Ms Andi Wilson

PhD student


Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology
Full CV
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Primary Supervisor
Brenda Wingfield

Co Supervisor
Markus Wilken
Magriet van der Nest
Mike Wingfield

I first joined FABI in the second year of my BSc: Genetics degree in 2011 as a mentorship student in the CTHB Mentorship Program. In my first year in this program, I was mentored by a student working towards his PhD in microbiology and worked on the genetic diversity of Citrus tristeza virus from different citrus cultivars. In my second year of this program, I was mentored by a student working towards his PhD in genetics and worked on the mating of Ceratocystis fimbriata.  

After completing my undergraduate degree in 2012, I started my Honours degree in the Genetics department at UP with a research project under the primary supervision of Prof BD Wingfield. I continued working on the mating of C. fimbriata as I had done during my undergrad. I started my MSc: Genetics degree in 2014, also under the supervision of Prof Wingfield. For this project, I turned my focus to the mating of Huntiella moniliformis, a filamentous ascomycete belonging to the same family as C. fimbriata.

I am currently in the third (and hopefully final) year of my PhD: Genetics degree where I am furthering the work I did during my MSc. The major focus of my research this year has been the development of a transformation protocol for use in species of the Ceratocystidaceae. The lack of such a system in these species has prevented functional characterization of many genes of interest and thus this work will benefit our larger research group. I was lucky enough to spend 2 months at Pennsylvania State University last year for help in establishing this protocol and will be returning in August of this year.  

I aim to finish my PhD at the end of this year and plan to pursue a career in academia.   


My research has been focused on the genes involved in sexual reproduction of a number of fungal pathogens and saprobes. While I focused on a single species of the Ceratocystis genus in my Honours degree, I worked on two species belonging to the related genus, Huntiella, in my Masters degree. For my PhD, I am furthering the work I started in my Master's and describing a new Huntiella species. 

The availability of draft genome assemblies for the species I have worked on has aided in the research I have done on the mating of these species. Mining for the Mating Type genes in these genomes and the subsequent comparison of these genes across different species formed a large part of my Master's degree. As part of my research, we produced a significant amount of RNA-Seq data to complement the genomic data we have. This has helped us identify potentially important pathways involved in the sexual development pathway of these species. 

Species of the Ceratocystidaceae employ a wide range of interesting and unique sexual strategies and thus represent a fantastic group of fungi in which to research mating. Their deviations from the norm allow for comparisons that ultimately lead to a better understanding of sex in fungi in general and the evolution behind this very complicated process. In addition to describing heterothallic and unisexual species, we have recently discovered a homothallic species as well. This has allowed us to compare the genes that underlie different forms of sexual reproduction in this genus. 




2018: Travel Award (WhiteSci Travel Awards Scheme)

2018: Travel Award (Genes Journal)

2018: Best PhD Presentation (South African Society of Microbiology)

2017: FABIan of the year (FABI)

2017: Woman in Science: PhD Fellowship (Department of Science & Technology)

2016: Best MSc Student of 2015/16 (FABI)

2016: Mentorship Award (FABI)

2016: Merit Certificate for Academics for MSc: Genetics Degree (University of Pretoria)

2014: Academic Honorary Colours for BSc(Hons): Human Genetics (University of Pretoria)



2017-2018:  Scarce Skills Scholarship for Doctoral Students (National Research Foundation)

2017: Study Abroad Bursary (University of Pretoria)

2017: PhD Student Bursary (University of Pretoria)

2016: Grantholder Linked Bursary for Master’s Students (National Research Foundation) 

Unpacking the Molecular Mechanism behind Unisexual Reproduction in Huntiella moniliformis 

A.M. Wilson, P.M. Wilken, M.A. van der Nest, M.J. Wingfield & B.D. Wingfield

Life Science Symposium 

Pennsylvania State University 

United States of America


Poster Presentation


Unpacking the Molecular Mechanism behind Unisexual Reproduction in Huntiella moniliformis 

A.M. Wilson, P.M. Wilken, M.A. van der Nest, M.J. Wingfield & B.D. Wingfield

Fungal Genetics Conference


United States of America


Oral & Poster Presentations


Understanding Unisexual Reproduction in Huntiella moniliformis 

Wilson, A. M., M. A. van der Nest, P. M. Wilken, M. J. Wingfield and B. D. Wingfield 

South African Genetics Society/South African Society of Bioinformatics Congress


South Africa


Oral Presentation


Unisexual Reproduction in Huntiella moniliformis 

Wilson, A.M., P.M. Wilken, M.A. Van der Nest, M.J. Wingfield and B.D. Wingfield

Fungal Genetics Conference


United States of America


Poster Presentation


Characterization of the MAT Locus in the saprobe Huntiella omanensis

Wilson, A.M., P.M. Wilken, M.A. Van der Nest, M.J. Wingfield and B.D. Wingfield

South African Association of Botanists Congress  


South Africa


Poster Presentation


Characterization of the MAT Locus in the saprobe Huntiella omanensis

Wilson, A.M., P.M. Wilken, M.A. Van der Nest, M.J. Wingfield and B.D. Wingfield

South African Society for Plant Pathology


South Africa


Poster Presentation



2018: American Genetics Society

2018: South African Society of Microbiology

2017 - Current: South African Genetics Society 

2010 - Current: Golden Key Honours Society

2016 - Current: Postgraduate Student Association of Natural and Agricultural Sciences

2014 & 2018: FABI Social Club

2010 - 2011: TuksVillage Residence Management Committee

My Galeries



In March 2018 four FABIans won prizes at the South African Society of Microbiology Congress.

The Writing Club @ FABI

In an effort to nudge a few people in the right direction, PhD candidate Andi Wilson has started a writing club in FABI.

FABI Delegates attend SASM 2018

Professor Fanus Venter and the University of Pretoria hosted the South African Society of Microbiology (SASM) conference from 4-7 April at the Misty Hills Hotel and Conference Centre in Muldersdrift. Many FABIans attended, presenting a total of eight posters and eight oral presentations. (Photos by Kinosha Moodley, Andi Wilson, Claudette Dewing, Bernard Slippers and Dineo Mailula)

Andrea (Andi) Wilson: Another FABI award!

The South African Women in Science Awards ceremony and gala dinner - one of South Africa’s premier Science events of the year, was held at the Hilton Hotel in Sandton on 17 August.

FABI represented at 2017 North Gauteng Senior Science Fair

Eight FABIans served on the judging panel of the North Gauteng Senior Science Fair at the University of Pretoria’s LC de Villiers Sports Campus on 18 August.  

Research Visit to Penn State University, Home of the Nittany Lions

FABI PhD student Andi Wilson relates her experiences while on a two month research visit to Department of Plant Pathology at Pennsylvania State University.

Export to RIS
Liu FF, Li GQ, Roux J, Barnes I, Wilson AM, Wingfield MJ, Chen SF. (2018) Nine novel species of Huntiella from southern China with three distinct mating strategies and variable levels of pathogenicity. Mycologia 10.1080/00275514.2018.1515450 PDF
Marin-Felix Y, Hernandez-Restrepo M, Wingfield M, Akulov A, Carnegie A, Cheewangkoon R, Gramaje D, Groenewald J, Guarnaccia V, Halleen F, Lombard L, Luangsaard J, Marincowitz S, Moslemi A, Mostert L, Quaedvlieg W, Schumacher R, Spies C, Thangavel R, Taylor P, Wilson A, Wingfield B, Wood A, Crous P. (2018) Genera of phytopathogenic fungi: GOPHY 2. Studies in Mycology 92:47-133. 10.1016/j.simyco.2018.04.002
Wilson A, Van der Nest M, Wilken P, Wingfield M, Wingfield B. (2018) Pheromone expression reveals putative mechanism of unisexuality in a saprobic ascomycete fungus. PLOS One 13(3):e0192517. 10.1371/journal.pone.0192517 PDF
Wingfield BD, Duong TA, Hammerbacher A, van der Nest MA, Wilson A, Chang R, de Beer ZW, Steenkamp ET, Wilken PM, Naidoo K, Wingfield MJ. (2016) IMA Genome-F 7 Draft genome sequences for Ceratocystis fagacearum, C. harringtonii, Grosmannia penicillata, and Huntiella bhutanensis. IMA Fungus 7(2):317-323. 10.5598/imafungus.2016.07.02.11 PDF
Wilson AM, Wilken PM, van der Nest MA, Steenkamp ET, Wingfield MJ, Wingfield BD. (2015) Homothallism: An umbrella term for describing diverse sexual behaviours. IMA Fungus 6(1):207-214. 10.5598/imafungus.2015.06.01.13 PDF
Wilson AM, Godlonton T, van der Nest MA, Wilken PM, Wingfield MJ, Wingfield BD. (2015) Unisexual Reproduction in Huntiella moniliformis. Fungal Genetics and Biology 80:1-9. 10.1016/j.fgb.2015.04.008
Van der Nest MA, Beirn LA, Crouch JA, Demers JE, De Beer ZW, De Vos L, Gordon TR, Moncalvo JM, Naidoo K, Sanchez-Ramirez S, Roodt D, Santana QC, Slinksi SL, Stata M, Taerum SJ, Wilken PM, Wilson AM, Wingfield MJ, Wingfield BD. (2014) Draft genomes of Amanita jacksonii, Ceratocystis albifundus, Fusarium circinatum, Huntiella omanensis, Leptographium procerum, Rutstroemia sydowiana, and Sclerotinia echinophila. IMA Fungus 5(2):473-486. 10.5598/imafungus.2014.05.02.11 PDF
Van der Nest MA, Bihon W, De Vos L, Naidoo K, Roodt D, Rubagotti E, Slippers B, Steenkamp ET, Wilken PM, Wilson A, Wingfield MJ, Wingfield BD. (2014) Draft genome sequences of Diplodia sapinea, Ceratocystis manginecans, and Ceratocystis moniliformis. IMA Fungus 5(1):135-140. 10.5598/imafungus.2014.05.01.13 PDF