The launch of the 2016 DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB) mentorship programme was held at FABI on March 4. Aimed at second and third year undergraduate science students, the programme allows students to experience research activities under the guidance of postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows at FABI. Applicants are carefully selected based on academic achievements and scientific interest in the fields of Microbiology, Genetics, Entomology or Plant pathology.

Each successful candidate is then interviewed by a selection panel before being paired with a postgraduate mentor. Mentors devote six hours per week to mentoring the students, teaching basic laboratory skills, scientific principles and protocols related to working in a laboratory. This year a total of 16 students were accepted into the programme, including four students who joined the programme last year.

Prof. Emma Steenkamp welcomed the students to the programme after which the mentor and mentee pairings were made. Over pizza and drinks, each pair got better acquainted before planning for the first week of work that started on March 7. The programme is scheduled to run until November, when the annual mentorship lunch will conclude another successful year of mentorship at FABI.