Julius Nziza, DVM, coordinates the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project in Rwanda and is a key player in Rwanda’s One Health movement that recognizes the health of humans, animals and ecosystems are interlinked. The Gorilla Doctors, an international team of veterinarians, are dedicated to conserving wild mountain and eastern lowland gorillas through life-saving veterinary medicine and a One Health approach. As a Global Health Institute Visiting Scholar, Nziza is at UW-Madison for training in advanced virology and molecular biology. He will learn methods that will substantially build his skills and the capacity for future research in Rwanda.
During his month in Madison, Nziza will receive training in several laboratories, beginning with the AIDS Vaccine Research Laboratory with Tom Friedrich, head of virology services. The cutting edge facility is part of the Wisconsin National Primate Center that is dedicated to basic and applied research on viral diseases. Friedrich researches molecular biology and the evolution of influenza viruses, HIV and viruses in non-human primates. Nziza will work with graduate students and technicians on molecular methods as part of ongoing research projects.
He also will work with several other laboratories in the National Primate Research Center, including immunogenetics, neuroendocrinology and animal services. In the School of Veterinary Medicine, he will work with Tony Goldberg in disease ecology and Kurt Sladky in exotic animal medicine.
Nziza has a degree in veterinary medicine from Makerere University, Kampala and also graduated with a Masters in Public Health from the University of Rwanda last year. He is Rwanda’s Head Veterinarian of Gorilla Doctors and Country Coordinator for The Emerging Pandemic Threats Program — PREDICT 2. His main work involves overseeing mountain gorilla health and doing research for zoonotic viral infectious disease pathogens (surveillance and laboratory aspects) from wildlife that are potentially pandemic at the human-wildlife interface. He has been working with Gorilla Doctors since 2010. Prior to that he worked on the Rwanda Development Board as a Field Veterinarian in charge of Nygungwe National Park. He is very much interested in wildlife conservation and bridging it with public health.
Nziza’s talk is hosted by the Wildlife, Exotics, Zoo Animal Medicine Club in the School of Veterinary Medicine.