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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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Wondafrash M, Slippers B, Garnas J, Hurley BP. (2017) Parasitoid assemblage associated with a North American pine weevil in South Africa. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 10.1111/afe.12246
Mostert D, Molina AB, Daniells J, Fourie G, Hermanto C, Chao C-P, Fabregar E, Sinohin VG, Hossain MDS, Masdek N, Visarto P, Rajapakse C, Thanh DT, Thangavelu R, Li C, Yi G, Wei Y, Mostert L, Viljoen A. (2017) The distribution and host range of the banana Fusarium wilt fungus, Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense, in Asia. PLoS ONE 12(7):24. 10.1371/journal.pone.0181630
Jankowiak R, Strzałka B, Bilański P, Linnakoski R, Aas T, Solheim H, Groszek M, De Beer ZW. (2017) Two new Leptographium spp. reveal an emerging complex of hardwood-infecting species in the Ophiostomatales. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 10.1007/s10482-017-0905-8
Ozturk KI, Chettri P, Dupont P-Y, Barnes I, McDougal RL, Moore GG, Sim A, Bradshaw RE. (2017) Evolution of polyketide synthesis in a Dothideomycete forest pathogen. Fungal Genetics and Biology 10.1016/j.fgb.2017.07.001
Wilken PM, Steenkamp ET, Wingfield MJ, De Beer ZW, Wingfield BD. (2017) Which MAT gene? Pezizomycotina (Ascomycota) mating-type gene nomenclature reconsidered. Fungal Biology Reviews 10.1016/j.fbr.2017.05.003