A hearty congratulations to all the FABI graduates who were capped at the University of Pretoria’s Spring Graduation ceremony on 5 September! Nine PhD and 16 MSc students supervised or co-supervised by FABI Management Committee members were conferred their degrees at the ceremony. We wish them all the best in their future endeavors and studies.


Dr Laura Bester

Thesis: The effects of neonicotinoids and increasing temperatures on the thermoregulation and flight ability of South African honey bees, Apis mellifera scutellata (Lepeletier) 

Supervisor: Prof. CWW Pirk

Dr Ayubo Kampango

Thesis: Characterization of mosquito community assemblages and vector species ecology to inform control interventions at hotel settings in Zanzibar

Supervisor: Prof. CW Weldon

External co-supervisors: Prof. P Furu (University of Copenhagen, Denmark), Prof. KL Schiøler (University of Copenhagen, Denmark)

Dr QianLi Liu

Thesis: Phylogeny, taxonomy and the ecology of Calonectria species

Supervisor: Dr SF Chen

Co-supervisors: Prof. MJ Wingfield, Prof. BD Wingfield, Dr TA Duong

Dr Londiwe Mabuza

Thesis: Haploid-inducer development by CRISPR/Cas9 mediated CenH3 gene modification in Helianthus annuus (Sunflower)

Supervisor: Dr BG Crampton

External co-supervisor: Dr ZH Swanevelder (Agricultural Research Council)

Dr Mandy Messal

Thesis: Fungal community interactions in the Eucalyptus grandis phyllosphere

Supervisor: Prof. B Slippers

Co-supervisor: Prof. S Naidoo

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

Dr Rachel Mkandawire

Thesis: Diversity of Fusarium Link and mite species associated with malformed Syzygium cordatum Hochst. Ex Krauss (water berry) inflorescences

Supervisor: Dr G Fourie

Co-supervisors: Prof. ET Steenkamp, Prof. MJ Wingfield, Dr N Yilmaz

Dr Knowledge Mushonga

Thesis: Crop rotation effects on soil and plant health in a dryland production system in South Africa

Supervisor: Prof. JE van der Waals

Co-supervisor: Prof. JM Steyn

External co-supervisor: Prof. WJ Swart (University of the Free State)

Dr Deborah Narh Mensah

Thesis: Characterising some mechanisms of iron homeostasis in selected Armillaria species

Supervisor: Prof. MPA Coetzee

Co-supervisor: Prof. BD Wingfield

Dr Elisa Pal

Thesis: Ecology and management of Bathycoelia distincta (two-spotted stink bug) in Macadamia orchards in South Africa

Supervisor: Dr G Fourie

Co-supervisors: Prof. JD Allison, Prof. BP Hurley, Prof. B Slippers 

MSc (* with distinction)

Vasili Balios

Dissertation: Engineering early floral induction in Eucalyptus by manipulating the Flowering Locus T (FT) gene

Supervisor: Prof. AA Myburg

Co-supervisor: Dr SG Hussey

Shivan Bezuidenhout*

Dissertation: The fungal diversity and mycotoxins associated with South African soybeans

Supervisor: Prof. CM Visagie

Co-supervisor: Dr N Yilmaz

Xavier Brits*

Dissertation: Hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae) as pollinators of sunflowers in the Waterberg region of Limpopo province, South Africa

Supervisor: Prof. CW Weldon

Co-supervisor: Dr H Human

External co-supervisor: Dr JM Midgley (KwaZulu-Natal Museum)

Carla Buitendag

Dissertation: Gene silencing mediated by dsRNA reduces grey leaf spot disease in maize

Supervisor: Prof. DK Berger

Co-supervisor: Prof. J Theron

Vinolia Danki

Dissertation: Genome‐wide analysis of fitness data in Ceratocystis albifundus

Supervisor: Dr MA van der Nest

Co-supervisors: Prof. ET Steenkamp, Prof. BD Wingfield, Dr L de Vos

External co-supervisor: Dr NP Mchunu (National Research Foundation)

Eileen Engelbrecht*

Dissertation: Pollination ecology of Lantana camara and its relationship with honey bees (Apis mellifera scutellata) in South Africa

Supervisor: Prof. CWW Pirk

Lukanyo Makhabane*

Dissertation: Genome defence mechanisms in Basidiomycota fungi, with special reference to Armillariaspecies

Supervisor: Prof. MPA Coetzee

Co-supervisors: Prof. ET Steenkamp, Prof. BD Wingfield

External co-supervisor: Dr S van Wyk (Stellenbosch University)

Idea Makowe

Dissertation: Factors influeincing the rearing and success of biological control agents of Gonipterus sp. n. 2 (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)

Supervisor: Prof. BP Hurley

Co-supervisor: Dr ML Schröder

Tumisang Mokgobu

Dissertation: Aggressiveness of diverse African isolates of Cercospora zeina on maize

Supervisor: Prof. DK Berger

Co-supervisor: Dr DL Nsibo

Tshiamo Phakalatsane

Dissertation: Analysis of the mating-type loci of Chrysoporthe species

Supervisor: Prof. NA van der Merwe

Co-supervisor: Dr PM Wilken

Innocent Rakubu*

Dissertation: Efficacy, host-finding ability and application methods of entomopathogenic nematodes to control pupae of Gonipterus sp. 2 (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)

Supervisor: Prof. BP Hurley

Co-supervisor: Dr A Katumanyane

Kevin Scheepers

Dissertation: Effect of elevated CO2 on maize susceptibility to grey leaf spot disease

Supervisor: Prof. DK Berger

Co-supervisors: Prof. JM Steyn, Dr NJ Taylor

Onkgopotse Seabi

Dissertation: Diversity of fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) from the South African Highveld and Lowveld and a preliminary assessment of their infection with Wolbachia

Supervisor: Prof. CW Weldon

Co-supervisor: Prof. AD Bastos

Dee Twiddy*

Dissertation: Characterisation of Macadamia nut diseases in South Africa

Supervisor: Dr G Fourie

External co-supervisors: Prof. OA Akinsanmi (The University of Queensland, Australia), Dr A Fourie (Utrecht University, The Netherlands)

Edwin Wanjofu*

Dissertation: Taxonomy and symbiotic effectiveness of Mesorhizobium associated with chickpea

Supervisor: Dr EK Muema

Co-supervisors: Prof. ET Steenkamp, Prof. SN Venter, Dr CW Beukes