FABI Management is delighted with the appointment of Prof Fanus Venter as the Deputy Director of FABI. The position was created against the backdrop of the size and expansion of the Institute and the fact that Prof Bernard Slippers currently holds the Directorship of both FABI and Future Africa.
The FIMT website serves as a tool for rapid identification of insects associated with forests, in particular Eucalyptus and Pinus species, and is intended to assist researchers and field-based scientists focussing on forest health.
From 11-14 November the Entomological Society of America, the Entomological Society of Canada, and the Entomological Society of British Columbia held a join meeting in Vancouver. The meeting was attended by FABIan Prof Brett Hurley, who is currently on sabbatical in Canada.
Prof André Drenth of the University of Queensland and a close collaborator and advisor on many FABI projects recently joined Prof.
Students and staff at FABI got their hands dirty and spent the morning on 23 November replanting 3,000 cuttings into potting bags at the FABI Nursery on the University of Pretoria’s experimental farm.
FABIans reflected on the gains of the year and looked forward to 2019 and beyond at the annual year-end function and awards ceremony on 17 November.
Vou Shutt successfully defended her PhD thesis on 21 November, marking the final stage of completing her degree by delivering a prestige seminar at FABI. Her presentation was titled “Bacterial pathogens of tomato in South Africa: Identification, population diversity and cultivar susceptibility”.
Dr Osmond Mlonyeni, who earlier this year completed his Ph.D in Genetics and is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at FABI has been appointed to the Board of Directors of The Innovation Hub.
On 11-12 October a team from the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB) visited the University of Venda (UniVen) in Thohoyandou in the Limpopo Province.
Between 28 and 31 October Prof Fanus Venter was invited to attend a National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored workshop on “Microbial Systematics for the Next Decade” held in Hood River, Oregon, USA.
Key drivers of the CTHB’s mentorship and outreach programmes in 2018 speak about their inspiration and experiences
Mentorship at undergraduate and high school level have been the cornerstone of the CTHB’s outreach programmes since its founding 14 years ago. Staff, postdoctoral fellows and postgraduate students in the CTHB have mentored more than 200 undergraduate students, introducing them to the basic tenets of laboratory etiquette and postgraduate research.
The popular South African current affairs and investigative journalism programme Carte Blanche featured the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme's (TPCP) in FABI's research work on the Polyphagous Shothole Borer (PSHB) on its weekly programme on 4 November.
On 25-26 October, Prof Bernard Slippers attended the 60th Anniversary Celebrations of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAF) in Beijing, China.
The Biennial joint SASBi/SAGS (South African Society for Bioinformatics/South African Genetics Society) Conference was held at Golden Gate National Park in the Free State Province from 16-18 October.
Dr Richard Allen White III, a postdoctoral Fellow at Washington State University, visited FABI where he presented a workshop on metagenomic and metatranscriptomic analyses during the week of 22-26 October.
During the week of 22-26 October, FABI hosted a workshop on metagenomic and metatransciptomic analyses.
FABI postdoctoral Fellow Dr Marc Bouwer along with Dr Gabrielle Carstensen and MSc student Ashleigh Smith conducted a field trip to the Lothair and Barberton regions of the Mpumalanga province during the week of 23-26 October.
The DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB) celebrated the end of another successful year of mentoring and outreach at its annual lunch on 29 October.
Dr Tanay Bose and Dr Marc Bouwer are both in Sappi funded postdoctoral Fellowships in FABI, and part of the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP).
Professor Robert Park of the Plant Breeding Institute at the University of Sydney shared highlights of almost a century of research on cereal rust pathogens in Australia in his special seminar titled “Approaching 100 years of cereal rust research at the University of Sydney: Lessons learnt and the way ahead” on 8 October.
Professor Randy Ploetz and Dr Michelle Ploetz treated FABIans to two seminars on 15 October. An authority on tropical fruit diseases at the University of Florida, Prof Ploetz discussed the re-emergence of Fusarium wilt of banana, while Dr Ploetz discussed the dynamics in the use of English in academy by second and third language speakers.
Professor Virginia Morales Olmos presented a special seminar at FABI on 10 October, titled “An estimate of the economic impact of Teratosphaeria nubilosa on Eucalyptus globulus plantations in Uruguay”. Reported in Uruguay in 2007, T. Prof Morales Olmos said a study using a cost/benefit analysis model showed economic losses of between one and 20 percent, depending on the location.
To celebrate 10 years since its launch in 2008, students and postdoctoral Fellows of the Avocado Research Programme at FABI presented lectures on their research at the Plant Sciences Auditorium on 9 October.
Dr Elizabeth Dann kicked off discussions on avocado research with a special seminar at FABI on 8 October. Dr Dann is a plant pathologist with the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, a research institute at the University of Queensland in Australia.
During the month of September, a team of FABIans went collecting beetles in the natural forests of Tzaneen. This forms part of the PhD project of Wilma Nel, that aims to gain a better understanding of the ambrosia beetles and their fungal associates infesting eucalyptus and pin oak wood in South Africa.
Prior her PhD oral defence on 28 September, Erika Viljoen presented her prestige seminar at FABI in the presence of colleagues, family and friends. Highly nutritious anddrought resistant, A. Erika completed her study under the supervision of Professor Dave Berger.
The University of Pretoria’s Vice-Principal responsible for Research and Postgraduate Education, Prof. Professor Burton explored how research can support the SDGs. FABI Director, Prof Bernard Slippers welcomed guests and opened the event.
PhD candidate Darryl Herron shares his experiences on a recent field trip to the Cape.
Every year, hundreds of Grade 7s and 12s, descend on the University of Pretoria's L.C. de Villiers sports grounds to take part in the Northern Gauteng Science Fair where they transform the Rembrandt Hall into a science wonderland.
Every four years, an international meeting is convened as one of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations' (IUFRO) more than 250 Working Parties, bringing together researchers and members of forestry industries to exchange research results and other relevant knowledge relating to Eucalyptus propagation.
As President, Prof. Mike Wingfield chaired the meeting of the Board of IUFRO recently held in Corvallis, Oregon (USA).
FABIans reflect on the applications of Next Generation Sequencing on their research at NGS Information Day
The Ion Torrent sequencing facility at the University of Pretoria held a Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) Information Day at the Plant Sciences Auditorium on 19 September.
Was this the first ever maize pathology workshop held on the “on the equator”? Possibly! Maseno University in Western Kenya, not far from Lake Victoria, is situated in a hot and humid region. Fungal foliar diseases and pests of maize abound in the region since chemical control is seldom applied and maize production continues all year round.
FABI PhD candidate Joey Hulbert and his co-supervisor Dr Francois Roets recently published an 'Outside the Tower' piece in Science Magazine titled: Science Engagement in South Africa. Photo credits: AIMS-Siuth Africa and Cape Citizen Science
The 6th International Workshop on the Genetics of Tree-Parasite Interactions was hosted by Ohio State University from 5-10 August in Mt. Sterling, Ohio. Researchers from around the world, including Prof. Sanushka Naidoo and PhD candidate Caryn Oates from FABI, presented their work and participated in lively discussions on the future of plant defence research.
Congratulations to 14 FABIans whose degrees were conferred at the Spring graduation of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Pretoria on 4 September.