Get to know some of the researchers at the University of the Free State whose work is inspiring excellence and transforming lives globally.

In addition to the experts listed below, the UFS also boasts a unique research centre: The International Studies Group (ISG), which comprises  a wide network of postgraduate researchers each with their own specialist field.

To arrange an interview with any of our experts, please contact our media office at

Prof Felicity Burt
Area of expertise: Medical Virology
Faculty/Department: Health Sciences, Medical Microbiology

Prof Felicity Burt is from the Division of Virology, in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Free State (UFS) and National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS). She currently holds a NRF-DST South African Research Chair in vector-borne and zoonotic diseases. Professor Burt and her research group investigate arboviruses and zoonotic viruses.

The research primarily focuses on host immune responses to arboviral infections specifically characterising humoral and cellular immune responses in patients with infections such as Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) virus and Sindbis virus; epitope discovery for development of diagnostic tools; development of molecular and serological assays for surveillance purposes; virus discovery; and development of vaccines. Raising awareness of these viruses, defining associated diseases and developing tools for surveillance programmes will contribute to understanding these pathogens and the public health implications.

Arboviruses cause outbreaks of disease in South Africa annually. Outbreaks are usually associated with heavy-rainfall favouring mosquito-breeding, but these viruses also have the capacity to spread and become endemic in new areas where competent vectors are present. In addition, she is leads a research group that investigates human papilloma viruses (HPV) associated with head and neck cancers and recurrent laryngeal papillomas.

The focus of this research group is to ascertain the genotypes of HPV causing these diseases, identification of novel biomarkers for early detection and complete genome sequencing for molecular characterisation of HPV isolates.

Contact Details:
Telephone: +27 76 850 5160


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