Well done to Deborah Narh Mensah on completing her PhD degree and presenting her Prestige Seminar “Characterising some mechanisms of iron homeostasis in selected Armillaria species” on 1 September.  Deborah completed her PhD under the supervision of Prof. Martin Coetzee and Prof. Brenda Wingfield. The external examiners for her thesis were Prof. Rytas Vilgalys of Duke University, USA, Prof. Martie Smit of the University of the Free State and Prof. Almuth Hammerbacher was the internal examiner. Prof. Martin Coetzee praised Deborah for the big contribution she made to the Institute and the hard work in producing a thesis of very high quality despite the challenges presented by the COVID pandemic. He noted that she had already published two first author papers from her thesis with two more being accepted for publication.

In her thesis, Deborah investigated mechanisms utilised by some selected Armillaria species for iron homeostasis using bioassays, genomics, and proteomics. A review was conducted on the status of, and technologies used for Armillaria genome projects. This was used to develop a practical guide for genome sequencing, assembly, and annotation of basidiomycetes and other diploid and dikaryotic fungi. One genome of an Armillaria isolate from Zimbabwe was sequenced. This resource was used for proteomic evaluation of the isolate in response to iron.