Vector and vector-borne diseases research programme

The Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases (DVTD) has a long tradition of research and training on vectors and vector borne diseases. This research includes comprehensive work on African tick taxonomy and ecology; an extensive collection of scientific publications on haemoparasites of African wildlife, livestock and companion animals; and the pioneer research on arboviruses and their vectors. This clearly indicates the core position that the topic- vectors and vector borne diseases-represents in the context of the scientific and academic activities of DVTD.

The establishment of the Vectors and Vector Borne Diseases (VVBD) Research Program intends to contribute to the strengthening of DVTD’s research position in this area by increasing the quantity and quality of research outputs and promoting the intensification of research interactions as well as the synergic effects of multidisciplinarity, both nationally and internationally.

Furthermore, through the creation of a vibrant research environment, the VVBD-Research Program expects to contribute substantially to the department aspirations of being recognized in Africa and worldwide as a reference center for training in the area of vectors, vector borne diseases and vector-pathogen interactions.

The Vectors and Vector Borne Diseases Research Program counts with the contribution of 12 academics, 3 postdoctoral fellows, 4 technologists and approximately 60 postgraduate students registered either for PhD or MSc. degrees. Currently, the major strengths of the program lie on the diagnostic and molecular epidemiology of vector borne viral diseases, ticks and tick borne pathogens of livestock and wildlife.

Moreover, in order to maximise relevance, our research program will explore the comparative advantages emanating from our geographic location (southern Africa), the uniqueness of livestock-wildlife-human interfaces of our region and the pool of expertise and high quality infrastructures available at DVTD, other departments of the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences and research platforms available at the University of Pretoria.   In the pursuit of our research endeavours, special attention will be given to the establishment of national and international partnerships and to the consolidation of our special position as a facilitator and intermediary of North-South scientific collaboration, including sustainable processes of technology transfer. In this context, the empowerment of regional research groups through training and the expansion and strengthening of regional networks will be prioritized.

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