Congratulations to 20 graduates affiliated with FABI whose degrees were conferred at the University of Pretoria’s virtual Spring Graduation Ceremony on 29 September. The virtual ceremony took the place of the graduation ceremonies scheduled for 29 September to 2 October. Because COVID-19 physical distancing protocols prohibit mass gatherings, UP has held virtual graduation ceremonies in 2020. Vice-chancellor and Principal Professor Tawana Kupe said a “physical graduation” to honour all the 2020 graduates would take place in May 2021.

FABI congratulates the following graduates:



Dr Akua Antwi-Agyakwah

Thesis: Development of semiochemical-based tools for the management of the African citrus triozid (ACT) Trioza erytreae Del Guercio (Hemiptera: Triozidae)

Supervisor: Prof CWW Pirk

Co-supervisors: Prof B Torto, Dr AA Yusuf

Dr Estiene Jordaan  

Thesis: Triangulating charcoal rot in South Africa

Supervisor: Prof JE van der Waals

External co-supervisor: Prof NW McLaren (University of the Free State)

Dr Jieqiong Li

Thesis: Taxonomy, mating type distribution and population biology of Calonectria species Supervisor: Prof S Chen

Co-supervisor: Prof I BarnesProf. MJ Wingfield

Dr Yewande Orubuloye

Thesis: Chemical ecology of Equid-Tsetse interactions for improved control of African Trypanosomosis

Supervisor: Dr AA Yusuf

Co-supervisors: Prof CWW Pirk, Prof B Torto

Dr Stephanie Van Wyk

Thesis: Repeat-induced point mutations in the Fusarium fujikuroi species complex

Supervisor: Prof ET Steenkamp

Co-supervisors: Prof BD WingfieldProf NA van der MerweDr L de Vos



Cameron Cullinan (with distinction)

Dissertation: The response of Soybean Cysteine Protease CP3 to drought

Supervisor: Prof BJ Vorster

Claudette Dewing (with distinction)

Dissertation: Comparative genomics reveal processes implicated in host-specificity in species within the American clade of the Fusarium fujikuroi species complex

Supervisor: Dr L de Vos

Co-supervisors: Prof ET SteenkampProf BD WingfieldDr MA van der Nest

Stephanus Engelbrecht (with distinction)

Dissertation: Allele-specific expression in xylogenic tissues of Eucalyptus grandis x E. urophylla hybrids

Supervisor: Prof AA Myburg

Co-supervisor: Prof E Mizrachi

Mathew Harris (with distinction)

Dissertation: Characterising patterns in fungal community ecology at local and global scales

Supervisor: Dr M Greve

Co-supervisor: Prof B Slippers

External co-supervisor: Dr M Kemler (Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany)

Jesse Hartley (with distinction)

Dissertation: Surveillance and isolation of Rosellinia necatrix in South African avocado orchards

Supervisor: Prof N van den Berg

Eugene Kabwe

Dissertation: Discovery and genomic architecture of Cercospora zeina (Crous & U. Braun) effector genes

Supervisor: Prof DK Berger

Co-supervisor: Dr A Duong

Nico le Roux

Dissertation: Soil surface temperature effects on the establishment of three grass-legume seed mixtures used in surface mine rehabilitation

Supervisor: Prof WF Truter

Co-supervisor: Prof TAS Aveling

Kira Lynn (with distinction)

Dissertation: Fusarium spp. associated with ambrosia beetles on Acacia crassicarpa in Indonesia

Supervisor: Prof I Barnes

Co-supervisors: Prof. MJ WingfieldProf ZW de Beer

External co-supervisor: Dr AJ Durán Sandoval (Royal Golden Eagle International, Indonesia)

Thapelo Maboko

Dissertation: A genetic transformation system for Chrysoporthe austroafricana

Supervisor: Prof NA van der Merwe

Co-supervisor: Dr BG Crampton

External co-supervisor: Prof E Kunjeku (University of Venda)

Teresia Macharia

Dissertation: Response of potato (Solanum tuberosumL.) to challenge by root-knot nematode Meloidogyne javanica

Supervisor: Prof LN Moleleki

Co-supervisor: Dr D Bellieny-Rabelo

Tsakani Miyambo (with distinction)

Dissertation: Identification and characterization of polygalacturonases in Phytophthora cinnamomi

Supervisor: Prof N van den Berg

Co-supervisor: Dr SA Prabhu

Fezile Mthunzi

Dissertation: Identification and characterisation of terpene synthase genes in the fungal genus Armillaria, with special reference to A.mellea

Supervisor: Prof MPA Coetzee

Co-supervisors: Prof BD WingfieldDr A Hammerbacher

Lufuno Mudau

Dissertation : Development of an effective phytosanitary regulatory system for onion (Allium cepa) export in South Africa

Supervisor: Prof TAS Aveling

Co-supervisor : Dr MT Mutengwe

External examiners: Prof MA Antwi (University of South Africa), Dr JC Meitz-Hopkins (Stellenbosch University)

Alex Nepomuceno

Dissertation: Inferred evolutionary relationships of the dung beetle tribe Scarabaeini (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) using gland morphology and cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs)

Supervisor: Prof CL Sole

Co-supervisor: Prof CWW Pirk

Robyn Smith

Dissertation: The partial characterisation of the terpene synthase genes implicated in the defence response by Pinus patula and Pinus tecunumanii to Fusarium circinatum

Supervisor: Prof S Naidoo

Co-supervisor: Prof MPA Coetzee