Dr Awelani Mutshembele

Postdoctoral Fellow


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I am a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Tree Protection Cooperative Programme (TPCP) and DST/NRF Centre of Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB). My research focus on the evolution of the MAT locus and chromosome habouring it in Fusarium sacchari. Previously it was demonstrated that MAT locus of F. sacchari (the causal agent of the PokkahBoeng disease in sugarcane) has an evolutionary history that is markedly different from what has been observed for the other species in the Gibberella fujikuroi complex. The forces that might have driven this type of evolution is unknown and also do not know how spread these unusual "evolutionary signals" are spread throughout the genome of F. sacchari. The aim of my research will be to find answers to these questions, which would in turn increase our understanding of the reproductive biology and evolution of F. sacchari.

I have strong background in Biotechnology, Microbiology and plant/veterinary industry as well as the academic sphere.I have an impeccable work history spanning over 10 years much of it spent in research, mentorship and tutoring positions. I rose from being a Biotechnologist to Veterinary parasitologists to being Microbiologist.