BCG100 for Schools - Pathways to becoming wildlife researchers - Watch Now


Event details:

Speakers: Dr Wynand Johan Goosen & Prof Michele A Miller

Date: 11 May 2021

Time: 10am GMT/11am SAST

Description: Michele and Wynand discussed the very different paths each took to follow their passion and become wildlife researchers. Students heard stories on how different people followed their professional dreams to become scientists that contribute to understanding the links between animals, humans and environmental health.

The Speakers:

Prof Michele A Miller studied immunology and received her Masters and PhD before going to veterinary school. With her interest in wildlife (despite growing up in the US), she was able to do additional training at San Diego Zoo, then went on to work at several zoos in the U.S. (Los Angeles Zoo, Busch Gardens, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Palm Beach Zoo).  Her passion for African wildlife led her to develop research projects in South Africa and in 2013 became a Research Chair in Animal Tuberculosis at Stellenbosch University. Currently, she is based full-time in Kruger National Park. She uses her training in research and veterinary medicine to design studies that will improve the health and our understanding of wildlife.


Dr Wynand Goosen grew up in a small town called Grahamstown in South Africa. Surrounded by various rural communities, livestock, and wildlife parks he was exposed to various disease management strategies due to the frequent interactions between communal livestock, wildlife, and humans. This inspired him to explore why such measures are necessary. During his quest for answers, he approached well-known international researchers who work with diseases that can jump between animals and humans which cause sickness and even death. This led to his studies in Molecular Biology and later receiving his PhD, before pursuing a career solely focused on finding answers and better understanding such strange diseases. He now works with Prof Michele Miller at Stellenbosch University’s Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics in Cape Town. He uses his skills as a Molecular scientist to complement Michele's attributes to help design studies that will improve the health of humans and animals.

wynand with an elephant

Wynand with a sedated elephant

Future vets working on a warthog project.

A group of future vets working on a warthog

lion capture  procedure

Working with captured and sedated Lions

Animal TB team with elephant

The Animal TB Team with a sedated elephant