Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2017 2018 2019 2020
Previous Archive
29 January 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Anja Aucamp
Prof Francis Petersen speech
“We can create an institution that operates and lives in the times of embracing and celebrating diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence by ensuring that students own their time at university,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

25 January 2019 marked the official welcoming of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) first-year students, as they moved into their respective residences and were warmly welcomed on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. This day also marked the start of the registration process for first-year students.

According to first-year Psychology student Keisha Claasen, who moved into her residence earlier on 25 January, her first experience of the UFS was daunting but exciting, as she had never been in a similar environment. According to Given Gwerera, who dropped his son off at the Karee residence earlier the day, “the UFS is an institution with great culture and an overall good academic record.” He further explained that he trusts his son to make full use of the opportunities presented to him, as he has a cool head on his shoulders.

On the evening of 25 January, an eager group of millennials, joined by their parents, took the first sip from their cup of varsity life as they assembled on the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus to meet the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, members of Rectorate, the deans of all faculties, and the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the UFS.

“2019 will be a year of continued change; the UFS is thrilled about the prospect of bringing about opportunities for adaptation and realignment to the future,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

He further explained that the university prides itself in moulding its students into well-rounded individuals who will develop into globally competitive graduates as required in a diversity of landscapes. Prof Petersen urged first-years to remain open to the technological developments that go with globalisation, because of its permanent effects on society today.

First-years were further advised to take advantage of the rich pool of academic research and knowledge that is characteristic of the university and is piloted by UFS scholars, by engaging with and learning from them.

The inspiring night concluded on a colourful note, as the audience enjoyed an artistic laser show in front of the Main Building. Caption:

“UFS academics conduct research that forces the world to take note,” said Prof Francis Petersen at the official first-year welcoming ceremony on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

News Archive

Her mission: Looking for viruses
2017-10-03

Description: Burt readmore Tags: Prof Felicity Burt, Felicity Burt, inaugural lecture, medical virology, UFS Faculty of Health Sciences, arboviruses 

Prof Felicity Burt delivering her inaugural lecture,
Catching a Virus
Photo: Stephen Collett

“Preparing and presenting an inaugural lecture is an opportunity to look back at one’s career and to enjoy previous highlights and achievements; to share these, not only with colleagues, but also with family and friends.”

This is according to Prof Felicity Burt, who recently presented her inaugural lecture, Catching a Virus. Prof Burt is a professor in medical virology in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Free State (UFS). It may sound ominous, but it is a story about identifying viruses, and finding and stopping them in their tracks in nature.

Research focus on arbo- and zoonotic viruses 
“My research focuses on arboviruses and zoonotic viruses,” said Prof Burt. “Arboviruses are viruses that are transmitted by insect vectors, such as mosquitoes, ticks, midges or sandflies, whereas zoonotic viruses are naturally transmitted from animals to humans. However, there is a considerable overlap between these two groups.” The research looks at host responses, virus discovery and surveillance in order to identify which of the viruses in circulation have the potential to cause human diseases.

“Emerging and re-emerging viruses have significant implications for public health,” said Prof Burt at the start of her lecture. She also stated that there have been disease outbreaks of unprecedented magnitude, which have spread and established in distinct geographic regions. “Many of these emerging viruses are transmitted by vectors or are spread to humans from animals. These viruses can cause significant diseases in humans,” said Prof Burt. 

There are many reasons why these viruses re-emerge, such as global warming, human invasion in forested areas, changes in agricultural practices, international travel, as well as the illegal movement of animals. Prof Burt used the Zika virus as an example of a recent emerging virus. 

More than 20 years’ experience 

With more than 20 years’ experience and a PhD in medical virology from the University of the Witwatersrand, Prof Burt is a renowned specialist. She has worked in the Special Pathogens Unit at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, and was a member of various teams responding to outbreaks of Ebola and Rift Valley fever in Africa and Saudi Arabia, respectively. She is co-author of more than 51 articles in international scientific journals, as well as six chapters on arboviruses. In 2016, she was awarded a SARChl research chair by the South African Research Chair Initiative for her research on vector-borne and zoonotic diseases.

Click here to read the full lecture.

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept