Prof Robert Bragg
Microbiology and Biochemistry
IB 61

Short CV

Post school education


  1. B.Sc. degree with Microbiology and Zoology as Major subjects obtained December 1981 from The University of the Witwatersrand.
  2. B.Sc (Hons) degree in Microbiology obtained December 1982 from the University of the Witwatersrand. Subjects: Applied Bacteriology & Applied Virology.  
  3. M.Sc. degree in Microbiology obtained December 1989 from the University of the Witwatersrand. Title of Thesis: Isolation and identification of infectious pancreatic necrosis virus from rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri) in South Africa.
  4. 4. PhD degree obtained May 1996 from the University of Pretoria. Title of thesis: Monoclonal antibody detection of growth stage and isolate dependent antigen expression in Haemophilus paragallinarum.


I started working at the Veterinary Research Institute at Onderstepoort in 1982. My main research activity was the microbial disease of fish. I left OVI in 1992 to take up a post as Head of Research in the Poultry Department of the Faculty of Veterinary Science of the University of Pretoria. I left UP in June 1998 to take up my current position at UFS. 

Scientific outputs

Since starting at UFS, I have been involved with 11 PhD (4 of who are still in process); 28 M.Sc. (6 of who are still in process) and 45 B.Sc. (Hons) (4 of who are still in process in 2017.

I have published widely on both diseases of fish as well as diseases of Poultry. I have published 70 articles in peer reviewed Journals as well as 9 published conference proceedings. I have also attended numerous conferences (both locally and international) and have been an invited speaker at 8 international conference. Members of my research group and I have presented 59 oral presentations and 51 posters at 37 international conferences. In 2017, I attended the International Union of Microbiological Societies congress in Singapore. 5 other group members also attended this congress. A total of 9 people from my research group also attended the World Veterinary Poultry Association Congress i


Publications (Short List)

Publications in the last 10 years

Varsani, A., de Villiers, G.K., Regnard, G.L., Bragg, R.R., Kondiah, K., Hitzeroth, I.I., Rybicki, E.P., 2010. A unique isolate of beak and feather disease virus isolated from budgerigars ( Melopsittacus undulates) in South Africa. Arch Virol. 155 (3) 435 – 439. (DOI 10.1007/s00705-010-0589-0)


Boucher, C.E., Bragg, R.R. & Albertyn, J., 2010.  An alternative method for the establishment of virulence of Newcastle disease virus isolates. African Journal of Microbiology Research, 4 (19) 2313 – 2317 (


Eyre, D., Varsani. A., Regnard, G., Hitzeroth, I. Bragg, R.R. & Rybicki. E., 2011.Global genetic diversity and geographical and  host-species distribution of beak and feather disease virus isolates. Journal of General Virology, 92 (4) 752 – 767.  


Bekker, A.,  Hugo, C., Albertyn, J. & Boucher, C.E. Bragg, R.R., 2011 Pathogenic Gram-positive cocci in South African rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss L. Journal of Fish Diseases, 34, 483 – 487.


Van der Westhuizen, W. & Bragg, R.R., 2012.  Using Multiplex PCR to screen avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) for virulence genes. Avian Pathology, 41:1, 33 – 40


Roodt, Y., Bragg, R.R. and Albertyn, J., 2012. Identification of pro-phages and pro-phage like genetic features within Avibacterium paragallinarum. Sequencing Volume 2012, Article ID 953609, 1 - 5 pages doi:10.1155/2012/


Jansen, A.C., Boucher, C.E., Coetsee, E., Kock, J.F.L., van Wyk, P.W.J.,  Hendrik C. Swart, H.C. & Bragg, R.R., 2013, The influence of Didecyldimethylammonium Chloride on the morphology and elemental composition of Staphylococcus aureus as determined by NanoSAM. Scientific Research and Essays Vol. 8(3), pp. 152 -160, 18 January, 2013. Available online at DOI: 10.5897/SRE12.614


Bragg, R.R. & Kock, J.F.L. 2013. Nanomedicine and Infectious Diseases. Expert Rev. Anti Infect. Ther. 11(4), 359–361.


Van der Westhuizen,W., Kock, J.L.F., Coetsee, E., van Wyk, P.W.J., Swart, H.C., Bragg, R.R., 2013. Investigation of the final stages of a P4-like coliphage infection in Eschericjia coli through scanning, transmission and nano-scanning-auger electron microscopy (NanoSAM). Scientific Research and Essays, Vol 8 (10), 382-387.


E.K. Barbour, H. Shaib, E. Azhar, T. Kumosani, A. Iyer, S. Harakeh, G. Damanhouri, A. Chaudary & R.R. Bragg (2013). Modulation by essential oil of vaccine response and production improvement in chicken challenged with velogenic Newcastle disease virus. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 115 (6) 1278 – 1288 doi:10.1111/jam.12334.  Hybrid Code -  CESM code – 13, Impact factor – 2.196


Serena A. Moretti 1 Charlotte E. Boucher 1 and Robert R. Bragg (2013). Molecular characterization of Mycoplasma gallisepticum genotypes from chickens in Zimbabwe and South Africa.South African Journal of Science. Volume 109, Issue 11-12


Robert Bragg*, Arina Jansen, Marisa Coetzee,  Wouter van der Westhuizen, and Charlotte Boucher (2014). Bacterial resistance to quaternary ammonium compounds (QAC) disinfectants. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 808 Pages 1 – 13. DOI: 10.1007/978-81-322-1774-9_1, Hybrid Code -  CESM code – 13, Impact factor – 1.825


Robert Bragg*, Wouter van der Westhuizen, Ji-Yun Lee , Elke Coetsee and Charlotte Boucher (2014). Bacteriophages as Potential Treatment Option for  Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 807, 97-110  DOI: 10.1007/978-81-322-1777-0_7


Charlotte E. Boucher1 Chrispian Theron and Robert R. Bragg. Transcriptional profiling of chicken immunity-related genes during infection with Avibacterium paragallinarum. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology. Vol 158 Pages 135 -142.  Hybrid code- CESM code-13, Impact factor-2.163


Elie K. Barbour1,*, Danielle B. Ayyash2,Houssam Shaib2, Robert R. Bragg3, Esam Azhar4, Archana Iyer5, Steve Harakeh4, Zakaria Kambris6 & Taha Kumosani5 (2014) Koch’s Postulate in Reproduction of Broiler Coccidiosis by Co-infection with Eight Most Common Eimeria spp.: a Model for Future Evaluation of New Biologics.

International Journal of Applied Research in Veterinary Medicine
Volume 12, Issue 1, 2014, Pages 76-83


Barbour, Elie; Bragg, Rob; Karrouf, Gamal; Iyer, Archana; Azhar, Esam; Harakeh, Steve; Kumosani, Taha (2015)  Control of eight predominant Eimeria spp. involved in economic coccidiosis of broiler chicken by a chemically-characterized essential oil. Journal of Applied Microbiology (2015), 118 pages 583 -591


Boucher, C.E., Theron, C.W., Hitzeroth, A.C. & Bragg, R.R. (2015) Regulation of chicken immunity-related genes and host response profiles against Avibacterium paragallinarum pathogen challenge. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 158;3-4.


Hellmuth, E., Bragg,R.R., Boucher, C.E. (2017) Evaluation of the ERIC-PCR as a probable method to differentiate Avibacterium paragallinarum serovars. Avian Diseases DOI: 10.1080/03079457.2016.1259610


Meyburgh, C., Bragg, R.R., Boucher, C.E.  (2017). Lactococcus garvieae: an emerging bacterial pathogen of fish. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 123 (1) 67 – 79


S. Kumar, W. Purcell, J. Conradie, R. Bragg and E.H.G. Langner. (2017).  Synthesis, characterization, computational and antimicrobial activities of a novel iridium thiourea complex. New Journal of Chemistry (in press). DOI: 10.1039/c7nj02019h


Bragg, R.R., Meyburgh, C.M., Lee, J-Y, Coetzee, M. & Boucher, C.E. (2017) Potential treatment options in a post antibiotic era. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology


Area(s) of Interest

My research activities in the Veterinary Biotechnology Research group is concentrated on the following: 

Improvement in the control of infectious coryza, caused by the bacterium A. paragallinarum. The main objective of this work is the improvement of the vaccines used to control this disease. This includes improved serotyping methods to ensure that the correct strains are used, as well at the development of a sub-unit vaccine. The reverse vaccinology approach to vaccine design through proteomics and genomics is a current research focus.

A second main research focus of the group is disease control in a post antibiotic era. This includes novel vaccine design against bacterial poultry pathogens. In this regard the technology was developed making use of Beak and feather disease virus in parrots. As a result of this work, we were able to patent a novel yeast based expression system. We have also investigated the possibilities of making use of bacteriophages for disease control. The very high levels of specificity of the phages makes this approach very unlikely for treatment of large numbers of birds. The expression of phage enzymes has been attempted and this work is currently ongoing.

Improvement in biosecurity has been a long term research theme of the group and this work is taking on greater significance in a post antibiotic era. The question of resistance to antibiotics is also taking on greater significance and there are research projects in this regard.

The final research focus of the group is the expression platform. This is making use of our patented yeast based expression system to express genes of interest for commercial partners. There are various such projects which have already been successfully completed. A current research activity in this regard is the expression of enzymes which can be used to improve feed conversion ratios in poultry. We are also investigating this technology (with the research group of Prof Viljoen) t produce low cost feed supplements for backyard and small scale poultry farmers. We are also interested in trying to establish edible vaccines which can be included in this feed supplement to protect small scale farmers from the major poultry diseases.


Elfrieda van den Berg (Marketing Manager)
T: +27 51 401 2531


Dilahlwane Mohono (Faculty Officer)
T: +27 58 718 5284

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