The UFS-NGS Unit, Bali-Indonesia, International Research Excursion

Three members of the UFS-NGS Unit, Prof. Martin Nyaga (Head of the Unit), Mr. Milton Mogotsi (PhD student) and Ms. Robyn Potgieter (M.MedSc student) attended the 14th International rotavirus symposium which was held in Bali, Indonesia on 14-16 March 2023 ( They had the privilege of disseminating their research findings through poster presentations titled: “ The evolution of post-vaccine G8P[4] group A rotavirus strains in Rwanda: notable variance at the neutralization epitope sites”, Longitudinal gut virome analysis identifies rotaviruses and several gastroenteritis associated pathogens in vaccinated paediatric cohorts from the Free State Province, South Africa” and “Genomic characteristics of G9P[8], a dominant group A rotavirus strain in Rwanda during the 2011 to 2016 surveillance season”, respectively. 

This symposium is one of the most significant rotavirus meetings, which enables reputable investigators from all over the globe to disseminate their research findings, create new contacts and endorse new collaborations. The three-day conference gathered hundreds of attendees from all over the world to share their latest rotavirus research findings, including the aspects of rotavirus disease burden, impact and safety of rotavirus vaccines, and innovative vaccine approaches, in order to provide an update on new data that will inform public health agendas related to prevention of rotavirus gastroenteritis. The attendees included scientific experts, emerging researchers, policy makers and public health officials.

According to Mr. Mogotsi, following the latest advancements in research and holding physical meetings as compared to virtual conferences is important for networking with peers to increase collaborations and funding opportunities between different research groups. “Presenting at this symposium did not only provide me with a platform to introduce my research to peers in the field, but also it was a very important opportunity to initiate engagements with fellow researchers and experts in the field and exchange ideas that could improve the research I am working on” says Mr. Mogotsi. 

“It was my first time travelling to Indonesia, a country made up of more than 17,000 islands, Bali being one of them, and I had an incredible experience. Bali is such a beautiful place, and the residents are very welcoming and friendly” says Ms. Potgieter. 

Prof. Nyaga noted that this was a fantastic opportunity for the UFS-NGS Unit’s researchers to network with global peers, visit new ecosystems and for the Unit’s students to meet and learn from the ‘big shots’ of their research field.