NE Collins

Dr NE Collins

BSc (Wits) BSc (Hons)(Wits) PhD (Wits)
Extraordinary Lecturer: Molecular Biology

Dr Nicola Collins

Office
Room 2-41
Paraclinical Building

Postal address
Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases
Faculty of Veterinary Science
P/Bag X04, Onderstepoort 0110, South Africa

Telephone
+27 12 529 8022

Email
[email protected]

Biography

Nicola Collins was educated at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.  In 1992 she joined the Agricultural Research Council – Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute where she completed her Ph.D.  Following a post doctoral fellowship in 1999 at the Center for Biomedical Inventions, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, USA, she returned to the ARC-OVI where she was appointed leader of research projects in the Heartwater Programme.  She joined the Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, University of Pretoria in 2003 where she currently holds a part-time appointment.

Subjects taught at undergraduate and postgraduate levels

  • Recombinant vaccine development for heartwater
  • Development of molecular diagnostic tests for piroplasm parasites
  • Molecular characterization of piroplasm parasites

Research interests

Dr Collins’ research career has mainly focused on molecular studies of haemoparasites of veterinary importance.  She was one of the principal researchers involved in the sequencing of the 1.5 Mb Ehrlichia ruminantium genome, which was published in January 2005 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America; in 2005 this journal had an impact factor of 10.231. The E. ruminantium genome sequence was the first bacterial genome to be completed in Africa, and was a major achievement for all the researchers involved. It will be an invaluable resource in future heartwater research. 

She has also been involved in the development of molecular diagnostic tests for Theileria parvaTheileria equi and Babesia caballi and in the molecular characterization of these parasites.  Her research revealed the existence of genetic and serological heterogeneity in T. equi and B. caballi parasites in South Africa, which explains the failure of many molecular and serological tests to detect these parasites in field samples in this country. Other projects include the identification T. parva carrier cattle in the Mnisi Community Area and the characterization of T. parva parasites identified, as well as studying the time-course of tick-borne haemoparasite infection in calves at the wildlife-livestock interface in the Mnisi Community.

Her current research includes the molecular characterization of vaccine candidates from Anaplasma marginale strains in South Africa in collaboration with Dr Kelly Brayton (Washington State University, USA) and Dr Sibusiso Mtshali (NRF-National Zoological Gardens, Pretoria).  Recently, in vitro cultures of South African A. marginale strainshave been established in embryonic tick cell lines in collaboration with researchers at the ARC-OVI.  Dr Collins is also working in collaboration with Dr Marinda Oosthuizen on the characterization of A. marginale and A. centrale in cattle and buffalo, and the identification of zoonotic tick-borne pathogens.

Postgraduate Students (2013-2019)

Students Supervised

Name of student

Degree

Title of thesis

Supervisor

Co-supervisor(s)

First year of registration

Graduation

Alri Pretorius

Ph.D.

Aspects of the immune response in ruminants to four protective Ehrlichia ruminantium gene products

Self

Prof B.A. Allsopp (University of Pretoria)

2003

November 2007

Kgomotso P Sibeko

Ph.D.

Validation of tests for mixed Theileria species infections in African buffaloes and cattle

Self

Dr M.C. Oosthuizen (University of Pretoria)
Prof D. Geysen (Institute for Tropical Medicine, Antwerp)
Prof A. Latif (Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute)

2004

April 2010

Raksha Bhoora

Ph.D.

Molecular characterization of Theileria equi and Babesia caballi, the causative agents of equine piroplsmosis

Self

Prof B. Penzhorn (University of Pretoria)
Prof A.J. Guthrie (University of Pretoria)

2005

April 2010

Jeanine Uys

B.Sc. (Hons)

Identification and characterization of a Babesia species found in hyaena

Self

Prof B. Penzhorn (University of Pretoria)
Dr M.C. Oosthuizen (University of Pretoria)

2006

April 2007

Evalyne N Njiiri

Web-based M.Sc.

The occurrence of Ehrlichia ruminantium and other haemoparasites in calves in western Kenya as determined by the reverse line blot hybridization assay, real-time PCR and nested PCR

Self

Dr M.C. Oosthuizen (University of Pretoria)
Dr K.P. Sibeko (University of Pretoria)
Dr P. Toye (ILRI, Kenya)

2010

April 2013

W Heinrich Stoltsz

M.Sc.

Aspects of the epidemiology of Theileria parva infections in cattle and African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) in South Africa revealed by tick transmission and sub-inoculation of blood

Self

Prof B. Penzhorn (University of Pretoria)

2011

April 2012

Chimvwele N Choopa

M.Sc.

A retrospective study to identify target areas to sample for Theileria parva carrier cattle and molecular characterisation of T. parva positive samples identified

Self

Dr D. Knobel (University of Pretoria)
Dr D. Geysen (Institute for Tropical Medicine, Antwerp)

2012

April 2016

Paidashe Hove

Ph.D.

Molecular characterisation of potential vaccine candidates from Anaplasma marginale strains in South Africa

Self

Dr M.C. Oosthuizen (University of Pretoria)
Dr K.A. Brayton (Washington State University)
Dr S.M. Mtshali (National Zoological Gardens)

2013

September 2018

Janine Baxter

B.Sc. (Hons)

Genetic diversity of Anaplasma marginale and Anaplasma marginale subspecies centrale in South Africa

Self

Dr M.E. Chaisi (University of Pretoria)

2014

April 2015

Sizanobuhle Phili

Web-based M.Sc.

Occurrence and genetic diversity of Anaplasma marginale in cattle from two diptanks in Zambezia Province, Mozambique

Self

Dr M.E. Chaisi (University of Pretoria)

2015

September 2017

Marcus Makgabo

M.Sc.

Tick-borne disease dynamics in calves at the wildlife-livestock interface in the Mnisi Community Programme (MCP) area, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa.

Self

Dr K.A. Brayton (Washington State University)
Dr L. Biggs (University of Pretoria)

2016

April 2019

Marcus Makgabo

Ph.D.

 

Self

Dr K. Brayton (Washington State University)
Dr J Fehrsen (ARC-OVI)

2019

 

Bianca Bezuidenhout

M.Sc.

 

Self

Dr Luis Neves

2019

 

Students Co-supervised

Name of student

Degree

Title of thesis

Supervisor

Co-supervisor(s)

First year of registration

Graduation

Junita Liebenberg

Ph.D.

Identification of vaccine candidate genes from the genomic analysis of Ehrlichia ruminantium

Prof B.A. Allsopp (University of Pretoria)

Self

2006

November 2010

Cassandra Olds

M.Sc.

The isolation and characterization of a pathogenic Babesia bovis stock from outbreaks for use in immunization

Prof A. Latif (Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute)

Self

2006

November 2008

Saira Yusufmia

Web-based M.Sc.

The prevalance of theileriosis at the edge of Hluhluwe-iMfolozi park, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Prof B. Penzhorn (University of Pretoria)

Self

2006

November 2009

Peter S Brothers

Web-based M.Sc.

Occurrence of blood-borne tick-transmitted parasites in tsessebe (Damaliscus lunatus lunatus) antelope, in Vaalbos National Park, South Africa

Prof B. Penzhorn (University of Pretoria)

Self

2006

April 2009

Mamohale E Chaisi

Ph.D.

Diversity of Theileria parva parasites in African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) and the challenge of differential diagnosis

Dr M.C. Oosthuizen (University of Pretoria)

Self

2007

April 2012

Elizabeth M Debeila

M. Sc.

Occurence of Anaplasma and Ehrlichia species in African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) inKruger National Park and Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park in South Africa

Dr M.C. Oosthuizen (University of Pretoria)

Self
Dr T.P. Matjila (University of Pretoria)

2009

April 2013

Stephen Tembo

Web-based M.Sc.

Occurrence of tick-borne haemoparasites in cattle in the Mungwi District, Northern Province, Zambia

Dr M.C. Oosthuizen (University of Pretoria)

Self
Dr K.P. Sibeko (University of Pretoria)

2010

April 2013

Dewald Eygelaar

M.Sc.

The characterization of Theileria parva in buffalo (Syncerus caffer) from Botswana using the p67, p104 and polymorphic immunodominant molecule (PIM) genes and polymorphic microsatellites

Dr M.C. Oosthuizen (University of Pretoria)

Self
Dr F. Jori (University of Pretoria)

2012

April 2016

Zamantungwa Khumalo

Ph.D.

Anaplasma centrale in South Africa: occurrence, phylogeny and genetic diversity

Dr M.C. Oosthuizen (University of Pretoria)

Self
Dr K.A. Brayton (Washington State University)

2013

April 2018

Charles Byaruhanga

Ph.D.

Epidemiology and tick-borne haemoparasite diversity amongst transhumant zebu cattle in Karamoja Region, Uganda

Dr M.C. Oosthuizen (University of Pretoria)

Self
Dr D. Knobel (University of Pretoria)

2013

April 2017

Teboho Tsotetsi

M.Sc.

Validation of expression profiles of differentially expressed transcripts identified in cattle-derived and buffalo-derived Theileria parva isolates by RNA sequencing

Dr K.P. Sibeko (University of Pretoria)

Self
Dr M.C. Oosthuizen (University of Pretoria)

2013

September 2017

Trevor Molemane

M.Sc.

 

Dr K.P. Sibeko (University of Pretoria)

Self

2013

 

Nicole Liesching

Web-based M.Sc.

Molecular detection of tick-borne haemoparasites in selected wild ruminant species in South Africa

Dr M.C. Oosthuizen (University of Pretoria)

Self

2013

April 2015

Gloria Patsanza

Ph.D.

 

Dr K.P. Sibeko (University of Pretoria)

Self

2014

 

Itumeleng Setshedi

Ph.D.

 

Dr K.P. Sibeko (University of Pretoria)

Self

2014

De-registered

Agatha Kolo

Ph.D.

Detection of zoonotic bacterial pathogens in multiple hosts using a microbiome approach and molecular characterization of Anaplasma phagocytophilum

Dr M.C. Oosthuizen (University of Pretoria)

Self
Dr K.A. Brayton (Washington State University)

2015

September 2019

Research output/publications

Click here to view a list of publications.

Published by Linda Poggenpoel

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