25 Aug 2017

Extraordinary Professor Gerhard Pietersen says farewell to colleagues and students after 13 years at UP

Staff and students in the Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology of the University of Pretoria gathered on 21 August to wish Extraordinary Professor Gerhard Pietersen well as he takes up a research position in the Western Cape. Prof. He supervised 16 completed MSc's and two completed PhD's during his time at UP. Prof.


23 Aug 2017

Andrea (Andi) Wilson: Another FABI award!

The South African Women in Science Awards ceremony and gala dinner - one of South Africa’s premier Science events of the year, was held at the Hilton Hotel in Sandton on 17 August.


21 Aug 2017

FABI represented at 2017 North Gauteng Senior Science Fair

Eight FABIans served on the judging panel of the North Gauteng Senior Science Fair at the University of Pretoria’s LC de Villiers Sports Campus on 18 August.  


15 Aug 2017

The CTHB Outreach Team brings science fever to Mpumalanga

From 7 to 11 August, the FABI/CTHB tent at the Mondi Science, Career Guidance and FET Skills Centre was a haven for science enthusiasts of all ages who attended the annual National Science Week (NSW) celebrations. The experiments challenged the learners to think out of the box and beyond “magic” as an answer to things they could not initially explain. The CTHB Outreach Team was one of several exhibitors who took part in the initiative spearheaded by the Department of Science and Technology. The CTHB Outreach Team this year included postgraduate students Juanita Avontuur, Arista Fourie, Angel Maduke and Benedicta Swalarsk-Parry along with Namhla Tshisela.


14 Aug 2017

FABI has a presence at Science Week in Khayelitsha

Hundreds of leaners from local schools converged on the O.


8 Aug 2017

FABIan participates in Nomenclature Section of the International Botanical Congress (IBC) in China

Prof. Wilhelm de Beer of FABI participated in the Nomenclature Section of the recent International Botanical Congress (IBC) in Shenzeng, China.


4 Aug 2017

Chinese Embassy delegation visits FABI

FABI was honoured to receive a visit on 28 July by a delegation from the Pretoria Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, led by Counselor Huang Wei. They were shown the research work being undertaken at the FABI Biocontrol Centre at the University of Pretoria’s experimental farm. The Institute has had a long association with China through the CERC-FABI Tree Protection Programme (CFTPP), a cooperative venture between the China Eucalypt Research Centre (CERC) of the Chinese Academy of Forestry in China, and FABI. The CFTPP arose from a long-term collaboration between the two institutions that was formally established in 2014.


4 Aug 2017

FABI fungal genome first with a MinION

The first 'in-house' fungal genome has been sequenced in the halls of FABI using Oxford NanoPore sequencing technology. Photo Caption:  Dr Tuan Doung loads the first sample of genomic DNA run on the MinION at FABI.


3 Aug 2017

FABIan re-elected to ICSP Board

Professor Fanus Venter recently attended the meeting of the International Committee on Systematics of Prokaryotes (ICSP) in Valencia, Spain from 7-9 July as representative of the South African Society for Microbiology. He was also invited to present a lecture at the 7th Congress of European Microbiologists (FEMS 2017) in Valencia as one of four invited speakers to a session on the role of genome sequence analysis in polyphasic taxonomy and prokaryotic systematics.


28 Jul 2017

FABIans contribute to the sustainability of a diverse forestry sector at the 7th Forestry Science Symposium

FABI had a significant presence at the 7th Forestry Science Symposium hosted by the Institute for Commercial Forestry Research (ICFR) in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO). This symposium, held in Pietermaritzburg from 18-21 July, brought together more than 200 participants from Government, commercial forestry companies, research institutions and universities. All sharing an interest i


25 Jul 2017

FABI researchers attend MSA meeting

The 2017 meeting of the Mycological Society of America (MSA) with the theme “Translational mycology: Putting fungal diversity to work” was held from 16-19 July in Athens, Georgia, USA. Lieschen presented a talk  "Analysis of the twelfth chromosome of a representative set of species within the Fusarium fujikuroi species complex". Brenda presented two posters, both with a focus on Mating type genes: "Review and revision of the nomenclature system for MAT genes in the Pezizomycotina" and "Genome sequencing reveals a heterothallic mating system in the Eucalyptus pathogen Chrysoporthe austroafricana". Brenda was also presented a plaque from the MSA to celebrate her recognition as an Honorary Member of MSA.


21 Jul 2017

FABIans attend the 2017 Combined Congress of the Entomological and Zoological Societies of Southern Africa

The 2017 Combined Congress of the Entomological and Zoological Societies of Southern Africa took place from 3-7 July at the CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa. Over 400 people attended the congress, moving between four parallel sessions covering a wide variety of thematic areas. The congress hosted plenary presentations by eminent scientists, including Professors Daniel Simberloff, Phil Stevenson and Bill Karasov while lunchtime workshops discussed topics such as career


20 Jul 2017

FABI welcomes IFSS delegates

Delegates participating in the International Forestry Students Symposium (IFSS) 2017 visited FABI on Sunday 16 July.


19 Jul 2017

FABI hosts IFSS 2017 closing ceremony

The 45th International Forestry Students Symposium (IFSS) held its closing ceremony at the University of Pretoria (UP) on 16 July. FABI Director, Prof. The IFSS closing ceremony was attended by the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, General Bheki Cele, University of Pretoria Vice-Principal Prof. Incoming IFSA President Salina Abraham spoke passionately of the role of the youth and particularly IFSA members in the future of forestry in her welcome speech. Addressing the delegates and invited guests, Gen. Gen.  


13 Jul 2017

Lots of wild and outrageous science at SPOOF 2017!

On 7 July, the University of Pretoria’s Rautenbach Hall was transformed into “Piney Town”, a small town in the Wild West, for the 21st Annual Meeting of the Society for the Presentation of Outrageous Findings (SPOOF). Scientists presented their findings of varying degrees of outrageousness at this year’s SPOOF meeting. In the "eyes" of the audience, two presentations stood out as most exceptional. The Best Dressed Female award went to Josephine Queffelec who came dressed as a Native American totem pole. For the second year running, Quentin Guignard took home the Best Dressed Male award for his costume as one of the villainous Sirex Brothers terrorising the trees of Piney Town.


12 Jul 2017

FABIans celebrate the sixth prestige seminar of 2017

FABI congratulates Aquillah Kanzi who successfully defended his PhD thesis at his oral examination on 11 July, a day after presenting his prestige seminar. The aim of his study was to provide insight regarding the mating systems and evolution of Chrysoporthe species, which are economically important fungal pathogens that cause canker diseases on Eucalyptus species and indigenous tree species such as Syzygium. Whole genome sequences of Chrysoporthe austroafricana, C. Dr.


11 Jul 2017

FABI’s members shine in Chess Championship 2017

FABI MSc student Thapelo Maboko showed that he is not just and aspiring scientist but also a skilled chess player. The USSA Chess tournament was attended by 198 men and a 99 ladies from 23 institutions from across South Africa with the TuksChess team comprising 10 men and six  women. Godfrey also points out that a chess player can burn up to 6,000 calories during an intense chess game.


8 Jul 2017

FABI flag flies high at SASSB congress

Several FABI staff members and students participated in the recent SASSB conference in Pretoria.


30 Jun 2017

FABI engages youth from Philippi in research at Cape Point

The FABI and DST-NRF Centre for Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB) sponsored project, Cape Citizen Science, has partnered with the South African Education and Environment Project (SAEP) to engage youth from two schools in Philippi, Cape Town.


28 Jun 2017

UP researchers on top of the world over fungi research

Read this feature article on the Research Matters webpage of the University of Pretoria.


27 Jun 2017

Passing of Martha Mahlangu

It was with great sadness that the staff of the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) learned of the sudden and unexpected death of our receptionist and long-time FABI team member Martha Thandi Mahlangu on 26 June. Martha will be remembered by FABIans for her friendly smile and sense of humour - always laughing and enjoying a good joke.


23 Jun 2017

FABI Director receives Leadership Award

FABI Director, Prof. Mike Wingfield received the Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals from his alma mater, the University of Minnesota where he completed a PhD in plant pathology in 1983.


21 Jun 2017

FABI PhD student flies the UP and country flag high

FABI PhD student, Osmond Mlonyeni, recently attended the 2nd Commonwealth Science Conference in Singapore.


20 Jun 2017

IUFRO Forest Landscape Restoration Workshop In Puerto Rico

During the week of 5 May, FABI Director Prof. Mike Wingfield, in his capacity as IUFRO President, represented the Union at an international workshop on Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) in Puerto Rico.


19 Jun 2017

Fabian attends launch of Kenya-South Africa research projects

Prof. Dave Berger of the Molecular Plant Pathogen Interactions research group in FABI attended a workshop in Nairobi to launch the new set of joint bilateral Kenya-South Africa research projects.


18 Jun 2017

Cooking up Plant Pathology

Three FABIans are enjoying research visits in the USA at Penn State University in the Department of Plant Pathology and Applied Microbiology, Kay Bophela, Andi Wilson and Prof. Brenda Wingfield.


13 Jun 2017

Australian plant pathologist visits FABI

On 5 and 6 June Prof. The aim of this week’s visit was to spent time with Dr Gerda Fourie in order to discuss future collaboration with the Macadamia Protection Programme that was launched earlier this year.


9 Jun 2017

FABI partners with Akanani to deliver winter woollies to communities in need

FABIans collected warm winter clothes, linen and 135 blankets during the 2017 Annual Blanket Drive, which kicked off in March. Akanani provides not only food and toiletries to homeless children, women and men in Tshwane, but also referrals to health and legal services. Staff, students and visitors to FABI contribute to the campaign for blankets and winter woollies every year.


9 Jun 2017

Research Visit to Penn State University, Home of the Nittany Lions

FABI PhD student Andi Wilson relates her experiences while on a two month research visit to Department of Plant Pathology at Pennsylvania State University.


8 Jun 2017

Learning to speak American and other tales

Prof. Brenda Wingfield gives us an insight of campus life while on sabbatical at Pennsylvania State University.


6 Jun 2017

FABIans elected to provincial branch of the SAIF

Two FABIans were re-elected to the executive committee of the Gauteng branch of the Southern African Institute of Forestry (SAIF). The SAIF is a professional association of forestry-related experts geared towards delivering a professional service to forestry. Four FABIans were among six presenters at the meeting who rose to the challenge of PechaKucha style talks on forestry matters. George Dowse of Hans Merensky’s presentation was titled Breeding Eucalyptus sawtimber, Kassahun Maru of UP discussed “The importance of agroforestry in Ethiopia”, Izette Greyling presented “Field extension: Linking industry to world class research”, Darryl Herron presented “Plant clinics in the Anthropocene”, Tayo Adenigba’s presented her talk “Can we use mating factors to manage pitch canker?


2 Jun 2017

Rhizobium researchers visit FABI

Two leading Rhizobium researchers, Dr Sofie de Meyer form the Centre for Rhizobium Studies at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia and Dr Euan James from the James Hatton Institute in Scotland presented a special seminar at FABI as part of their visit to the Institute. Dr de Meyer explained how researchers at the Centre for Rhizobium Studies is focused on finding new legumes better adapted to future climatic conditions in Australia. Dr James spoke of his research work on the diversity of Beta-rhizobia on Mimosa species in South America with the principle questions i) who are these symbionts, ii) what is their origin and iii) are they associated with specific legume hosts?


2 Jun 2017

Colleagues say farewell to Zandile Mngadi

FABIans got together on 30 May to bid farewell and to wish Zandile Mngadi well on her last day at the Institute.


31 May 2017

CTHB Outreach Team participates in Career Guidance Week in Mpumalanga

During the first week of May an Outreach Team of the CTHB participated in the annual Career Guidance Week hosted by the Mondi Science, Career Guidance and FET Skills Centre in Piet Retief, Mpumalanga.


29 May 2017

TUKS showcases international tree health research at the annual TPCP symposium

The Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP) in FABI hosted its 28th annual symposium on 16 and 17 May at the University of Pretoria.