We would like to congratulate Erik Visser and Danielle Roodt for both passing their MSc degrees with distinction!

Erik sequenced and assembled the shoot transcriptome of Pinus patula, creating an important resource to investigate host responses to Fusarium circinatum in future. The study was supervised by Dr Sanushka Naidoo and co-supervised by Professors Emma Steenkamp and Zander Myburg.

As part of his MSc studies, Erik spent three months at the University of Connecticut in the laboratory of Prof. Jill Wegrzyn to adopt some of their genomic resources and tools. The latter group is renowned for sequencing the Pinus taeda genome.

Danielle’s thesis is titled "The mating genetics and core genome of Ceratocystis albifundus". Her supervisor was Prof. Brenda Wingfield with Prof. Mike Wingfield and Markus Wilken as co-supervisors.

Ceratocystis albifundus is a filamentous ascomycete and a pathogen of non-native Acacia mearnsii in southern Africa. The research conducted in this dissertation focused on characterising the MAT locus of C. albifundus, assembling the genome of C. albifundus for a genome announcement, as well as investigating core and accessory genes between multiple isolates of this fungus.

Both Danielle and Erik plan to embark on their PhD's this year. Erik will be following up his MSc thesis with sequencing the Pinus tecunumanni transcriptome.