Postdoctoral Fellow


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I obtained my undergraduate degree in BSc Financial Mathematics at the University of Pretoria in 2005, whereafter I became a BSc Honours and subsequently an MSc and PhD graduate in the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Unit at the University of Pretoria. During these years (2006-2014), I worked under supervision of Prof D.K. Berger in the Molecular Plant-Pathogen Interactions (MPPI) research group. 

My PhD project was part of a collaborative project on the genomics of quantitative disease resistance to Grey leaf spot (GLS), caused by the fungus Cercospora zeina, in African maize varieties. The main objective was to exploit maize gene expression data to dissect the quantitative disease response to C. zeina infection. The project addressed the hypothesis that there is an underlying DNA polymorphism that gives rise to a change in gene expression, which in turn affects GLS disease severity. The outcomes of this study were: i) the development of a systems genetics strategy and ii) several hypotheses of maize transcriptional responses to C. zeina which need to be validated with further studies. The results extended the current knowledge of GLS resistance and could aid in the improvement of maize varieties.

I joined the Forest Molecular Genetics (FMG) Research Programme in August 2014 as a Postdoctoral researcher. My current research focusses on understanding the transcriptional control and the identification of regulatory gene networks underlying wood quality and disease resistance traits in Eucalyptus trees. This involves the application of advanced data analysis tools on large genomics datasets across many individuals in breeding populations, thus using statistical genomics and bioinformatics approaches. 

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Mizrachi E, Verbeke L, Christie N, Fierro AC, Mansfield SD, Davis MF, Gjersing E, Tuskan GA, Van Montagu M, Van de Peer Y, Marchal K, Myburg AA. (2017) Network-based integration of systems genetics data reveals pathways associated with lignocellulosic biomass accumulation and processing. PNAS 10.1073/pnas.1620119114 PDF
Christie N, Myburg AA, Joubert F, Murray SL, Carstens M, Lin Y-C, Meyer J, Crampton BG, Christensen SA, Ntuli JF, Wighard SS, Van de Peer Y, Berger DK. (2017) Systems genetics reveals a transcriptional network associated with susceptibility in the maize-gray leaf spot pathosystem. The Plant Journal 89(4):746-763. 10.1111/tpj.13419
Reeksting BJ, Coetzer N, Mahomed W, Engelbrecht J, van den Berg N. (2014) De novo sequencing, assembly, and analysis of the root transcriptome of Persea americana (Mill.) in response to Phytophthora cinnamomi and flooding. PLoS ONE 9(2):e86399. 10.1371/journal.pone.0086399 PDF
Nardini L, Christian RN, Coetzer N, Koekemoer LL. (2013) DDT and pyrethroid resistance in Anopheles arabiensis from South Africa. Parasites & Vectors 6:229. 10.1186/1756-3305-6-229
Nardini L, Christian RN, Coetzer N, Ranson H, Coetzee M, Koekemoer LL. (2012) Detoxification enzymes associated with insecticide resistance in laboratory strains of Anopheles arabiensis of different geographic origin. Parasites & Vectors 5(113)
Christian RN, Strode C, Ranson H, Coetzer N, Coetzee M, Koekemoer LL. (2011) Microarray analysis of a pyrethroid resistant African malaria vector, Anopheles funestus, from southern Africa. Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology 99(2):140–147.
Coetzer N, Myburg AA, Berger DK. (2011) Maize microarray annotation database. Plant Methods 7(31) 10.1186/1746-4811-7-31
Coetzer N, Gazendam I, Oelofse D, Berger DK. (2010) SSHscreen and SSHdb, generic software for microarray based gene discovery: application to the stress response in cowpea. Plant Methods 6(10)