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The Annual Centres of Excellence Director’s Forum held in Port Elizabeth from 31 August till 2 September gave South African scientists a platform to discuss the Triumvirate (people, knowledge enterprise and engagement with society) Transformation in the DST-NRF Centres of Excellence. Presentations by the Minister of Science and Technology, the Honorable Naledi Pandor, Dr Mamphela Ramphele and Prof. Barney Pityana shaped discussions on the future of scientific research in South Africa. A future goal for science in South Africa should be the graduation of up to 5,000 PhD students per year who will be creators of knowledge in academia.

Core team members from the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB) engaged young learners from Port Elizabeth at a science outreach forum. CTHB Deputy Director and Programme Manager, Prof. Emma Steenkamp, Prof. Ednah Kunjeku (CTHB Board member and University of Venda academic), Dr Martin Coetzee, Dr Alistair McTaggart and PhD candidate Benedicta Swalarsk-Parry discussed the benefits of a career in science and of postgraduate education with high school students. They shared some of their important knowledge in genomes, evolution and biotechnology, which are applied to tree health. Benedicta Swalarsk-Parry had an opportunity to meet with Minister Pandor as a post-graduate student and explain her decision to pursue a career in science and some of the achievements made by the CTHB.

New Publications

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Human ZR, Crous CJ, Roets F, Venter SN, Wingfield MJ, de Beer ZW. (2017) Biodiversity and ecology of flower-associated actinomycetes in different flowering stages of Protea repens. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 10.1007/s10482-017-0942-3
Wingfield BD. (2017) The peer review system has flaws. But it’s still a barrier to bad science. The Conversation http://bit.ly/2holsgS
McTaggart AR, Beasley DR, Wingfield MJ, Wood AR, Pretorius ZA, Drenth A, Shivas RG, Roux J. (2017) A dynamic, web-based resource to identify rust fungi (Pucciniales) in southern Africa. MycoKeys 26:77-83. 10.3897/mycokeys.26.14602
De Maayer P, Aliyu H, Vikram S, Blom J, Duffy B, Cowan DA, Smits THM, Venter SN, Coutinho TA. (2017) Phylogenomic, pan-genomic, pathogenomic and evolutionary genomic insights into the agronomically relevant enterobacteria Pantoea ananatis and Pantoea stewartii. Frontiers in Microbiology 8(1755) 10.3389/fmicb.2017.01755
Jami F, Wingfield MJ, Gryzenhout M, Slippers B. (2017) Diversity of tree-infecting Botryosphaeriales on native and non-native trees in South Africa and Namibia. Australasian Plant Pathology 10.1007/s13313-017-0516-x
Stewart JE, Ross-Davis AL, Graҫa RN, Alfenas AC, Peever TL, Hanna JW, Uchida JY, Hauff RD, Kadooka CY, Kim MS, Cannon PG, Namba S, Simeto S, Pérez CA, Rayamajhi MB, Lodge DJ, Arguedas M, Medel-Ortiz R, López-Ramirez MA, Tennant P, Glen M, Machado PS, McTaggart AR, Carnegie AJ, Klopfenstein NB, Cleary M. (2017) Genetic diversity of the myrtle rust pathogen (Austropuccinia psidii) in the Americas and Hawaii: Global implications for invasive threat assessments. Forest Pathology 10.1111/efp.12378
Roodt D, Lohaus R, Sterck L, Swanepoel RL, Van de Peer Y, Mizrachi E. (2017) Evidence for an ancient whole genome duplication in the cycad lineage. PLOS ONE 12(9):e0184454. 10.1371/journal.pone.0184454
Liebhold AM, Brockerhoff EG, Kalisz S, Nuñez MA, Wardle DA, Wingfield MJ. (2017) Biological invasions in forest ecosystems. Biological Invasions 10.1007/s10530-017-1458-5
Amuge T, Berger DK, Katari MS, Myburg AA, Goldman SL, Ferguson ME. (2017) A time series transcriptome analysis of cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) varieties challenged with Ugandan cassava brown streak virus. Scientific Reports 7:9747. 10.1038/s41598-017-09617-z
McTaggart AR, Shuey LS, Granados GM, du Plessis E, Fraser S, Barnes I, Naidoo S, Wingfield MJ, Roux J. (2017) Evidence that Austropuccinia psidii may complete its sexual life cycle on Myrtaceae. Plant Pathology 10.1111/ppa.12763