Professor Estelle Venter
Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases
Orbiviruses and lumpy skin disease virus
Estelle Venter was born in Bloemfontein and matriculated in 1977. She then registered for a BSc degree at the University of the Orange Free State with major subjects Microbiology and Biochemistry which she obtained cum laude. She obtained her Masters degree in 1984 and in 1993 she obtained a PhD with a thesis entitled “The development of a group-specific diagnostic probe for the detection of the 24 serotypes of bluetongue virus. She was appointed as Senior Lecturer in the Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases in 1988 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1997. She also obtained a Y- NRF rating in 1998. Research findings have been presented at 36 international conferences and 75 national conferences. She is the author/co-author of 46 scientific publications. During the past five years she refereed 19 manuscripts, five of which were for the Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research, one for Theriogenology, one for Medical and Veterinary Entomology, four for Veterinary Microbiology, one for African Journal of Biotechnology, one for BioMed Central (BMC) Veterinary Research, one for Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases and six for the Journal of the South African Veterinary Association. She was a referee for four Grant proposals of the NRF, and has assisted in the rating process of seven scientists. To date 28 postgraduate students completed their studies under her supervision/co-supervision; 2 BSc(Hons), 21 MSc and 5 PhD candidates. Currently 1 BSc (Agric Hons), 5 MSc and 3 PhD candidates are enrolled under her supervision/co-supervision. She is a NRF C2 rated scientist.
Bluetongue is an economical important endemic disease in South Africa and recently caused major outbreaks in Europe. The characteristics of reassortants of BTV serotype 6 vaccine strain with the European BTV serotype 8 strain are evaluated. Transplacental crossing of BTV 8 in SA goats has been established. Lumpy skin disease is an economic important viral disease of cattle of all breeds occurring in Africa and parts of the Middle-East. The disease is of economic importance due to its association with abortions, reduced fertility in males and females, weight loss and a sharp drop in milk yield during outbreaks. Ulceration of nodular pox lesions leaves permanent scars which decrease the value of the hides for use in the leather industry. She has investigated aspects of lumpy skin disease virus infection, including detection, transmission, vector studies, antibody protection, secretion and its effect on semen.
Current and Future Research Focus: In vitro, cell-virus interaction and in vivo virulence studies using reassortant BTV’s as well as oral susceptibility studies in the Culicoides vector using reassortant viruses will be evaluated. Lumpy skin disease virus virogenesis studies in ticks are in progress.
Tuppurainen E S M, Stoltsz H, Troskie M, Wallace, D B, Oura C, Mellor P S, Coetzer J A W and Venter E H (2011). A potential role for hard (ixodid) tick vectors in the transmission of lumpy skin disease virus in cattle Transboundary and Emerging Diseases 58 (2), 93 – 104.
Venter Estelle H, Gerdes T, Wright I and Terblanche J (2011). An investigation into the possibility of bluetongue virus transmission by transfer of infected ovine embryos. Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research 78(1): Art. #17, 7 pages. DOI information:10.4102/ojvr.v78i1.17.
Modumo J and Venter E H (2012). Determination of the minimum protective dose for bluetongue virus serotypes 2 and 8 vaccines in sheep. Journal of South African Veterinary Association 83(1), Art.#17, 6 pages. /dx.doi.org/10.4102/jsava. V83i1.17.