Nkosi Faith is a BSc (Hons) degree holder obtained at University of Zululand in year 2009. During the year 2010 she worked as a DST-NRF intern at Mintek. In year 2011 September joined Agricultural Research Council (OVI) as Senior Research Technicians in which she served for 5 years and is currently a Senior Research Assistant in the Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, University of Pretoria.

 

Ms Linda Poggenpoel

Linda is responsible for instructional design, web-based modules, ClickUP support for lecturers and students, and the departmental website at the Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases. 

 

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.

Prof Kgomotso Sibeko-Matjila

Kgomotso Sibeko obtained her BSc., BSc. (honours) and MSc. degrees at the University of Limpopo. She worked as a Senior Research Officer in the School of Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of the Witwatersrand from 1999. In 2004 she started her Doctoral studies at the University of Pretoria and recently obtained her Ph.D. in Veterinary Tropical Diseases. She is currently a Research Officer in the Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases at the Faculty of Veterinary Science. She has an NRF-rating of Y2.