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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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Kenis M, Hurley BP, Hajek A, Cock MJW. (2017) Classical biological control of insect pests of trees: facts and figures. Biological Invasions 10.1007/s10530-017-1414-4
Conlon BH, Mitchell J, De Beer ZW, Carøe C, Gilbert MTP, Eilenberg J, Poulsen M, de Fine Licht HH. (2017) Draft genome of the fungus-growing termite pathogenic fungus Ophiocordyceps bispora (Ophiocordycipitaceae, Hypocreales, Ascomycota). Data in Brief 11:537–542. 10.1016/j.dib.2017.02.051 PDF
Palmer M, Steenkamp ET, Coetzee MPA, Chan W-Y, Van Zyl E, De Maayer P, Coutinho TA, Blom J, Smits THM, Duffy B, Venter SN. (2017) Phylogenomic resolution of the bacterial genus Pantoea and its relationship with Erwinia and Tatumella. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 10.1007/s10482-017-0852-4
Slippers B, Crous PW, Jami F, Groenewald JZ, Wingfield MJ. (2017) Diversity in the Botryosphaeriales : Looking back, looking forward. Fungal Biology 121(4):307-322. 10.1016/j.funbio.2017.02.002
Tsopelas P, Santini A, Wingfield MJ, De Beer ZW. (2017) Canker stain: A lethal disease destroying iconic plane trees. Plant Disease 10.1094/PDIS-09-16-1235-FE