Animal TB
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Division of Molecular Biology & Human Genetics


Animal TB


Postdoctoral Fellow

Tanya Kerr 
studied Conservation Ecology and worked at Shamwari Game Reserve before doing her PhD at Stellenbosch University. Her research focused on the molecular epidemiology and the evolution of Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) in African lions and leopards in the Kruger National Park. She joined the Animal TB Group in 2017 is investigating TB/FIV co-infection in African felids.


PhD Students

Taimé​ Sylvester did an Mtech in Biomedical Science at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) investigating the protective effects of kolaviron, an extract of the Garcinia kola seed widely consumed in Central and West Africa, in an isolated perfused rat heart model. She has also worked in diagnostic laboratories in Namibia and The Netherlands and has taught Immunology and Cellular Biology at CPUT. Her PhD project aims to characterize the immunology of TB-FIV co-infection in African lions.



Netanya Bernitz did her MSc at the University of Cape Town working on HIV-1 subtype C. She then worked as a Molecular Biology Product Specialist before begining her PhD. Her project aims to characterize the in vitro cell-mediated immune response of cattle and buffaloes in order to discover novel approaches to the diagnosis of Mycobacterium bovis infection. Netanya is an officer on the Tygerberg Postgraduate Student Council. Orcid: 0000-0003-1199-7005



Eduard Roos did his undergraduate and BSc (Hons) studies in zoology. After starting his research as an MSc he has upgraded to a PhD Molecular Biology. This project focuses on the development of novel diagnostic techniques for the detection of Mycobacterium bovis in warthogs as well as the epidemiology of TB in this species. Eduard is an officer on the Tygerberg Postgraduate Student Council.  Orcid: 0000-0002-3679-4995



Josephine-Chileshe.jpgJosephine Chileshe did her MSc in Veterinary Science at the University of Pretoria. She then worked as a lab manager at a diagnostic veterinary laboratory in Zambia before starting her PhD in the Animal TB group. Her project aims to identify biomarkers and develop diagnostic tests for Mycobacterium bovis infection in African rhinoceros.  

MSc Students

 Yessica Fitzermann completed her BSc in Nanoscience at University of Tübingen in Germany. Her research aims to sequence and analyse the whole genome of Mycobacterium mungi, Mycobacterium suricattae and the dassie bacillus. These pathogens cause TB in mongooses, meerkats and rock hyraxes.





Roxanne Higgitt completed her BSc in Zoology and Botany at Rhodes University, after which she worked in multiple labs in the Rhodes University Botany Department. Having discovered an interest in Molecular Biology during her part-time work in the Botany labs, she enrolled at Stellenbosch University to complete her honours, during which she investigated the usefulness of various chemokines as biomarkers for detection of bovine TB in M. bovis exposed spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta). Her Master's research aims to develop a single multiplex qPCR for detection of bovine TB exposure in multiple species. Additionally, she will characterize the antigen-stimulated immune response to bovine TB in two African wildlife species.

Hons Students

Manana-Dlangalala.jpgManana Dlangalala majored in Genetics and Microbiology for her BSc at Stellenbosch University. Her Honours project focuses on developing a PCR assay to measure Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) viral load in lions.

Candice de Waal
 majored in Biochemistry and Genetics for her BSc at Stellenbosch University. Her Honours project will focus on developing a real time PCR assay to genotype species of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex.