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FABI welcomed 17 DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Tree Health (CTHB) mentorship students at a function on 3 March.  Now in its 12th year, the mentorship programme allows second and third year students to better understand what it is to be a scientist and what the training at MSc or PhD level entails.

This year sees four students return for a second year and 13 new students join the programme that sees them being paired with a postgraduate student or post doctoral fellow.  These successful candidates have been interviewed by a selection panel and chosen based on academic achievements and scientific interest in the fields of entomology, genetics, microbiology or plant pathology.

Students are required to work six hours per week excluding exam times and holidays. The idea is that they are an extra pair of hands in the laboratory but making a meaningful contribution to their mentor’s research project while learning basic laboratory skills such as sterile, molecular and culturing techniques, morphological work, using bioinformatics programmes and conducting pathogenicity trials.

The students were welcomed by the Deputy Director of the CHTB, Prof. Emma Steenkamp, core team member Dr. Martin Coetzee and mentorship programme coordinators Dr Markus Wilken, Mmatshepho Phasha and Benedicta Swalarsk-Parry before enjoying some pizza and drinks where they could become better acquainted with their mentor and start planning for the first week’s work.

New Publications

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Linnakoski R, Forbes KM, Wingfield MJ, Pulkkinen P, Asiegbu FO. (2017) Testing projected climate change conditions on the Endoconidiophora polonica / Norway spruce pathosystem shows fungal strain specific effects. Frontiers in Plant Science 8:883. 10.3389/fpls.2017.00883 PDF
Crous CJ, Burgess TI, Le Roux JJ, Richardson DM, Slippers B, Wingfield MJ. (2017) Ecological disequilibrium drives insect pest and pathogen accumulation in non-native trees. AoB Plants 9:plw081. 10.1093/aobpla/plw081
Swart V, Crampton BG, Ridenour J, Bluhm BH, Olivier NA, Meyer JJM, Berger DK. (2017) Complementation of CTB7 in the maize pathogen Cercospora zeina overcomes the lack of in vitro cercosporin production. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions First Look Online 10.1094/MPMI-03-17-0054-R
Wingfield MJ, Slippers B, Wingfield BD, Barnes I. (2017) The unified framework for biological invasions: a forest fungal pathogen perspective. Biological Invasions 10.1007/s10530-017-1450-0
Tanui CK, Shyntum DY, Priem SL, Theron J, Moleleki LN. (2017) Influence of the ferric uptake regulator (Fur) protein on pathogenicity in Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. brasiliense. Plos One 5(12) 10.1371/journal.pone.0177647