Professor Andre Drenth, a world-renowned plant pathologist from the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) at the University of Queensland in Australia recently visited FABI to act as an external advisor for the Institute’s External Stakeholder meeting as well as to attend the 34th Annual Meeting of the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP) and DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Plant health Biotechnology (CPHB). During his visit, the Macadamia Protection Program (MaPP) also had the opportunity to interact with him by hosting a mini symposium. Dr Gerda Fourie started the meeting with an overview of the programme which was followed by presentations by all members of the group. Throughout the day, Prof. Andre Drenth provided the team with critical advice on current projects which also led to discussions regarding future research directions in terms of macadamia pest and disease issues as well as discussions on how to communicate science to industry partners more effectively. During his visit, he also presented workshop on “How to be an effective Scientist”, which was attended by various senior PhD candidates and early career scientist where Prof. Drenth provided the attendees with valuable tips on how to succeed in research and develop a career as a scientist.

During his visit, Dr Gerda Fourie and group members Byron Sonnekus, Dee Twiddy, Angel Maduke and Gerhard Botha took Prof. Andre Drenth for a scenic trip to the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, accompanied by FABI director Prof Bernard Slippers. This led to a weekend filled with on-going research discussions in addition to a hike to the Echo Caves, a visit to Clarens, and relaxing evenings around the braai. The MaPP team would like to thank Prof. Andre for spending time with us and for his insightful tips and advice. We look forward to future interactions with him and the growing collaboration with researchers from the University of Queensland.