Michelle’s Message: A Change In Leadership

After working for more than 30 years, including 15 years at SANBI, it’s time for me to hand over the reins to the next generation to lead the Biodiversity Biobanks South Africa and the Natural Science Collections Facility.

I am really looking forward to getting back to my microscope and millipede taxonomy and to having some free time to enjoy life.


SANBI has started the recruitment process for three posts to take over from me. I haven’t submitted my retirement letter yet, and when I will be stepping aside still needs to be finalised. This will, to some extent, depend on how the process of filling these posts goes. 

Setting up and running these research infrastructure projects has been challenging and a lot of work, but it’s very rewarding to look at how far we’ve come and what we have achieved.

The Natural Science Collections Facility is a great community, with strong foundations built over the past 8 years and with an incredibly talented and committed Hub team. A new lead will bring new energy and ideas that are needed to ensure that our natural science collections are secured and increasingly used for achieving sustainable, enriched life on Earth.

The Biodiversity Biobanks South Africa still has some way to go to get to the same stage as the NSCF and leading this project provides an opportunity for someone to make a significant contribution to a critically important resource for research, conservation, and food security.

There’s still a lot of work to be done – but I have no doubt the community will continue to grow from strength to strength.

-Michelle Hamer
Project Lead: Biodiversity Biobanks South Africa


Michelle has been the heart and soul of the BBSA for many years, and it will take a heroic effort to replace her. 

A description of the three posts Michelle has held can be found here: https://bbsa.org.za/2024/05/23/bbsa-job-opportunities-director-deputy-director-project-management/ 

To apply, just visit the SANBI website: https://www.sanbi.org/jobs/ 

Qualifying people in the BBSA Community (and beyond) are encouraged to apply and to distribute the adverts far and wide.


Please note: all applications are due by Friday 31 May 2024.


For more information about the Biodiversity Biobanks South Africa, please visit our BBSA FAQ page, or follow us on: 

And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to visit our Contact Page, or email us on info@bbsa.org.za. Don’t be shy – we want to hear from you! 

What are biodiversity biobanks?

Biodiversity biobanks are repositories of biologically relevant resources, including reproductive tissues such as seeds, eggs and sperm, other tissues including blood, DNA extracts, microbial cultures (active and dormant), and environmental samples containing biological communities….