Trudi O’Neill


Hester G. (Trudi) O’Neill (née Van Rensburg) obtained her PhD from the University of Pretoria in 2001, whilst employed at the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute. Her research focused on foot-and-mouth disease recombinant vaccine development. She worked as post-doctoral fellow at the University of Cape Town under Prof. Ed Sturrock as well as the North-West University under Prof. Albie van Dijk. In 2012 she joins the Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology at the University of the Free State in the Biochemistry division and is promoted in 2018 to Associate Professor.

Current research focuses on the development of a low-cost rotavirus vaccine for use in Africa, specifically through the expression of virus-like particles in yeast. Investigations into rotavirus-host interactions, specifically, the role of lipids during rotavirus infection, are another research focus. In addition, studies into rotavirus strain diversity in both humans and animals are investigated. She collaborates with scientists in South Africa, Mozambique, Argentina and Germany and has published 24 papers in peer-reviewed journals. Since November 2016, she is the interim chair of the African Research Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (ARNTD), an African-based network aimed at empowering current and future African researchers to support evidence-based control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases.

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ARNTD exists to support evidence-based control and elimination of NTDs from Africa by empowering current and future generations of African researchers.


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