Microbiology History

The history of the current division of Microbiology is closely linked to the history of the University of Pretoria. The first department of Agricultural Plant Sciences (Lanbouplantkunde) was already established in 1917 under the leadership of Prof James Hector. During the early years the research and teaching focus was primarily on agricultural crops. In 1944 the department was renamed to the Department of Plant Disease Studies and Microbiology (Plantsiekteleer en Mikrobiologie) when the agronomy related research was moved to another department. During the following years the focus on plant diseases was expanded to include study areas such as microbial ecology and food microbiology. In 1971 Plant Pathology and Microbiology were split into two separate departments but was again integrated in 1974 when the university took full control of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences. In 2015 Plant Pathology moved to the new department of Plant and Soil Science. Soon afterwards in 2018 Microbiology merged with the departments of Biochemistry and Genetics to form the current department.

Previous HOD's

Prof J. M. Hector (1917 – 1944)
Prof B. J. Dippenaar (1944 – 1958)
Prof P. M. le Roux (1958 – 1968)
Prof J. M. Kotze (1968 – 1994)
Prof P.L. Steyn (1971 – 1974)
Prof T. E. Cloete (1994 – 2008)
Prof H. Huismans (2008 – 2010) - acting
Prof S. N Venter (2010 – 2016)
Prof L. Moleleki (2016 – 2018) – acting

Divisional Heads (2018 - )
Prof L. Moleleki (2018 – 2019)
Prof J. Theron (2020 - 2022)
Prof M Thantsha (2022 - )

More detailed information – Excerpts from Ad Destinatum (Volumes I – V)

- Author Prof SN Venter

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