FABI congratulates Ritesh Mewalal on passing his PhD oral exam on January 29, becoming the second FABIan to do so in 2016. Ritesh completed his PhD degree under the supervision of Prof. Zander Myburg, the head of the Forest Molecular Genetics research group, Dr Eshchar Mizrachi of the Department of Genetics, and Prof. Shawn Mansfield of the Department of Wood Science at the University of British Columbia in Canada. Titled "Functional characterisation of cell wall-related proteins of unknown function (CW-PUFs) in Arabidopsis thaliana", Ritesh’s research project sought to identify CW-PUFs in the genus Eucalyptus and to functionally characterise these genes in Arabidopsis.

His external examiners were Professors Jeffrey Dean of the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology & Plant Pathology at Mississippi State University in the United States, Peter Constabel of the Centre for Forest Biology at the University of Victoria in Canada, and Laigeng Li of the Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. Ritesh has embarked on a postdoctoral study at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, a division of the United States Department of Energy, under the supervision of Prof. Jerry Tuskan, a global leader in tree genomics and biotechnology.