FABIans celebrated another milestone on August 14. David Read presented his prestige seminar in recognition of the completion of his PhD degree in Microbiology and Plant Pathology – the seventh PhD in FABI this year. He also passed his oral examination afterwards.

David was supervised by Extraordinary Professor Gerhard Pietersen, leader of the Plant Virology Group in FABI. He is also Prof. Pietersen’s first student to pass a PhD degree. His external examiners were Prof. Svetlana Folimonovoa of the University of Florida, Prof. Pedro Moreno from AVIA in Valencia, Spain and Dr. Helvecio Coletta Filho from Centro de Citricultura, Brazil.

In his talk titled "Improving co-existence of the citrus industry and citrus tristeza virus through better genotype detection and understanding populations", David highlighted the contribution his research would have on the citrus industry with improvements to the control measures of the citrus tristeva virus (CTV).

CTV is the most destructive viral pathogen with citrus, with grapefruit cultivars being most sensitive to infections. David’s research will benefit the cross-protection scheme of the Southern Africa Citrus Improvement Scheme, whose objective is to increase profitability in the industry by supplying growers with trees free of pathogens. Prof. Pietersen said he was confident David "will do our group proud and be a plant virologist of note".