We do it...
We dream big but prioritise to respond to the most pressing problems...

CERI is a centre of the Stellenbosch University. We are a team of scientists, clinicians and public health officials. We build in our successful experience of the Network for Genomic Surveillance in South Africa (NGS-SA) with like minded people who do generate ideas and realize them.

The first phase of the CERI is being currently completed with the setup of an state-of-the-art Genomics Centre at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences (FHMS) new Biomedical Research Innovation building (BMRI) and the creation of the CERI-Data team at the School of Computational Thinking and Faculty of Sciences in Stellenbosch University. In the second phase, CERI is planning to merge with the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP) at  the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) to create a multi-institutional institute with different campus in South Africa and potentially in Africa.


Contact us:

Director: Prof. Tulio de Oliveira

Science support: Dr. Cheryl Baxter

Genomics Centre: Dr. Yeshnee Naidoo

Bioinformatics: Dr. Eduan Wilkinsom

Grants & Contracts:: Suzette Grobler

Procurement & Students: Zethu Luthuli

Media Enquires: Paul Harris

Complaints: CERI@sun.ac.za



Meet Our Team

Our team of scientists  have experience in infectious diseases, public health, genomics, bioinformatics and epidemiology. 

Dr Adetomiwa Adeniji
My research goal is to apply system biology analytical approaches to understand host-microbe interactions, identify ways to better combat emerging infectious diseases, and promote effective disease treatment strategies.

Dr Cheryl Baxter
Head of Scientific Support at CERI.My main research focus is HIV prevention, specifically strategies to reduce HIV acquisition among young women and issues related to sexual and reproductive health. More recently, I have been contributing to Covid-19 research, particularly the monitoring of the epidemic trends. In addition to my research experience, I have a passion for capacity development.

Prof. Tulio de Oliveira
My research interests concentrate on viral evolution under selection pressure created in the transmission, acquisition, and drug escape processes. A particular point of interest is on the study of viruses's origins and the effect of the network of transmissions in the spread of epidemics in Africa and other continents. I also enjoy developing bioinformatics software applications and running a next-generation sequencing (NGS) and innovation research centre.

Mr Stepfan De Villiers
My passion is identifying, understanding, and analyzing microorganisms responsible for infectious diseases and I hold a deep interest in advancing my studies and a career in Molecular Biology and Epidemiology.

Suzette Grobler
Senior Grants and Contract Manager at CERI.

Maambele Khosa
I recently joined CERI to spearhead Marketing, Media, and Communication. Currently completing a master's degree in science and technology, I hold a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing and a Bachelor of Science in Geoinformatics and Information Systems Management from the University of Stellenbosch.

Prof Lenine Liebenberg
Prof Lenine Liebenberg's work in mucosal immunology is predominantly focused on understanding and mitigating the impact of sexually transmitted infections on public health.

Gwynneth Louw
She started her career in research and the medical field 7 years ago as a data capture for TB Research and has since landed her current post as a research administrator at CERI Labs in which she enjoys the work, the people and the CERI culture.

Zethu Luthuli
I am the Project Coordinator at CERI. I joined CERI in 2021 and I am response for the administrative projects’ coordination, communicating with and assisting postgrad students and post-doctoral fellows, procurement (procuring of goods and services), Grants Management & Finance admin support.

Dr Moise Majyambere
Dr Moise Majyambere is currently a Senior Research Support Officer at CERI: Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation (Stellenbosch University).

Dr Monika Moir
Post-Doctoral Fellow at CERI - I was awarded a PhD in 2020 which focused on the ecology and conservation of bats in forests in South Africa with specialisation in the fields of bioacoustics, population genetics, phylogeography and landscape ecology.

Dr Yeshnee Naidoo
Laboratory Manager at CERI. My main interest is HIV Drug resistance in South Africa and translational research to implement activities designed to make precision medicine technologies available to the public.

Dr. Sunday Oladejo
I recently joined CERI as a joint postdoctoral fellow with a research background in mobile networks, optimization, machine learning, and data science. My research interest lies in the intersection of machine learning, data science, and health sciences.

Tebogo Ramakutoane
I am a qualified medical laboratory technician with over 10 years’ experience working in Clinical research trial laboratories. I also have a Masters in Biotechnology, with the main area of research focusing on the control fungal pathogen.

Prof Frank Tanser
Professor Frank Tanser is a South African scientist whose research aims to evaluate and design intervention strategies to drive back the HIV epidemic and its negative consequences in communities hardest hit by the epidemic

Dr. Houriiyah Tegally
Houriiyah Tegally holds a PhD in Virology & Bioinformatics and is currently Head of Data Science at the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation (CERI) at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, focusing on the genomic epidemiology and evolution of viral pathogens South Africa and Africa.

Velda Wentzel
I joined CERI as a Laboratory Technician looking for a new challenge after working in different diagnostic labs for many years as a Medical Technologist.

Dr. Eduan Wilkinson
My main focus is on infectious diseases of public health concern which are impacted by the climate crises. This includes water and vector borne diseases (e.g. Cholera or Dengue).

Dr. Joicymara Xavier
I recently joined CERI for a PhD exchange period under the supervision of Prof. Tulio de Oliveira. I am a professor at the Federal University of Vales do Jequitinhonha and Mucuri (UFVJM) and co-founder of an NGO that teaches programming to young and socially vulnerable girls (Código X). Currently, I'm enrolled in a PhD in Bioinformatics with a focus on predicting the effects of mutations in the structure and function of proteins

Nondumiso Zakwe
I am responsible for effective sample management and LIMS coordination. I hold a BSc Honours degree in Biochemistry and a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration. With laboratory experience spanning various industries, I approach my work at CERI with a multidimensional perspective.

Students and Fellows

Wasim Abdool Karim
Genomics Africa Fellow - After completing my undergrad in Computer Science and Applied Statistics at UCT in 2021, I found myself drawn to the incredible field of bioinformatics. Through CERI I've learned how to use my skills to benefit the efforts around reporting on genomic surveillance and the analysis of genomic sequences. In 2022 I will be studying my honours in data science at Stellenbosch and I look forward to using this experience to help curb the pandemic or at least control it.

Lucious Chabuka
Lucious Chabuka (Medical Laboratory Scientist) from Public Health Institute of Malawi (PHIM) I joined CERI in February 2022 with the goal of pursuing my Masters Degree My vision is to utilize advanced genomics research I am acquiring here at CERI throughout Africa. My work has so far included Molecular Epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 in Eastern and Southern part of Africa. In light of the global benefits that genomic surveillance in this region of the continent has provided, I envisage constructing crucial advances.

Wonderful Choga
His research focuses on investigating numerous genome-wide variants associated with osteochondrodysplasia and limb abnormalities within the South African population. Wonderful's academic background includes a Master of Science in Medicine, with specialization in Human Genetics. He received this degree with distinction from the prestigious University of Cape Town.

Danilo de Castro Silva
I completed my undergrad in Computer Engineering at UNIFEI (Brazil) and now I'm a CERI member searching for innovation, collaboration and knowledge while doing my masters degree at Stellenbosch University.

Graeme Dor
My passion lies at the intersection of GIS, data science, and public health, as I strive to contribute and leverage data-driven insights for the betterment of public healthcare system in Africa.

Kerwin Liedeman
Medical Biological Scientist (HPCSA) in the specialization of clinical diagnostic virology based at the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation (CERI). Current Ph.D. fellow at Stellenbosch University with a focus on viral pathogen surveillance for implementation in ISO15189 environments.

Joana Linhares
I am a Computer Engineering student at the Federal University of Itabuja in Brazil and a volunteer in a research group in the area of bioinformatics and artificial intelligence, currently being supervised by prof. Joicymara Xavier and collaborating with her project at CERI.

Akhil Maharaj
After obtaining my Honors degree in Genetics, I joined the CERI-KRISP team in 2022 as a research intern. In 2023, I was offered an opportunity by CERI to further my skills and pursue my Masters degree, majoring in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at the University of Stellenbosch.

Yandisa Ntantiso
I am a Stellenbosch University Honors student who is passionate about Virology and Bioinformatics. I joined CERI in 2023, and I am driven by genuine curiosity to unravel enigmatic complexities in the world of science. I am a promising researcher destined for remarkable discoveries.

Somila Ntsiyane
I am a Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Honors student at Stellenbosch University. My research at CERI focuses on HIV, driven by my interests in virology, epidemiology, and bioinformatics. I aim to contribute to the understanding of infectious diseases through innovative data analysis and research approaches.

Yusasha Pillay
Post-Graduate Research Fellow at CERI - I joined CERI-KRISP as a Research Assistant in 2021 as part of the Next Generation Sequencing team. I am currently pursuing my Masters in Medical Virology in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Stellenbosch.

Yajna Ramphal
Genomics Africa fellow - I had joined CERI- KRISP as a research intern in 2021 as part of the Next Generation Sequencing lab team, as of 2022 I will be pursuing my postgraduate degree in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics at the University of Stellenbosch. My interests include the vast and expanding field of data science, epidemiology, epigenetics, gene regulation and genomic research.

Martina Reichmuth
I am a PhD student using various computational methods to learn more about the transmission dynamics of pathogens. In my PhD, I focused on SARS-CoV-2 transmission, using the understanding I have gained from my previous work in HIV and TB research. I joined CERI for my last PhD year to learn about genomic monitoring, data analysis, and translating research results.

Nikita Sitharam
I am pursuing a masters degree in bioinformatics at Stellenbosch University with CERI. My research interests include evolutionary biology, specifically phylogenetics and population genetics.

Derek Tshiabuila
I began my postgraduate journey at the KwaZulu Natal Research and Innovation Sequencing Platform (KRISP) in 2020. Coming from a genetics and microbiology background, I decided to focus on bioinformatics and completed my Master of Medical Science degree majoring in virology and bioinformatics systems in 2022. I was then offered a PhD research fellow position at CERI in 2023, majoring in bioinformatics and computational biology.