About the department

Established 20 years ago as part of the Biochemistry/Microbiology Department, it became a standalone Department in 2003. Currently, the Department has been producing on average 50-75 BSc graduates and 15 BSc Hons graduates annually.
It is our aim to provide students with aspects and a firm foundation in Microbiology.

The Microbiology Department strives to ensure the impact of knowledge onto students and community members with regards to the impact Microorganisms have on their environment and general well being.

Prof AN Traore

Prof AN Traore

Head of Department

Qualifications: DEUG B, License, Maitrise (UJF, France), MSc (RAU), PhD (UJ)
Tel: +27 15 962 8301
Email: Afsatou.traore@univen.ac.za
Prof AN. Traore-Hoffman, Associate Professor and HOD Profile
Qualifications: DEUG B, License, Maitrise (UJF, France), MSc (RAU), PhD (UJ)

Prof AN Traore obtained respectively a Licence (BSc degree) and Maitrise (B.Sc Hons) from Joseph Fourier University of Grenoble, France. Thereafter she did a Masters (MSc) and also a Doctorate (PhD) in Biochemistry at the University of Johannesburg (formerly known as Rand Afrikaans Universiteit), Johannesburg, South Africa in 2001 and 2005 respectively.

Over the years in the course of her career, she has been actively involved in teaching and doing medical research in Africa; and has had opportunities at various times to work on bacterial and viral diseases including diarrhea, TB and HIV. Furthermore, she has acquired relevant experience in proposal writing, project management, proposal/project evaluation, data collection, storage, analysis, and writing up for scientific publications. She has presented results of her research at national and international scientific meetings. Therefore. Acquiring experience in the management of both human and financial resources at senior levels and in different cultural settings.

For her working career, she was a Junior Lab Manager for the HIV Research Team at the Biochemistry Department of the Rand Afrikaans University, Johannesburg, South Africa (1999-2005); Post-Doc Fellow, Water & Health Research Unit, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa (2005-2008);She was a Biochemist in several projects funded by the WHO, WERF and WRC on Diarrheal Diseases at the Water & Health Research Unit, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa (2006-2008); As a Senior Project Manager, she was the Team leader on a support based project for Medical Testing Laboratories throughout Africa, Contract Lab Services (CLS) in Johannesburg, South Africa (March 2008-July 2009).

At the Medical research Unit of the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné (Gabon), she was the Principal Investigator (PI) in a three-year (2010-2012) EDCTP funded project grant of €658,000 to determine whether empiric TB treatment in HIV-infected patients who were eligible for ART with CD4<50 cells/mL and with a BMI<18 kg/m2 without defined diagnostic criteria for TB, could prevent early mortality after ART initiation in four TB endemic countries in sub-Saharan Africa (PRoMPT Trial). As the local PI, she was responsible for the day-to-day and overall management and implementation of the grant. She was also the Principal Investigator (PI) in a five-year (2009-2013) EDCTP funded project grant of €300,000. As part of the grant (PANAcea Consortium), she conducted a capacity building plan to set up a TB Lab (Level 2.5) and start an epidemiological study looking at the prevalence of TB incidence in the province of Moyen-Ogooué.

Prof Traore joined the University of Venda in 2014 as a Senior Lecturer and was promoted to Associate professor in May 2017. Since joining UNIVEN, she has produced (both supervising and co-supervising) 2 PhD, 16 MSc and 33 BSc Hons graduates. She was voted HOD for a 2ndterm in March 2019. Her research interest lies on Water quality, Immunology and Natural products.

The Department of Microbiology offers modules leading to the following qualifications:
• BSc. : Bachelor of Science with Microbiology in combination with either Biochemistry or Botany

Information on how to apply

Go to the link below to calculate your score:


(a) Candidates wishing to enroll for a BSc degree must have obtained a minimum admission requirement in a National Senior Certificate (NSC) as certified by the Council for General and Further Education and Training (Umalusi) with an achievement rating of 4 (adequate achievement, 50-59%) or better in each of the following four recognized 20-credit NSC subjects:

• English
• Mathematics
• Physical Science
• Any other related subject as judged by responsible departments

(b) Candidates may be subject to selection.
(c) Equivalent FET Level 4 qualifications in any of the above subjects may also be considered.
(d) Students from the Science Foundation Programme should have obtained 120 credits from the 12 modules registered for, which should include Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics modules.




MBY 2521         : Bacteriology

Pre-requisites    : BIO 1541, CHE 1540, CHE 1621 or CHE 1622

Historical perceptive of Microbiology. Characteristics of different groups of microorganisms. General structure of bacteria, functions of the different bacterial organelles, shapes of bacteria, Gram- positive and Gram- negative bacteria. Factors affecting bacterial growth and bacterial growth curve. Bacterial nutrition, metabolism and genetics. Mechanisms and modes of spread of bacterial infections. Staphylococci. Streptococci. Corynebacteria. Bacilli. Lactobacilli. Neisseria. Clostridia. The Enterobacteriaceae- Escherichia, Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, Helicobacter. Vibrio, Klebsiella, Proteus, Yersinia. Aeromonas. Plesiomonas. Haemophilus. Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Mycobacterium leprae. Brucella. Bordetella.  Rickettsiae. Mycoplasma. Coxiella. Treponemas. Bacterial chemotherapy. Seminars.

MBY 2522                     : Immunology

Pre-requisites                : BIO 1541, CHE 1540, CHE 1621 or CHE 1622

This module introduces the student to the basic concepts, components and functions of the vertebrate immune system: Innate immunity. Acquired immunity. Cells and tissues of the immune system. Classification. Structure and properties of antibodies, monoclonal antibodies. Concepts of antigen and antigenicity. Immunogen and immunogenicity. Haptens. AdjUnivenants. Human leucocyte antigens. Antigen-antibody reactions. Definitions of tolerance.   Autoimmunity. Immunodeficiencies. Hypersensitivity and immunosuppression. Principles of immunization, EPA in South Africa. Immunotherapy, immunoprophylaxis. Bacterial/viral/parasitic/fungal immunity. Seminars reports.

MBY 2623                      : Environmental Microbiology

Pre-requisites                 : MBY 2521

Microorganisms in the various environments: viruses, bacteria, fungi, algae, protozoans, helminths. Soil classification, characteristics of microorganisms in the soil environment, Microbial activities in soil/soil borne pathogens. Role of microorganisms in nutrient/biogeochemical cycles- oxygen, water, carbon, nitrogen, sulphur. Mycorrhiza, lichens. Microbial interactions. Microorganisms in aquatic environment. Water and food borne pathogens. Indicator organisms. Domestic waste and waste treatment. Drinking water treatment and distribution. Microbiological Standards/criteria for water quality control. Airborne pathogens/toxins, bioaerosols and their control, microbial survival in the air. Beneficial and pathogenic microorganisms in Agriculture. Bioremedation. Biofilms. Microbial corrison/biofilms. Environental sample collection- specific methods for the isolation of pathogens from stools, food, water, air, soil. Introduction to molecular techniques. Pollution factors. Seminars/reports

MBY 2624                       : Virology

Pre-requisites                  : MBY 2521

Nature and general characteristics of viruses: Structure and classification of viruses. Chemical composition of viruses. Viral susceptibility to chemical and physical agents/chemical composition of virus Cultivation of viruses/growth and detection of viruses in the laboratory. Viral cell interactions- lytic, steady and integrated State. Viral replication.  Host responses to viral infections and outcome of viral infections. Viral genetics, viral interference and interferon. Some Virus infections: Hepatitis viruses, SARS virus infections, Herpes virus infections, Viral infections of the respiratory tract, alimentary tract, skin and mucous surfaces. Viral infections of the fetus and target organs. Measles, mumps, Rubella viruses. Enteroviruses. Influenzae and parainfluenza viruses. Ebola and Marburg viruses. Dengue fever and Lassa fever viruses. Rhabdovirus, Bacteriophages, viroids, virusoids and prions. Virus chemotherapy. Animal and plant viruses. Seminars


To register for year three Microbiology modules, students are required to have passed all Year one Core modules.

MBY 3526                      : Food Microbiology

Pre-requisites                 : MBY 2521, MBY 2623, MBY 2624

Roles and significance of microorganisms in food.  Incidence and types of bacteria, molds and yeasts, viruses, parasites in meat, seafood and vegetables, dairy products, delicatessen and related products, frozen foods, dehydrated foods. Intrinsic and extrinsic parameters of food that affect microbial growth. Food Spoilage- fruit and vegetables, fresh and processed meat, poultry and seafood, dairy products, canned foods, beers/wines/fermented foods, sugars/candies. Food preservation- with chemical/irradiation, with low temperature/high temperatures, with drying/fermentation. Microbiological Standards and criteria for food safety. Guidelines for different foods (National and International). Indicators for food sanitary quality. Determination of microorganisms in food: culture sampling methods, microscopic method, physical methods, chemical methods, immunological methods, bioassay, cell culture system. Factors affecting microbial growth in food. Food borne infections and food intoxications- Etiology, transmission, pathogenesis, epidemiology and control of food and water borne diseases. Quality assurance of food. Seminars/reports

MBY  3527                      : Industrial Microbiology

Pre-requisites                 : MBY 2521, MBY 2623, MBY 2624

This module introduces students to the broad application of microorganisms in industrial processes: Essentials of DNA technology and genetic engineering: plasmids, transposons, plasmid DNA isolation, bacterial transformation and expression, polymerase chain reaction, restriction enzymes, electrophoretic techniques; biodiversity; economics of industrial processes; metabolism and regulation of metabolism; nutrient supply; application of microbes in the production of enzymes, alcoholic beverages, antibiotics, and proteins; concepts of biofilm, bioremediation, and microbial corrosion; plant biotechnology. Seminars/reports

MBY3628                       : Mycology

Pre-requisites                 : MBY 2521, MBY 2623, MBY 2624

Structure and features of fungi and algae.  Classification of fungi: Zygomycetes, Basidomycetes, Ascomycetes, Deutromycetes, Yeasts, Lichens. Fungal cells growth and reproduction/life cycle.  Role of fungi and algae in nature and human life: Fungal diseases of humans Fungal diseases of plants and animals. Importance of fungi in agriculture. Industrial uses of fungi. Mycorrhiza. Diagnosis of fungal infections. Mycotoxins. Antifungal agents. Seminars/reports.

MBY3629                       : Parasitology

Pre-requisites                 : MBY 2521, MBY 2623, MBY 2624

Introduction to parasites. Classification of parasites. Structure and features of protozoan. Life cycle patterns of protozoan- Amoebae, Flagellates, Haemoflagellates, Ciliates, Sporozoa. Epidemiology, pathogenesis, symptoms, laboratory diagnosis, treatment, prevention and control of protozoa diseases. Classification of Helminths. General features/characteristics of helminthes. Life cycle patterns of helminthes. Epidemiology, pathogenesis, symptoms, laboratory diagnosis, treatment, prevention and control of – Trematodes, Cestodes and Nematodes infections. Host-parasite relationship/immune response to parasitic infections.  Arthropds and Arthropod borne infections. Seminars/reports.

We do offer the following degrees in Microbiology on course work and mini-dissertation (BSc Hons) and a research-based format (MSc and PhD).

  • BSc . (Hons): Bachelor of Science Honours Microbiology
  • Sc.         : Master of Science in Microbiology
  • PhD        : Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology

How to apply go to https://www.univen.ac.za/students/how-to-apply/



Candidates for the BSc (Honours) programme, should have completed the undergraduate programme with an average of at least 60% at the third year of the undergraduate programme. Candidates will undergo a selection interview.

MBY 5502                       : Advanced Immunological Concepts and Techniques

Pre-requisites                  :  Successfully completed BSc degree with Microbiology as major

Overview of the vertebrate immune system; production and use of monoclonal antibodies; tolerance induction;  immunosuppresion; immunodeficiencies; autoimmunity, hypersensitivity reactions; blood transfusion and transplantation immunology; applications of agglutination, precipitation, complement system and human leucocyte antigen-MHC; enzyme immunoassays; immunofluorescence microscopy; flow cytometry; nucleic acid isolation; reverse transcriptase, multiplex and real-time PCR; endonuclease digest analysis; DNA sequencing, editing and bioinformatics; viral infectivity assays; vaccine design, development and evaluation.

MBY 5503                       : The Role of Microorganisms in Disease

Pre-requisites                  : Successfully completed BSc degree with Microbiology as major

Epidemiology, transmission, pathogenesis, clinical presentations, diagnosis, treatment  and prevention and control of common bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic diseases including: Staphylococcal and streptococcal diseases, anthrax, brucellosis, diarrhea/dysentery, gonococcal and meningococcal infections, syphilis, tuberculosis and leprosy, meningitis, whooping cough, diphtheria, clostridial infections, HIV, viral hepatitis, entero- virus diseases, yellow fever, herpes virus, measles infections, CMV and EBV infections, HPV infections, Lassa fever, Ebola, influenza viral infections, other haemorrhagic fever virus. amoebiasis, giardiasis, trichomoniasis, trypanasomiasis, leishimaniasis, malaria, cryptosporidiosis, schistosomiasis, hookworm, ascariasis, taeniasis, enterobiasis, onchocerciasis/loasis, dracunculosis, pneumocystis infection and other parasitic diseases, cryptococcosis, histoplasmosis, blastomycosis, candidiasis, aspergillosis, ptyiriasis versicolor, scaly cutaneous mycosis, and cutaneous fungal infections. Prions

MBY 5604          : The Role of Microorganisms in Industrial processes

Pre-requisites      : Successfully completed BSc degree with Microbiology as major

Gene loss, amplification and arrangement; lac and galactose operons; gene library; recombination and screening; sequencing; restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis and related techniques; restriction mapping; plant biotechnology; fermentation systems; production of antibiotics and antibiotic sensitivity assays. Application of bacteria and fungi in industry. Quality control and quality assurance; intellectual property rights.

MBY 5605        : The Role of Microorganisms in the Environment

Pre-requisites   : Successfully completed BSc degree with Microbiology as major

Advanced lecture on different microbes in the environment- soil, aquatic environment, air. Beneficial and pathogenic microorganisms in agriculture. Water and food borne pathogens- bacteria, fungi, parasites. Advanced lecture on indicator organisms. Biogeochemical cycles: (water, carbon, nitrogen, sulphur, iron, phosphorous, oxygen). Bioremediation, biofilm formation and significance in bioremediation, corrosion, and disease. Environmental sample collection and identification of organisms. Water treatment- chlorination, chloramination, ozonation, irradiation. Domestic water treatment.

MBY 5700        : Research Project and Report

Pre-requisites   : Successfully completed BSc degree with Microbiology as major

MBY 5701                      :    Advanced Research Methodology and seminars

Pre-requisites                  :    Successfully completed BSc degree with Microbiology as major

Research methodology. Preparation of research proposal. Art of scientific writing. Poster presentation. Oral presentation. Statistical methods. Seminars


The MSc programme is research based. Prospective applicants should prior to making an application, enquire with the relevant faculty member about the suitability and feasibility of their proposed research interests. Applicants should have obtained an overall mark of at least 60% at the BSc Honours level. Applicants will undergo a selection interview.

MBY 6000       :           Research Project and Seminars

Pre-requisites     :           Appropriate BSc honours degree 


The doctoral programme is research based. Prospective applicants should prior to submitting an application inquire with the relevant faculty member about the suitability and feasibility of their proposed research interests. Applicants should have obtained an overall mark of at least 60% at the MSc level. Applicants will undergo a selection interview.

MBY  7000                      :        Research Project and Seminars

Pre-requisites                 :        Appropriate MSc degree.


The Department has 6 staff members (5 academics and a Lab technician) who dispense the 13 modules offered by the Department and all 8 practical sessions linked to the 8 undergraduate’s modules; and a total of 9 researchers (including the Dean of the School, the Research professor of the School and his assistants) working on various aspects of bacteriology, parasitology, immunology, medical microbiology and natural products.

Prof Afsatou Ndama Traore – Associate Professor – Department of Biochemistry & Microbiology – Faculty of Science, Engineering and Agriculture
Prof Afsatou Ndama Traore – Associate Professor – Department of Biochemistry & Microbiology – Faculty of Science, Engineering and Agriculture
Email address: Afsatou.traore@univen.ac.za Telephone number: +27 (0)15 962 8474 Office: FF172, Life Sciences and Chemistry Building

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