19 Mar 2015

Launch of FABI’s annual Blanket Drive 

FABI has launched its annual Blanket Collection campaign and aims to collect 200 blankets this year. Charity drives and social awareness is an important part of FABI’s annual events calendar and gives people pause to think of those less fortunate than they are and in need. Blankets can be dropped off in the FABI reception area or cash donations of R50 per blanket can be made to Prof Noelani van den Berg.


11 Mar 2015

Two Centres of Excellence join forces in research on La Reunion Island

FABI, the DST-NRF Centres of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB)  and Invasion Biology (C•I•B) joined forces during early March 2015 to investigate microbiological aspects of the relationship between Acacia koa and A.


7 Mar 2015

FABI PhD student to attend the 2015 Lindau meeting

A PhD student in FABI, Osmond Mlonyeni, has been chosen as a 2015 Lindau Fellow to attend the 65th Lindau meeting in Germany in June 2015.


6 Mar 2015

Tim Noakes Lectures at TUKS

A host of FABIans were part of the audience of more than 250 people that filled the Sanlam Auditorium to listen to Prof. Prof. The title of his lecture was Reversing the greatest blunder in the history of medicine: can South African medical science lead the way? Dr Albe van der Merwe, senior lecturer in FABI and a board member of S2A3, presented Prof.  


5 Mar 2015

First PhD graduate from the Fruit Tree Biotechnology Programme

FABI would like to congratulate Bianca Reeksting on passing her PhD exam this week!


28 Feb 2015

Double Distinctions for two FABI MSc students

We would like to congratulate Erik Visser and Danielle Roodt for both passing their MSc degrees with distinction! Erik sequenced and assembled the shoot transcriptome of Pinus patula, creating an important resource to investigate host responses to Fusarium circinatum in future. As part of his MSc studies, Erik spent three months at the University of Connecticut in the laboratory of Prof. Danielle’s thesis is titled "The mating genetics and core genome of Ceratocystis albifundus". Ceratocystis albifundus is a filamentous ascomycete and a pathogen of non-native Acacia mearnsii in southern Africa. Both Danielle and Erik plan to embark on their PhD's this year.


27 Feb 2015

Myrtle rust pathogen, Puccinia psidii, spreading in South Africa

The non-native rust pathogen of Eucalyptus and other Myrtaceae, Puccinia psidii, was first reported from a single tree in a garden on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast of South Africa in May 2013. During a survey of cycad diseases in the Wolkberg Wilderness Area near Tzaneen, Limpopo Province, two native Eugenia sp. Puccinia psidii, the myrtle rust pathogen, has been known from Brazil and other South and Central American countries for several decades. Infection of plants results in leaf spot, necrosis of leaves, shoot, flower and fruit infections, resulting in death of affected plant parts. The threat of P. We encourage you to spread information on this important pathogen as wide as possible and to report any possible sightings of the disease to Prof.


21 Feb 2015

Encouraging Results in FABI/TPCP Biocontrol Programme

The fight against the ravages of the Bronze Bug Thaumastocoris peregrinus in commercial Eucalyptus forests has been stepped up with the successful release, establishment and spread of the minute parasitic wasp Cleruchoides noackae (Mymaridae). It has been 18 months since the Tree Protection Co-Operative Programme (TPCP), based at FABI, received permission from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) for the release the parasitic wasp. Data from post-release monitoring of C. Thaumastocoris peregrinus was first recorded in South Africa in 2003 (but only in 2005 in forestry areas), having been accidentally introduced from Australia. Photos: 1.


20 Feb 2015

FABI Launches Partnership with CBS

FABI has entered into a research partnership agreement with the Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures (CBS)-Fungal Biodiversity Centre located in Utrecht in the Netherlands. FABI Director, Prof. An important part of the partnership is the exchange of expertise and development and nurturing of the scientific talent at FABI. Prof. Species in the fungal genus Fusarium are of crucial importance in several fields. About CBS CBS is an institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). CBS maintains a world-renowned collection of more than 100 000 living filamentous fungi, yeasts and bacteria – the largest and oldest such collection in the world, representing a large percentage of the species in the fungal kingdom that have been cultured to date.


13 Feb 2015

Top science journalist visits FABI

Sarah Wild, Science Editor and multi-award winning journalist for the leading newspaper, The Mail & Guardian, visited FABI on 9 February when she conducted an interview with FABI Director, Prof.  


6 Feb 2015

Population Genetics Guest Lecture

FABI was honoured to co-host a special seminar in partnership with Department of Genetics, by Dr Adam Konecný on the application of Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC) as a valuable tool for inferring population history from genetic data.


4 Feb 2015

FABI Fun at the TPCP/CTHB Team Building Event

The biennal TPCP/CTHB team-building event was held last week, as in recent years, at Kwalata in the Dinokeng nature reserve north of Pretoria.


3 Feb 2015

The first FABI PhD graduate of 2015

In January 2015 Gudrun Dittrich-Schröder presented her PhD prestige seminar and passed her PhD exam. Leptocybe invasa is a gall-forming wasp of Eucalyptus species and has become one of the most threatening insect pests to Eucalyptus plantation forestry. We congratulate Gudrun on this wonderful achievement! Dittrich-Schroder G, Harney M, Neser S, Joffe T, Bush S, Hurley BP, Wingfield MJ, Slippers B. Dittrich-Schröder G, Wingfield MJ, Hurley BP, Slippers B. Kelly J, La Salle J, Harney M, Dittrich-Schröder G, Hurley BP.


26 Jan 2015

FABIans make an impact at the SASPP congress

From 18-21 January, the 49th congress of the Southern African Society of Plant Pathology (SASPP) took place in Bloemfontein. It was one of the largest meetings in the history of the society with more than 200 delegates representing the industry, academia, government and regulatory bodies. FABI was well represented with FABIans giving one keynote address, 15 oral and 17 poster presentations.


24 Jan 2015

International research team on termite ecology and evolution visits FABI

During the past week a team of eight researchers arrived in Pretoria for a 4-6 week stay in FABI.


16 Jan 2015

York Timbers CEO Visits FABI

FABI was honoured to host York Timbers CEO, Piet van Zyl, on 15 January.  


15 Jan 2015

AIDS research leaders visit FABI

On Wednesday 14 January, FABI hosted a visit by Prof.  


14 Jan 2015

Soil Biology Expert from China visits FABI

Dr Peter Mortimer, Associate Professor in the Soil Biology Group at the Kunming Institute of Botany, visited FABI last week on the invitation of FABI Director, Prof Mike Wingfield.  


14 Jan 2015

A Friend Falls in FABI

FABI was abuzz with activity when one of the large Carob (Ceratonia siliqua) trees in the courtyard toppled shortly after a short but severe mid-morning thunderstorm moved through the Tuks Campus last week.  


13 Jan 2015

Back to School with FABI

Over the past few years staff and students of FABI on an annual basis initiated, contributed and participated in welfare projects as part of its social responsibility programme.  


13 Jan 2015

FABI kickstarts 2015 with a breakfast!

The start of the new academic year saw some 180 FABIans cram into the FABI auditorium where they were welcomed by FABI director, Prof.


11 Dec 2014

FABI student wins the 2015 Grace Waterhouse Fellowship for research in the UK

The British Society of Plant Pathology (BSPP)/Southern African Society for Plant Pathology (SASPP) Grace Waterhouse Fellowship is awarded to a Southern African MSc or PhD student, allowing them to conduct research in a laboratory in the UK.


11 Dec 2014

FABI says farewell to Vivienne Clarence

After 17 years of employment and dedication, is was with sadness and a heavy heart that FABIans bid farewell to Mrs Vivienne Clarence on December 10th.


10 Dec 2014

Eminent American bacteriologist visits FABI

Prof Volker Brozel, Head of the Department of Biology and Microbiology, South Dakota State University, visited FABI in early December. Photo: Prof Brozel having dinner with Profs Fanus Venter and Brenda Wingfield, acting Dean.


5 Dec 2014

Sirex International Collaborative Project continues at Hogsback

FABI researchers Drs Jeff Garnas and Brett Hurley joined collaborators Ms Flora Krivak-Tetley and Dr Sandy Liebhold in Hogsback, Eastern Cape to investigate infestations of the Sirex woodwasp, Sirex noctilio.


4 Dec 2014

USA scientists visit FABI as part of Sirex collaborations

Prof Lori Eckhardt from the Faculty of the School of Forestry and Wildlife Science of the Auburn University, Alabama, and her MSc student Andrea Cole recently visited FABI to learn more about Sirex noctilio. Photo: Andrea Cole doing nematode isolations from Sirex wasps.


28 Nov 2014

FABIans present talks at ICFR Field Day

Field research and regular interaction with industry stakeholders are two key activities of the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP).


27 Nov 2014

A Focus on Insect Invasions

Insect invasions are growing in number and distribution rapidly.


26 Nov 2014

Sílvia Maússe Sitoe completes her Masters Degree

This month Sílvia Maússe Sitoe, an MSc student from Mozambique, received the examiner’s reports for her dissertation on the diseases of plantation Eucalyptus species in that country.


24 Nov 2014

First Phylogenomics Workshop at FABI

A Phylogenenomics Workshop was presented at FABI from 17 to 21 November 2014.


22 Nov 2014

Sappi Executives visit FABI

The forestry research team (including members of the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme - TPCP), the DST/NRF Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB) and the Forest Molecular Genetics Programme (FMG) enjoyed the pleasure of a visit by Sappi senior executives on Friday 21st November.


20 Nov 2014

FMG Annual Research Meeting a great success

The Forest Molecular Genetics (FMG) Programme in FABI hosted members from the South African Forestry industry at their annual Research Meeting on Tuesday, 18 November, at the University of Pretoria.


18 Nov 2014

FABI Celebrates its 17th Anniversary at a Gala Dinner and Annual Awards Ceremony

A fabulous Highveld thunderstorm provided the perfect prelude to the 17th Annual FABI year end gala dinner and awards ceremony. Student awards for 2014 Best MSc (based on final marks by external examiners): Marike Palmer and Desre Pinard. Special awards to people not a member of FABI FABI award recognizing contributions by a member of staff of the University of Pretoria (outside of FABI):Ms Jayvanti Pillay, Accountant of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. View more photos of the event in the gallery.


17 Nov 2014

Japanese Phytobacteriologists visit FABI

FABI had the pleasure of hosting Prof.


14 Nov 2014

10th Anniversary of the Centre of Excellence Programme

The Department of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB) housed at FABI was one of the first six CoE’s (selected via an open call and competitive process) to be selected for funding by the South African Government in 2014.