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Professor Marietjie Venter

Professor Marietjie Venter

Department Medical Virology

[email protected]

Respiratory and Zoonotic vector borne viruses associated with pneumonia and neurological infections respectively in humans and animal

Prof Venter was educated up to MSc level at the University of Pretoria with a BSc in molecular biology and BSc(Hons) and MSc  in genetics before she pursued a PhD in Medical Virology at the University of the Witwatersrand. She also obtained postdoctoral training at the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, of the National Institutes of Health in the USA on microarray technology.
In 1999 she started a career as Medical Scientist and Virologist at the National Institute for Communicable diseases as head of the Respiratory Syncytial virus laboratory and later cloning laboratory in the Special Pathogens Unit. She joined the University of Pretoria, Department Medical virology in 2005 and established a programme on Respiratory and Zoonotic viruses. In 2009 she accepted a joint appointed as Associate Professor in the Department Medical Virology as head of the Zoonoses Research Unit, and the National Institute for Communicable diseases where she is head of the Centre of Respiratory diseases and Meningitis, Virology.

Professor Venter obtained a C2 rating as an established researcher at a young age from the NRF and won the T W Kambule NRF-NSTF Awards in 2013: Individual for an Outstanding Contribution to SETI through Research and its Outputs over the last 5 to 10 years. She has published over 45 papers in international journals in the last 10 years and wrote review articles and book chapters in the fields of respiratory- and arboviruses. She is a reviewer to several international journals, director of the National Influenza Centre and a member of the Global Influenza Surveillance Network of the World health organisation, and several local and international societies, including the International Infectious Disease Society.

IRT-related research

Prof Venter leads the Zoonoses Research Unit (ZRU) at UP and the Centre for Respiratory diseases and meningitis at the NICD. Other senior researchers in the ZRU include leading virologist and ecologist, Prof Bob Swanepoel and Leo Braack. The ZRU have an extensive research programme in vector borne viral diseases with projects in the fields of molecular epidemiology, virus discovery, genomics, vaccines, ecology and pathogenesis of emerging vector-borne viruses associated with neurological disease in humans and animals.  At the NICD, the CRDM virology group has projects on the surveillance, molecular epidemiology and genomics of viruses associated with pneumonia.

Key Publications

1. Marthi A. Pretorius, Stephanie van Niekerk; Stefano Tempia; Cheryl Cohen, Shabir A. Madhi, Marietjie Venter. Replacement and positive evolution of subtype A and B Respiratory Syncytial Virus G-protein genotypes from 1997-2012 in South Africa.J. Infectious diseases (in press)
2. Venter M, Naidoo D, Pretorius M, Buys A, McAnerney J, Blumberg L, Madhi SA,Cohen C, Schoub B. Evolutionary Dynamics of 2009 Pandemic Influenza A Virus Subtype H1N1 in South Africa During 2009-2010. J Infect Dis. 2012 Dec; 206 Suppl 1:S166-72.
3. Venter M*, Human S, Zaayman D, Gerdes G.H,. Williams, J, Steyl, J, Leman, PA, Paweska J.T, Setzkorn, H, Rous G, Murray S, Parker R, Donnellan Cynthia, and Swanepoel, R. Lineage 2 West Nile Virus as Cause of Fatal Neurologic Disease in Horses, South Africa. Emerging Infectious Diseases. Volume 15, Number 6–June 2009 ;)
4. Venter M*; Burt F.J, Leman P.A, Blumberg L, Fikl H, Paweska, J, Swanepoel R. Cytokine induction after laboratory-acquired West Nile virus infection.(New England Journal of Medicine. 2009 Mar 19;360(12):1260-2.)


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