Nam Pham successfully completed the requirements for a PhD degree on 10 January. The culmination of his doctoral studies were presented to a packed FABI auditorium to present his prestige seminar “Discovery of the cause and relevance of a serious new Eucalyptus foliar disease in Indonesia”. This was followed by a formal oral defense of his thesis held on the same day.  

Nam completed his PhD under the primary supervision of Prof. Mike Wingfield, Prof. Brenda Wingfield and Prof. Irene Barnes. His external examiners were Prof. Louis Bernier of the Laval University in Québec, Canada and Prof. Simone Prospero of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and landscape Research WSL, while Prof. Almuth Hammerbacher served as the internal examiner. All his examiners complimented him on an excellent, very interesting and well written thesis.

When introducing Nam before his Prestige Seminar, Mike Wingfield recounted how he first met Nam during a visit to Vietnam in 2014. He was hosted by Nam’s father, Prof. Thu Pham who is one of south Asia’s leading forest health experts and long-time FABI research collaborator. Nam subsequently joined FABI in 2016 and completed an MSc degree with research on leaf and shoot pathogens of Eucalyptus caused by Calonectria spp.  He then joined the newly-established RGE-FABI Tree Health Programme focused on plantation tree health in Indonesia.  Prof. Mike Wingfield described Nam’s research project “as perhaps the most difficult project ever undertaken in FABI”, in this case seeking to find the causal agent of what was then called Eucalyptus Little Leaf Disease devastating Eucalyptus plantations in Sumatra, Indonesia. Mike and many others had been studying this disease since its outbreak in 2014 without successfully finding its cause.  Nam’s research broke the deadlock and has resulted in numerous outstanding studies including those unravelling the population genetics and mating biology of E. necatrix.

Mike described Nam as an exceptional young scientist and that it was an absolute pleasure to have been his PhD advisor. By the time of completing his PhD, Nam had already amassed 18 publications in peer-reviewed journals. He is also an outstandingly-talented artist who has won many awards at FABI including the prestigious FABIan of the Year Award in 2021, FABI art prizes and numerous “Best Dressed” awards at SPOOF. In addition to his own research, Nam also mentored several students as a postgrad student and was a member of the FABI audiovisual team.