'The Department of Animal and Wildlife Sciences is committed to work as a team to ensure the training of animal scientists possessing graduate attributes envisaged by the University of Pretoria (UP). Within these challenging times that we are experiencing, our vision is to perform multidisciplinary research in Animal Breeding and Genetics, Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition that are relevant to the South African livestock industry.'
This in a nutshell is the vision of Prof Este van Marle-Koster, who is the new Head of the Department of Animal and Wildlife Sciences since 1 September 2016. She succeeds Prof Eddie Webb, who is now the Acting Deputy Dean: Research and Postgraduate Education in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.
She holds a PhD in Animal Science, with specialisation in Animal Breeding and Genetics, from the University of Pretoria. Prior to this, she received a master's and honours degree from the University of the Free State in Animal Breeding, and a BSc (Agric) Animal Science from the University of Pretoria.
Prof Van Marle-Koster has been involved in teaching and research for the past 21 years. Her research focuses on the application of DNA markers and genomics in the genetic improvement of livestock. She is the co-ordinator of the sub-committee for research in the Beef Genomic Programme, and acts as the coordinator for the Dairy Genomic Programme funded by the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA). She has published widely in peer-reviewed journals and contributed to book chapters. She has supervised several master's and doctoral students to completion.
She holds a C2 rating from the NRF and is a registered Professional Animal Scientist with the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP). She serves as the current Vice-President of the South African Society for Animal Science.
Prof Van Marle-Koster's appointment comes at a time when the visibility of agriculture, including the active and effective presence of the Department of Animal and Wildlife Sciences on the Hatfield Experimental Farm, is a priority for the Faculty. The Faculty will benefit from Prof Van Marle-Koster's expertise to achieve this goal and to make the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences a leading research-intensive faculty in Africa.