FABI MSc students Angie du Preez and Khumbuzile Bophela attended the 19th Biennial South African Society for Microbiology (SASM) congress held in the Coastlands Umhlanga Convention Centre in KwaZulu-Natal from 17-20 January 2016. The conference was hosted by the Durban University of Technology (DUT) and was themed "Green Living through Science and Technology".

The welcome ceremony opened with a lead plenary address by Dr Karen Nelson of the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) titled "The human microbiome and implications for health and diseases". Dr Nelson has worked at the JCVI for the past 19 years and is its current President. In subsequent days the conference was addressed by five plenary speakers: Prof. Ashok Pandey, Prof. Russel T. Hill, Prof. Holger Jenke-Kodama, Prof. Liang Tong and Dr. Fengyan Bai. There were also 23 keynotes, 101 presentations and 133 poster presentations including two by the two FABI students:

  • Angelique du PreezPantoea ananatis strains from different niches: a flagellin glycosylation island comparison
  • Khumbuzile Bophela: Characterisation and pathogenicity of Enterobacter species associated with bacterial blight and die-back of Eucalyptus seedlings and cuttings 

This SASM conference reflected on disciplines such as Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology. It especially highlighted the importance of technological innovation and cooperation between academia and industry at a national and international level and fostering collaborative research.