Dr Mesfin Gossa

Postdoctoral Fellow


Zoology and Entomology
Full CV
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Research Profiles

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I joined FABI in 2013 for my Ph.D. study and currently, I am a postdoctoral research fellow. My research interest includes surveillance, monitoring, identification, population genetics, ecology, biocontrol, and management of insect pests of economic importance to agriculture and forestry. My current research focuses on wattle pests and diseases in Ethiopia and aims to identify key insect pests and diseases of wattle plantations and develop sustainable management practices. Three rounds of surveys were conducted in different seasons in 2022 and major insect pests and diseases were identified, their distribution was mapped, and the prevalence and severity were quantified. Potential short and long-term management interventions have been identified and efforts are ongoing to develop sustainable management practices.  





  • PhD Entomology (2013-2016), University of Pretoria, South Africa               
  • MSc Nematology (2010 – 2012), Universiteit Gent, Belgium; Universität Bielefeld; Germany; Universidade de Evora, Portugal, and Universidade de Jaen, Spain
  • MSc Insect Sciences (2005 -2007), Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia           
  • BSc Plant Sciences (1998 – 2002), Alemaya University, Ethiopia                              

  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2017 – present), FABI, University of Pretoria, South Africa
  • Lecturer (2008 – 2018), School of Plant Sciences, Haramaya University, Ethiopia
  • Lecturer (2007), Department of Plant Sciences, Arba Minch University, Ethiopia
  • Assistant Researcher (2005 – 2007), Ethiopian Agricultural Research Organization, Ethiopia
  • Junior Researcher (2003 -2005), Ethiopian Agricultural Research Organization, Ethiopia
  • Intern (2001), National Wheat Research Project, Kulumsa, Ethiopia                                                                      

Undergraduate courses 

  • General Entomology, Department of Biology, Arba Minch University, Ethiopia (2017)
  • Applied Entomology, Department of Applied Biology, Arba Minch University, Ethiopia (2017)
  • Applied Climatology and Agrometeorology, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, Haramaya University, Ethiopia (2008-2010)
  • Management of Crop Pests and Diseases of Economic Importance, School of Plant Sciences and Department of Crop Production and Protection, Haramaya University, Ethiopia (2008-2010)
  • Weeds and their Management, Harar Agro-technical College, Ethiopia (2009)

Postgraduate (MSc and PhD) course

  • Agricultural Nematology, School of Plant Sciences, Haramaya University, Ethiopia (2012) 

  • Agil Katumanyame (2018-2022) - PhD Entomology, University of Pretoria (co-supervision)
  • Lesego Malekana (2019) - BSc (CTHB Mentorship Program), University of Pretoria
  • Thendo Budeli (2015) - BSc (CTHB Mentorship Program), University of Pretoria
  • Supervised 19 BSc students (2008-2012)- Senior Seminar, Haramaya University 
  • Supervised BSc students (2008-2012) - Practical Attachment, Haramaya University

  • Wattle, Eucalyptus and Moringa pests and diseases survey in Ethiopia, November 2022
  • Wattle pests and diseases survey II in Ethiopia, July 2022
  • Wattle pests and diseases survey I in Ethiopia, March 2022
  • Plant health surveys in ten botanic gardens across South Africa, 2019, 2020, 2021
  • Eucalyptus insect pest survey in Ethiopia, 2018
  • Eucalyptus insect pest survey in Ghana, 2018
  • Eucalyptus insect pest survey in Sierra Leone, 2018
  • Eucalyptus insect pest survey in Zimbabwe, 2017

  • Laboratory Manager, FABI, University of Pretoria, South Africa (2017)
  • Deputy Coordinator, Summer In-service Program, Haramaya University, Ethiopia (2009 -2010)
  • Academic Coordinator, School of Plant Sciences, Haramaya University, Ethiopia (2008 -2009)
  • Head, Entomology Research Division, Werer Agricultural Research Center, Ethiopia (2004 – 2005) 

  • Journal of Economic Entomology
  • International Journal of Pest Management
  • Frontiers in Plant Science
  • Royal Society Open Science

  • Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2017
  • Department of Ecogenomics, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 2011
  • E-nema Biocontrol Company, Kiel, Germany, 2011
  • Department of Biotechnology and Biological Control, Christain-Alberchts-Universitat zu Kiel, Germany, 2011 
  • Julius Kuhn Institute, Institute for Epidemiology and Pathogen Diagnostics, Munster, Germany, 2011
  • Institute of Crop Science and Resource Protection, Bonn University, Bonn, Germany, 2011
  • Nematology Laboratory, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands, 2011
  • Applied Plant Research, Wageningen UR, Lelystad, The Netherlands, 2011
  • Plant Research International, Wageningen UR, Wageningen, The Netherlands, 2011Koppert Biological System, Berkel en Rodenrijs, The Netherlands, 2011

  • South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (2019 – 2020)
  • National Research Foundation (South Africa) Innovation Doctoral Scholarship (2014 – 2015)
  • University of Pretoria Postgraduate Bursary (2013)
  • European Union Education and Culture Director General (Erasmus Mundus) Scholarship (2010 – 2012)
  • Ghent University dean’s list, Highest Distinction, MSc. Nematology (2012)
  • Addis Ababa University dean’s list, Highest Distinction, MSc. Insect Sciences (2007)
  • Alemaya University dean’s list, Distinction, BSc. Plant Sciences (2002)  


UP joins the world in celebrating the International Day of Plant Health.

The University of Pretoria joined the rest of the world in celebrating the IDPH on 12 May under the theme: Plant Health Innovation for Food Security.

FABI co-hosts a webinar on forest invasive species in Africa

ABI, in collaboration with the Forest Invasive Species Network for Africa (FISNA), co-hosted a webinar on forest invasive species in Africa on 14 March.

Ethiopian researchers visit FABI, ICFR and local forestry companies

Researchers from EEFRI visited FABI, the ICFR and several forestry companies on a recent two week long trip research trip to SA.

Survey of wattle pests and pathogens in Awi Zone, Ethiopia

FABI has partnered with the University of the Sunshine Coast and ICFR to develop a research project to determine the diversity and distribution of wattle pests and pathogens in the Awi Zone of Ethiopia, and investigate potential management options.

SANBI-funded Sentinel Plant Project establishes a PSHB monitoring system at the KZN National Botanical Garden

As part of the Sentinel Plant Project, Dr Mesfin Gossa has, in collaboration with the KZN NBG set up a PSHB monitoring system for the London plane trees.

A double celebration for Agil as she completes her PhD

It was a double celebration for Agil Katumanyane when she successfully defended het PhD on 30 November.

Assessment of plant health in the Cape botanical gardens

Postdoctoral research Fellow, Dr Mesfin Gossa visited three botanical gardens in the Western Cape Province as part of the SANBI-funded Sentinel Plant Project.

SANBI’s Sentinel Plant Project renders training support for horticulture students at DUT

Recently, FABI had established a collaboration partnership with the Department of Horticulture at Durban University of Technology (DUT) to train students through the SANBI Sentinel Plant Project.

FABI well represented at ESSA

From 28 June until 1 July, academic staff, postdoctoral Fellows and students from FABI attended the 22nd Biennial Entomological Society of Southern Africa (ESSA) Congress.

SANBI Sentinel Plant Project hosts a training workshop for DUT horticulture students

In April 2021, FABIans met with staff members of the Department of Horticulture at Durban University of Technology (DUT) to discuss possibilities for student training through the Sentinel Plant Project.

Student training through the SANBI-funded Sentinel Plant Project in South African botanical gardens

Drs. Mesfin Gossa and Trudy Paap initiated a link with the Department of Horticulture at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) to discuss possibilities of student training via the Sentinel Plant Project.

Treatment trials established to fight Phytophthora die-back in Kirstenbosch gardens

South Africa’s iconic silver trees (Leucadendron argenteum) are listed as Endangered (EN) in the Red List of South African Plants.

Inspection of invasive disease and pest problems in SANBI's Cape gardens

During the week of 9 November, a FABI team including Prof. Mike Wingfield, Prof. Brenda Wingfield, Dr Trudy Paap, Dr Mesfin Gossa and Dr Hiroyuki Suzuki visited botanical gardens in the Western Cape Province.

A webinar on Plant Health in Botanical Gardens amid the COVID-19 pandemic

It has been just over four years since the SANBI-funded postdoctoral project ‘Monitoring plant health in sentinel sites: botanical gardens and arboreta’ started.

Collaborative effort reveals diversity and distribution of eucalypt insect pests across 14 African countries

In 2017, a collaborative project was developed with the aim of understanding the distribution and genetic diversity of Eucalyptus insect pests and their natural enemies in sub-Saharan Africa.

Significant FABI presence at ESSA Congress

The 21st Congress of the Entomological Society of Southern Africa (ESSA) with the theme “Innovative Entomology” was held in Umhlanga in the KwaZulu-Natal Province from 8-11 July.

Monitoring plant health in botanic gardens and arboreta across South Africa

Recently, Drs Mesfin Gossa and Trudy Paap assessed plant health in eight gardens across South Africa, including Arderne Gardens, Durban Botanic Garden, Pretoria National Zoological Garden, and Harold Porter, Kirstenbosch, KwaZulu-Natal, Pretoria and Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens.

Eucalypt insect pest survey in Ghana and Sierra Leone

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.

FABIans attend an insect mass-rearing workshop

Dr Gerda Fourie, research leader of the Macadamia Protection Programme (MPP) and Dr Mesfin Gossa, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP) attended an Insect Mass-Rearing Workshop held from 23-27 October at Stellenbosch University.

Export to RIS
Katumanyane A, Slippers B, Wondafrash M, Malan AP, Hurley BP. (2023) Mechanisms behind differential white grub host susceptibility to entomopathogenic nematodes. Nematology 10.1163/15685411-bja10253
Katumanyane A, Slippers B, Wondafrash M, Malan AP, Hurley BP. (2023) Susceptibility of white grubs from forestry and sugarcane plantations in South Africa to entomopathogenic nematodes. BioControl 10.1007/s10526-023-10185-7
Wondafrash M, Slippers B, Asfaw BA, Makowe IA, Jenya H, Bush S, Kayumba I, Nambazimana A, van der Lingen S, Hurley BP. (2021) Tracing the distribution of natural enemies of non-native invasive eucalypt insect pests in sub- Saharan Africa. Southern Forests: a Journal of Forest Science 83(3):1-10. 10.2989/20702620.2021.1960218
Wondafrash M, Wingfield MJ, Wilson JRU, Hurley BP, Slippers B, Paap T. (2021) Botanical gardens as key resources and hazards for biosecurity. Biodiversity and Conservation 10.1007/s10531-021-02180-0
Wondafrash M, Slippers B, Nambazimana A, Kayumba I, Nibouche S, van der Lingen S, Asfaw BA, Jenya H, Mutitu EK, Makowe IA, Chungu D, Kiwuso P, Kulimush E, Razafindrakotomamonjy A, Bosu PP, Sookar P, Hurley BP. (2020) Distribution and genetic diversity of five invasive pests of Eucalyptus in sub-Saharan Africa. Biological Invasions 22:2205–2221. 10.1007/s10530-020-02250-4
Wondafrash M, Slippers B, Hurley BP, Garnas J. (2019) Local antagonism and resource partitioning between two invasive pine plantation pests. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 10.1111/afe.12330 PDF
Nicole M. Van Dam, Mesfin Wondafrash, Vartika Mathur , Tom O. Tytgat. (2018) Differences in hormonal signaling triggered by two root-feeding nematode species result in contrasting effects on aphid population growth. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 6(88) 10.3389/fevo.2018.00088
Wondafrash M, Slippers B, Garnas J, Hurley BP. (2017) Parasitoid assemblage associated with a North American pine weevil in South Africa. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 10.1111/afe.12246
Wondafrash M, Slippers B, Garnas J, Roux G, Foit J, Langor DW, Hurley BP. (2016) Identification and genetic diversity of two invasive Pissodes spp. Germar (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) in their introduced range in the southern hemisphere. Biological Invasions 18:2283. 10.1007/s10530-016-1159-5
Abebe E, Mekete T, Seid A, Meressa BH, Wondafrash M, Addis T, Getaneh G, Abate BA. (2015) Research on plant-parasitic and entomopathogenic nematodes in Ethiopia: a review of current state and future direction. Nematology 17(7):741-759. 10.1163/15685411-00002919
Wondafrash M, Van Dam NM, Tytgat TOG. (2013) Plant systemic induced responses mediate interactions between root parasitic nematodes and aboveground herbivorous insects.. Frontiers in Plant Sciences 4:87. 10.3389/fpls.2013.00087
Wondafrash M, Getu E, Terefe G. (2012) Survival and Feeding of African bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera (Hubner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) affected by Neem, Azadirachta indica (A. Juss) Extracts. World Journal of Agricultural Sciences 8(3):280-285.
Wondafrash M, Getu E, Terefe G. (2012) Neem, Azadirachta indica (A. Juss) Extracts Negatively Influenced Growth and Development of African Bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera (Hubner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Academic Journal of Entomology 5(1):22-27.
Wondafrash M, Getu E, Terefe G. (2012) Life-cycle Parameters of African bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera (Hubner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) affected by Neem, Azadirachta indica (A. Juss) Extracts. Agricultural Science Research Journal 2(6):335-345.