Ms Lizahn Zwart

PhD student


Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology
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I completed my BSc: Human Genetics degree in 2010 and my BSc(Hons): Genetics degree in 2011. During 2012-2013, I completed my MSc: Genetics degree in the Orbivirus Research Group under the supervision of Dr Vida van Staden. During this time, I gained experience in various molecular techniques as well as exposure to electron and confocal laser scanning microscopy.

I am currently completing my PhD: Genetics degree under the supervision of Dr Sanushka Naidoo. The focus of this  study is to compare the interaction of the stem canker fungus Chrysoporthe austroafricana with partially resistant and susceptible Eucalyptus grandis in order to identify putative mechanisms that contribute to disease resistance. I will characterise the interaction microscopically to determine the location of the pathogen and histochemically detectable host responses to infection. Based on these findings, host molecular responses will be investigated with a discovery proteomics approach. Possible outcomes of this study include an improved understanding of C. austroafricana pathogenesis and the physical host-pathogen interaction, as well as detection of candidate genes and processes involved in determining the level of resistance of E. grandis to C. austroafricana.


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Zwart L, Berger DK, Moleleki LN, Van der Merwe NA, Myburg AA, Naidoo S. (2017) Evidence for salicylic acid signalling and histological changes in the defence response of Eucalyptus grandis to Chrysoporthe austroafricana. Scientific Reports 7:45402. 10.1038/srep45402 PDF
Ronishree Magwanda, Lizahn Zwart, Nicolaas A. van der Merwe, Lucy Moleleki, Dave Kenneth Berger, Alexander A. Myburg, Sanushka Naidoo. (2016) Localization and Transcriptional Responses of Chrysoporthe austroafricana in Eucalyptus grandis Identify Putative Pathogenicity Factors. Front. Microbiol. 10.3389/fmicb.2016.01953
Naidoo S, Külheim C, Zwart L, Mangwanda R, Oates CN, Visser EA, Wilken FE, Mamni TB, Myburg AA. (2014) Uncovering the defence responses of Eucalyptus to pests and pathogens in the genomics age. Tree Physiology 34(9):931-943. 10.1093/treephys/tpu075 PDF