FABI team members Prof. Fanus Venter (Deputy Director), Dr Steven Hussey (Senior Lecturer) and Mr Lazarus Takawira (PhD student) represented the University of Pretoria at the 14th Annual Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute (JGI) Genomics of Energy & Environment Meeting, in San Francisco from 1-5 April. The meeting provided hundreds of current and prospective users of JGI resources an opportunity to learn about the full spectrum of the JGI’s capabilities through workshops and a diverse selection of plenary speakers who are applying the latest omics-strategies to advance high-impact and innovative science.

Lazarus Takawira, a PhD student under the supervisor of Dr Steven Hussey and the author of the paperback Imagine Africa, flew the FABI banner high by scooping the Best Student Poster award. His presentation featured his PhD research on the use of JGI-developed DNA Purification Sequencing to reconstruct transcriptional networks in Eucalyptus associated with wood formation. Over 140 posters were exhibited at the meeting by leading Primary Investigators, leading biotechnology companies, research institutions and postgraduate students from the USA and internationally. 

Lazarus’ research made extensive use of a JGI Community DNA Synthesis Grant awarded to his supervisor, Dr Hussey, in 2016. Further details about this resource are available on the Synthetic Biology page of the FABI website.


1. Dr Ben Cole (left), a Project Scientist at the JGI, presents Lazarus Takawira with a certificate for Best Student Poster.

2. JGI Director Dr Nigel Mouncey (left), Staff Scientist; Dr Erin Nuccio (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), Fellow; Dr Matt Deaner (University of Texas, Austin), and Best Student Poster winner Mr Lazarus Takawira (University of Pretoria).