A film team visited FABI on 16 September to record an interview with Prof.
FABI labs are buzzing again with activity, albeit within strict schedules to manage the number of people in the building and to adhere to safety regulations during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Early in 2020, Dr Andi Wilson and her PhD supervisors published a paper in the journal Fungal Genetics and Biology that detailed the knockout of a novel mating gene in Huntiella omanensis using the CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing system. The video represents a new way of communicating research - particularly novel techniques and protocols that are not always fully described in research papers. Excitingly, the video produced for this project is the first JoVE video to have been shot in Africa.
On 3 September, Dr Gerda Fourie, research leader of the Macadamia Protection Programme (MPP) and Prof. Zander Myburg, research leader of the Forest Molecular Genetics (FMG) Programme participated in a live webinar.
The launch of the trans-disciplinary York Timbers Chair in Data-Driven, Wood Structural Engineering for a Sustainable Built Environment and African Bioeconomy is a step closer following the signing of a funding agreement between the University of Pretoria (UP) and York Timbers.
On 2 September, several FABIans that form part of the bark beetle mycobiome research network took part in their 9th virtual meeting.
FABI launched the Remote Sensing of Plant Health satellite laboratory with the University of Ghent in Belgium and the Artificial Intelligence in Farming satellite laboratory with Université de Québec à Montréal in Canada on 7 September.
FABI MSc student Ingrid Marais attended the National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB) 2020 annual meeting thanks to a South-African Plant Breeders Association (SAPBA) sponsorship.
Phyloge-knows-it outwitted 12 teams to be crowned winners at FABI’s first virtual Quiz Night on 4 September.
Professor Mike Wingfield, together with Prof. Brenda Wingfield, recently joined Stellenbosch University colleagues Prof. Francois Roets, Dr Casper Crous and Dr Gabi Kietzka to sample Widdringtonia cedarbergensis in the Cedarberg Mountain Range of the Western Cape Province.
The plant pathogenic bacterium Xylella fastidiosa under the spotlight at FABI’s monthly International Seminar
The plant pathogenic bacterium Xylella fastidiosa is a devastating pathogen that poses a huge threat to crops and the environment. The bacterium was first reported in 1892 by Newton Pierre as ‘California vine disease’ but it was not isolated until 1978. Dr Jacques explained how comparative genomics was used to track the introduction of X.
FABI launched its multidisciplinary Grain Research Programme (GRP) during an online event on 21 August.
FABI congratulates Prof. AAS is a non-aligned, non-political, not-for-profit pan African organisation whose vision is to see transformed lives on the African continent through science.
The RGE-FABI Tree Health Programme team met on the Zoom virtual platform on 18 August.
FABI research Fellow Dr Trudy Paap participated as an invited speaker in the special session, ‘Emerging endemic pathogens behaving as exotic invasives in changing climates in forest systems’.
FABIans joined young researchers from several countries for the South African Society of Bioinformatics Student Council (SASBi-SC) Online Student Symposium from 4-6 August. FABIans contributed two oral presentations and a project overview to the 30 presentations at the online symposium.
Twenty two members of the FMG research group in FABI attended this year's virtual-hosted ASPB Plant Biology Worldwide Summit 2020.
FABI founding Director and Immediate Past President IUFRO, Prof. Mike Wingfield along with Prof. Brett Hurley were invited to present in a FAO webinar covering the topic “Forest invasive species - the next global pandemic?” on 29 July.
Dr Celine Caseys of the University of California, Davis, delivered the third presentation in the FABI International Seminar Series on 30 July.
It has been just over four years since the SANBI-funded postdoctoral project ‘Monitoring plant health in sentinel sites: botanical gardens and arboreta’ started.
FABI congratulates Prof. Mike Wingfield on winning the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) Annual Theme Award: Plant Health.
Three researchers from the FABI Grain Research Programme, Dr David Nsibo, Dr Godfrey Kgatle and PhD candidate Pfano Mbedzi, visited farms in the Eastern Cape from 12-17 July.
FABI students and their co-authors contributed 37 posters/graphical abstracts of the 157 of these presentations at the MSA conference.
Four FABIans (Vinolia Danki, Dr Tuan Duong, Dr Andi Wilson and Prof. Andi and Brenda were joined in the making of the video by Tuan and Vinolia.
For the first time in its 23-year history, FABI hosted a virtual Society for the Presentation of Outrageous Findings (SPOOF) event on 17 July. FABIans submitted nine pre-recorded videos, which in the spirit of the time, reflected the lighter moments of a nation under lockdown. The Gene Jockeys took the prize for the Best Abstract (with the subliminal message “Vote for us. FABI Director Prof.
JieQiong Li marked the completion of her PhD study by presenting a prestige seminar (thesis defense) on 17 July.
FABI Director, Prof. Bernard Slippers along with Prof. Brett Hurley and Darryl Herron embarked on a field trip to the southern Cape during the week of 29 June.
Vice-Chancellor and Principal at the University of Pretoria Professor Tawana Kupe joined FABIans at the Monday Morning Meeting on 13 July for a discussion on ‘fake news’ in the era of the Covid-19 pandemic.
FABI’s Dr Tanay Bose, a postdoctoral Fellow under the TPCP and in partnership with Sappi Forests has been running Phytophthora disease resistance trials for identifying tolerant Eucalyptus clones.
FABI was delighted to learn that a colleague and Manager for Partnerships and Programs for Innovation at Future Africa, Dr Osmond Mlonyeni has been appointed as a Trustee of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation. The Trustees of the MRF officially welcomed him at the annual Board meeting held on 8 June. Osmond is an alumnus of FABI at the University of Pretoria where he completed both MSc and PhD degrees and he remains deeply involved in the activities of FABI.
FABI’s second monthly International Seminar had Assistant Professor of Forest Pathology at West Virginia University Dr Matthew Kasson present a talk entitled: Deciphering fungus-arthropod interactions: from ambrosia fungi to cicada-killing “Zygomycetes".
orestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) founding Director and immediate past IUFRO President Prof. Mike Wingfield joined a global group of invasion biologists to compile an important study warning of the threats posed by invasive alien species.
As we move to more relaxed lockdown regulations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools, businesses and offices are starting to re-open. Recently, a leatherwear and accessory store in Malaysia reopened their doors after two months of lockdown, only to find fungi growing on all their products.
After what felt like an eternity in lockdown, FABI and the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP) were finally able to send their first team back into the field. Field work, like space exploration, allows us to collect data and samples, establish important trials and gives us the opportunity to educate as we work. The expedition to Mpumalanga was a success. We are especially thankful to Forestry South Africa and the University of Pretoria for providing permits for us to continue with field trips.
Why it’s so critical to continuously monitor and manage plant diseases.