Deputy Dean: Research and Postgraduate Studies

Message from the Deputy Dean: Research and Postgraduate Studies, Prof Marinda Oosthuizen

The Faculty of Veterinary Science has a proud tradition of training professionals to promote animal health that impacts directly on human health, thereby stimulating economic growth and food security.

We are also proud that the discipline “veterinary science” featured as one of the higher QS ranked subject fields at the University of Pretoria in 2022; ranked in the 51-60 global band. We ranked 51-75 in the global Shanghai rankings, and first in Africa. To continue improving the faculty’s rankings and enhance its reputation as a leading veterinary school, we will continue delivering innovative and relevant research, generating high-impact   publications, offering high-quality postgraduate training and growing the research status of the faculty. The faculty is committed to promoting transdisciplinary research, which can help to foster collaboration across different fields and disciplines. By doing so, the faculty can tackle complex challenges and make a greater impact on society.

We value our postgraduate students and strive to create an enabling environment that promotes success, well-being, and a positive learning experience.

I strongly believe that the postgraduate student experience should be much more than simply graduating. We ideally want our students to graduate with a passion for learning and research, to achieve their research potential, to have built a network of valuable contacts, to have a deep understanding of academic integrity and other professional standards, and to provide them with a skillset useful in a wide range of related careers.

There are countless factors that influence the postgraduate student experience, beyond those issues which are purely academic, and which impact on both the quality of the experience and the probability of retention. These factors include a feeling of isolation especially in the initial year of study, emotional stress and financial stress. We, therefore, have a responsibility to ensure that the best possible support is offered to our students. The faculty will continue to support our students with these difficulties and also create new initiatives to address the challenges our students face.

Prof Marinda Oosthuizen was appointed as new Deputy Dean: Research and Postgraduate Studies with effect from 1 July 2019. Her term was renewed in July 2023.

Prof Oosthuizen is a foremost scientist in the field of veterinary molecular parasitology; a scarce skill in South Africa. Her research focuses on tick-borne pathogen discovery, molecular characterization of novel tick-borne haemoparasites and molecular diagnostic assay development. She has a special interest in zoonotic infections transmitted from wildlife reservoir species to humans and domestic animals at the human/livestock/wildlife interface in rural South Africa. To date her research findings have contributed significantly to progress in the field of tick-borne disease research in South Africa, and further afield. Her research has a strong public health relevance and integrates cutting-edge molecular technologies as well as applied research.

With a National Research Foundation C2 rating, Prof Oosthuizen is the author of 60 peer-reviewed publications, including papers in leading international journals such as Science Advances, Parasites & Vectors, Journal of Clinical Microbiology and International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. She is frequently invited as guest lecturer by several international institutes; and has presented her research findings at numerous national and international conferences. She has been very successful in securing national and international research funding; as principal investigator, she was recently awarded USA National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding within the International Research in Infectious Diseases programme in collaboration with Washington State University.

She obtained her BSc (Agric), BSc (Agric) (Hons) and MSc degrees cum laude with specialization in Microbiology from the University of Pretoria in the early 1990s. Her PhD was awarded by the University of Pretoria in 1998. During 1999 to 2002 she completed two postdoctoral fellowships at the University of the Witwatersrand and University of Pretoria, respectively. In 2003 she joined the Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases (DVTD), Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria as a postdoctoral fellow, but was soon thereafter appointed as Senior Researcher. She was appointed as Senior Lecturer in 2009, promoted to Associate Professor in 2012 and to full Professor in January 2016. 

Click here for Prof Oosthuizen's full CV


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