SASPP 2021 Online Meeting

Dear SASPP Colleagues

Due to Covid-19 situation, our in-person biennial congress of the Southern African Society for Plant Pathology will be postponed to January 2022, but we will have an online event on 20 January 2021 to celebrate the IYPH2020, and to reconnect as a Society after this very disruptive year.

The meeting will be a hybrid in-person and online event. We intend to have a few people in person at Future Africa, while accommodating the majority of members online.

Apart from a keynote speaker which will be Prof Sophien Kamoun (The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, United Kingdom), we will also have six talks from Postdoctoral fellows or PhD students on work published in 2020.

During this event, we will also celebrate the launch of the special issue on plant health of SAJSci and a book on the history of Plant Pathology and the announcement of the Mildenhall Award.

If you wish to attend this event, please fill in the registration from accessible via the left panel of this page. A small in-person group will be possible on the day at Future Africa Campus, the Innovation Africa, University of Pretoria. If you are considering joining us in person, please indicate this in the registration form.

The program will be as follows: 

10:00 Welcome on behalf of the organisers and SASPP:  Prof Wijnand Swart (SASPP President) and Prof Bernard Slippers (organisers)
10:20 Keynote Speaker: Prof Sophien Kamoun: Open science in the age of pandemics
11:00 Break
11:15 Megan du Toit (Stellenbosch University): Quantitative detection of economically important Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense strains in Africa in plants, soil and water
11:30 Kira M. T. Lynn (University of Pretoria): Novel Fusarium mutualists of two Euwallacea species infesting Acacia crassicarpa in Indonesia
11:45 Patience Chatukuta (University of the Witwatersrand): A Cassava protoplast system for screening genes associated with the response to South African Cassava Mosaic Virus
12:00 Minette Havenga (University of Pretoria; Stellenbosch University): Reproductive biology of a globally important Eucalyptus foliar pathogen
12:15 Break
12:30 Jan H. Nagel (University of Pretoria):  Highly transferable microsatellite markers for the genera Lasiodiplodia and Neofusicoccum
12:45 Lisa Rothmann (University of the Free State): The role of reproducible research tools in quantifying a decade-long survey of Sclerotinia disease prevalence, in South Africa
13:00 Presentation on the History of Plant Pathology in South Africa and launch of the SASPP History Book: Prof Teresa Coutinho (editor)
13:15 Presentation of the South African Journal of Science Special Issue: Prof Jane Caruthers (Editor in Chief of SAJSci)
13:30 Thanks and conclusion 

Registration information

Please fill in the registration form below should you wish to attend this event. You will be provided with event information and zoom link via the email provided.




Keynote speaker: Prof. Sophien Kamoun. The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, United Kingdom. 
Title: Open science in the age of pandemics

Infectious plant diseases cause havoc to world agriculture and threaten to slow laudable efforts to launch a second green revolution. Filamentous pathogens such as the rice and wheat blast fungus, wheat stripe and stem rust, the Irish potato famine pathogen, and many others continue to trigger recurrent epidemics with far reaching consequences. In this talk, I will discuss how it is possible to perform cutting-edge research and significantly advance knowledge on economically important pathosystems, particularly in the post-genomics era. I will discuss our personal experience with the appearance in Bangladesh of wheat blast and stress the importance of open-science platforms and crowdsourced community responses in tackling emerging plant diseases. I will also discuss how mechanistic understanding of pathogen effector binding to host proteins can guide the retooling of the plant immune system towards resistance to diseases. Ultimately, we will deliver traits and non-transgenic cultivars for breeding disease resistance in crops.

Sophien Kamoun grew up in Tunisia where he developed a passion and curiosity about nature. He studied genetics in Paris and Davis, California, before working in Wageningen, Ohio and Norwich, where he is currently a Senior Scientist at The Sainsbury Laboratory and Professor of Biology at The University of East Anglia. He is known for his seminal contributions to our understanding of plant diseases and plant immunity having pioneered genomics and molecular biology methods to reveal fundamental insights into the biology and evolution of eukaryotic plant pathogens. His inventive work in plant pathology has resulted in new approaches to mitigate some of the world’s most serious crop diseases. Professor Kamoun has received many awards and recognitions, notably the Kuwait Prize and The Linnean Medal. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2018.

Kamoun Lab Web Site
Twitter @KamounLab

Other speakers:

Megan du Toit. Stellenbosch University

Kira M. T. Lynn. FABI, University of Pretoria

Patience Chatukuta. University of the Witwatersrand

Minette Havenga. University of Pretoria; Stellenbosch University

Jan H. Nagel. FABI, University of Pretoria

Lisa Rothmann. University of the Free State