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 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.

Dr Vagner Fonseca
My research interests concentrate on viral evolution under selection pressure created in the transmission, NGS of 2nd and 3rd generation sequencing. A particular point of interest is the study of viruses' origins and the effect of the network of transmissions in the spread of epidemics in Brazil and other continents. I also enjoy developing bioinformatics software to make users' lives more conformable with a more user-friendly interface application.

Suzette Grobler
Senior Grants and Contract Manager at CERI.

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.

Dr Emmanuel James San
San James is Pursuing a PhD in Medicine, Majoring in Virology and a Bioinformatics Research Associate at the Kwazulu Natal Research and Innovation Sequencing Platform (KRISP). Research interests are in the areas of Bioinformatics Software and Pipelines Development, Next Generation Sequence Data Management and Analysis, and High Performance Computing for Data Intensive Projects

Houriiyah Tegally

I am a PhD Student in Medicine (Virology), originally from Mauritius. My research interests revolve around the use of technology and innovative solutions to help relieve some of the burden of diseases in Africa.

Dr. Stephanie van Wyk
I am a molecular and evolutionary biologist. My research interest lies in the study of evolutionary genomics of microorganisms. I am especially interested in the molecular dynamics driving genetic variation and evolution in pathogenic microorganisms.

Dr. Eduan Wilkinson
My main area of interest is the molecular epidemiology of HIV-1 in the Southern African region.

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

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.

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.

Arisha Maharaj
Genomics Africa Fellow - I am a post-graduate student at CERI. I have recently completed my Bachelor of Science undergraduate degree through the University of KwaZulu–Natal majoring in Genetics and Cellular Biology. I joined KwaZulu–Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP) as a research fellow for a year in 2021.

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.

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.