A large number of FABI staff, postdocs and students - both past and present - participated in the 11th International Mycological Congress in San Juan, Puerto Rico from 16-21 July.
Professor Brett Hurley of FABI was invited to participate and present in one of the side events organised during the COFO 24 session, titled “Towards a harmonized global approach for managing forest invasive species”.
FABI’s Mandela Rhodes Scholars celebrate the 2018 selection of 100 Scholars in residence, 100 years after Madiba’s birth
FABI has been home to three Mandela Rhodes Scholars to date: Ms Mmatsepho Phasha (class of 2011), Dr Osmond Mlonyeni (class of 2009), and FABI academic staff member Dr Steven Hussey (class of 2010).
The 11th International Mycological Congress (IMC), was held from 16-21 July in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This is the premier international meeting focused on mycology (the study of fungi) held once every four years and hosted by the International Mycological Association (IMA).
Julanie Stapelberg a MSc student from FABI - with a project based at the CSIR - presented both a poster and talk entitled “The recombinant protein production potential within South African Microalgae”. As the only biotechnologist at the conference she truly emphasised the importance of Microalgal Biotechnology for the future of South Africa!
The International Mycological Association (IMA) recognises one young mycologist (under the age of 40) from each of five continents for exceptional research accomplishments relating to the study of fungi.
On 4 & 5 July FABI and the University of Pretoria (UP) signed Memoranda of Understanding with the South African National Seed Organisation (SANSOR) and Grain SA. These MOUs formalise an ongoing engagement between these organisations and FABI to enhance long-term research objectives and capacity development programmes.
In recent years, increasing reports of Eucalyptus nitens mortality, as a result of root-rot has been received from foresters across the KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga Provinces of South Africa.
FABI MSc student Julanie Stapelberg, attended the 8th International Conference on Algal Biomass, Biofuels and Bioproducts in Seattle, USA from 11-13 June. Julanie say that although she knew microalgae was important but her eyes were opened at the future it has. After greenhouse gas emissions are reduced and polluted water is treated, the algae products themselves are extremely beneficial.
The HealGenCAR Conference, with the theme: Clonal forestry and breeding for resistance to pests and pathogens, took place 12-14 June in Höör, Sweden.
In March 2018 four FABIans won prizes at the South African Society of Microbiology Congress.
For the third year running, PhD student Quentin Guignard walked away with the Best Dressed Male award at the 2018 annual meeting of the Society for the Presentation of Outrageous Findings (SPOOF).
For many decades, researchers depended on collections of reprints of scientific papers to maintain easy access to the literature. It was common practice for researchers to purchase reprints of their papers and to share these with colleagues globally.
The National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) celebrated 20 years of awardees at the NSTF-South 32 Awards dinner on 28 June.
During the week of 25-29 June, Prof Mike Wingfield and Dr Irene Barnes visited Sappi’s tree health specialists Prof Jolanda Roux and her colleague Kayla Noeth to inspect Eucalyptus trees infected by a species of Ceratocystis.
FABI hosted the first Tuks Young Research Leader Programme (TYRLP) bring-and-share lunch on 27 June. The group of early career researchers gathered under the winter sun to share lunch with colleagues from different UP faculties and departments.
In an effort to nudge a few people in the right direction, PhD candidate Andi Wilson has started a writing club in FABI.
FABI said a sad farewell to Dr Kershney Naidoo who is leaving the University of Pretoria where she completed her PhD and served as a junior lecturer for the past 12 years.
Visiting entomologist introduces FABIans to invasive exotic insect pests in the UK at a special seminar
Dr Chris Malumphy shed light on alien insect species that threaten the survival of various tree species in the United Kingdom in his special seminar, “New and emerging pest threats to trees in the UK” on 22 June.
A group of FABIans enjoyed a colourful spectacle of red, orange and yellow flowers in full bloom at the LC de Villiers campus of the University of Pretoria (UP).
Dr Gerda Fourie, leader of the Macadamia Protection Programme at FABI, and her PhD student, Angel Maduke, recently visited Macadamia growers to sample diseases and plan future experiments.
Congratulations to Esther Andrew Masumba, who successfully defended her PhD thesis on 13 June, becoming the eighth candidate at FABI to reach this milestone in 2018.
FABI researchers, Dr Marc Bouwer, Dr Kennedy Eguzozie and Agil Katumanyane recently attended a workshop hosted by the South African Sugarcane Research Institute (SASRI).
FABI’s Professor Mike Wingfield attended a meeting to provide advise on options to develop a National Forest Protection Programme for Colombia during a recent visit to the country.
FABIans participated in Science Week held at the Deutsche Internationale Schule in Pretoria from 29 May to 1 June.
From 28 May to 1 June, members of the Avocado Research Programme (ARP) attended the Avocado Brainstorming conference for 2018.
In the presence of academics from the joint Department of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology as well as close family and colleagues, Melissa Simpson presented her prestige seminar at FABI on 30 May.
FABI postdoctoral research Fellow Dr Mesfin Gossa recently visited MIRO Forestry Company in Ghana and Sierra Leone, as part of the Eucalyptus Insect Pest Project in Africa (EIPPA). This project is led by Proff Brett Hurley, Bernard Slippers and Dr Gossa, and currently covers over 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
FABI had the pleasure of hosting a visit on 27 May by Mr Sukanto Tanoto, the Chairman of the Royal Golden Eagle (RGE) Group.
On 30 May, FABI in collaboration with Future Africa held a podcasting workshop facilitated by Anina Mumm of Sciencelink. Podcasts are an effective means of science communication, offering information to listeners on many audio platforms.
In a first for FABI, Osmond Mlonyeni publically defended his PhD thesis on 23 May, marking a shift away from the Institute’s traditional prestige seminars. Previously, PhD candidates presented their prestige seminars first at the Institute before undergoing a closed oral defence with their external examiners.
Congratulations to the five FABI researchers whose stellar achievements were acknowledged by the University of Pretoria (UP) at the Academic Achievers’ Awards on 10 May! The annual ceremony is dedicated to academics rated by the National Research Foundation and whose excellence in research have contributed to UP’s ranking as one of the top research institutions in the world.
FameLab is an international science communication competition hosted in over 25 different countries. FABI PhD candidate Darryl Herron took part in one of 2018’s first heats last year at the Science Forum South Africa held at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The semi-finals were held at the Nelson Mandela University on the 9 May 2018, right after a two-day Master Class.
The CTHB Outreach Team once again joined the team at the Mondi Science, Career Guidance and FET skills Centre, Piet Retief, Mpumalanga for their annual Career Week from 7-11 May. The Outreach Team included five FABI postgraduate students: Juanita Avontuur, Benedicta Swalarsk-Parry, Angel Maduke, Modjadji Makwela and Fezile Mthunzi.
Four FABIans presented at the 15th African Centre for Gene Technologies (ACGT) Regional Plant Biotechnology Forum held at the University of Witwatersrand on 18 May. The theme was “Plant genomes - from genes to networks”. The keynote speaker was Dr Maria-Celeste Costa from the University of Cape Town (UCT) who spoke on gene co-expression networks of desiccation tolerance.
Many of the research leaders in FABI actively participate in, and are members of national and international Societies and Academies. Professor Brenda Wingfield is no exception and she is (amongst other responsibilities) the Vice President of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf). It was in this capacity that she represented South Africa at the Inaugural meeting of Commonwealth Science Advisers and Equivalents (CSAE). The meeting was part of the Commonwealth Summit and brought together