Dr Andi Wilson



Postdoctoral Fellow

Department

Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology
Full CV
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I first joined FABI in 2011 as a mentorship student in the CTHB Mentorship Program. I was in the second year of my BSc: Human Genetics degree and wanted to experience “real” lab work. During my two years in the mentorship program, I was mentored by Dr David Read and Dr Markus Wilken, both now postdoctoral researchers in FABI. I was immediately sold on research, science and the FABI ethos and community.

And so began my career as an -ist: a scientist, a biologist, a geneticist, and (occasionally) a mycologist. Ten years later, FABI has seen me through my BSc(Honours), MSc and PhD degrees, and I have joined my mentors as a postdoctoral researcher and mentor in the program that started it all.   

As cliché as it sounds, my passion for science is rooted in my inquisitive nature and fascination with how the world works. There is nothing like the thrill (and frustration) of figuring out how something works- especially if you’re the first to work it out. Being a scientist means I get to go to work every day and discover new things, develop exciting techniques for understanding our world and slowly push the boundaries of our collective knowledge.

“I am among those who think that science has great beauty. A scientist in [her] laboratory is not only a technician: [she] is also a child placed before natural phenomena which impress [her] like a fairy tale.” ~ Marie Curie

My research has been focused on the genes involved in sexual reproduction of a number of fungal pathogens and saprobes. While I focused on a single species of the Ceratocystis genus in my Honours degree, I worked on two species belonging to the related genus, Huntiella, in my Masters and PhD degrees.

The availability of draft genome assemblies for the species I have worked on has aided in the research I have done on the mating of these species. Mining for the Mating Type genes in these genomes and the subsequent comparison of these genes across different species formed a large part of my Master's degree. As part of my research, we produced a significant amount of RNA-Seq data to complement the genomic data we have. This has helped us identify potentially important pathways involved in the sexual development pathway of these species. 

A large part of my PhD was the development of a genome editing protocol for use in these species. This newly-established protocol has been used to begin the functional characterization of MAT1-2-7, a mating gene thought to be involved in unisexuality in these species. We intend to use this protocol in a variety of species in this fungal family to elucidate the functions of genes thought to be involved in host specificity, pathogenicity, mating and growth. 

Species of the Ceratocystidaceae employ a wide range of interesting and unique sexual strategies and thus represent a fantastic group of fungi in which to research mating. Their deviations from the norm allow for comparisons that ultimately lead to a better understanding of sex in fungi in general and the evolution behind this very complicated process. In addition to describing heterothallic and unisexual species, we have recently discovered a homothallic species as well. This has allowed us to compare the genes that underlie different forms of sexual reproduction in this genus. 

 

 



LÓréal For Women in Science Award

Awards


2018: Travel Award (WhiteSci Travel Awards Scheme)

2018: Travel Award (Genes Journal)

2018: Best PhD Presentation (South African Society of Microbiology)

2017: FABIan of the year (FABI)

2017: Woman in Science: PhD Fellowship (Department of Science & Technology)

2016: Best MSc Student of 2015/16 (FABI)

2016: Mentorship Award (FABI)

2016: Merit Certificate for Academics for MSc: Genetics Degree (University of Pretoria)

2014: Academic Honorary Colours for BSc(Hons): Human Genetics (University of Pretoria)

 

Scholarships


2019: Scarce Skills Extension Scholarship for Doctoral Students (National Research Foundation)

2017-2018:  Scarce Skills Scholarship for Doctoral Students (National Research Foundation)

2017: Study Abroad Bursary (University of Pretoria)

2017: PhD Student Bursary (University of Pretoria)

2016: Grantholder Linked Bursary for Master’s Students (National Research Foundation) 


Pheromone expression in the unisexual fungus, Huntiella moniliformis 


A.M. Wilson, P.M. Wilken, M.A. van der Nest, M.J. Wingfield & B.D. Wingfield

International Congress of Plant Pathology

Hynes Convention Center

United States of America

2018

Poster Presentation

 

Characterization of MAT1-2-7: a novel MAT gene in the wood-infecting fungus Huntiella omanensis


A.M. Wilson, P.M. Wilken, M.A. van der Nest, M.J. Wingfield & B.D. Wingfield

International Congress of Plant Pathology

Hynes Convention Center

United States of America

2018

Poster Presentation

 

Characterization of MAT1-2-7; a novel mating gene in Huntiella omanensis


A.M. Wilson, P.M. Wilken, M.A. van der Nest, M.J. Wingfield & B.D. Wingfield

South African Society of Microbiology Congress 

Mulder's Drift 

South Africa

2018

Oral Presentation

Best PhD Oral Presentation

Unpacking the Molecular Mechanism behind Unisexual Reproduction in Huntiella moniliformis 


A.M. Wilson, P.M. Wilken, M.A. van der Nest, M.J. Wingfield & B.D. Wingfield

Life Science Symposium 

Pennsylvania State University 

United States of America

2017

Poster Presentation

 

Unpacking the Molecular Mechanism behind Unisexual Reproduction in Huntiella moniliformis 


A.M. Wilson, P.M. Wilken, M.A. van der Nest, M.J. Wingfield & B.D. Wingfield

Fungal Genetics Conference

California 

United States of America

2017

Oral & Poster Presentations

 

Understanding Unisexual Reproduction in Huntiella moniliformis 


Wilson, A. M., M. A. van der Nest, P. M. Wilken, M. J. Wingfield and B. D. Wingfield 

South African Genetics Society/South African Society of Bioinformatics Congress

Durban 

South Africa

2016

Oral Presentation

 

Unisexual Reproduction in Huntiella moniliformis 


Wilson, A.M., P.M. Wilken, M.A. Van der Nest, M.J. Wingfield and B.D. Wingfield

Fungal Genetics Conference

California 

United States of America

2015

Poster Presentation

 

Characterization of the MAT Locus in the saprobe Huntiella omanensis


Wilson, A.M., P.M. Wilken, M.A. Van der Nest, M.J. Wingfield and B.D. Wingfield

South African Association of Botanists Congress  

Venda

South Africa

2015

Poster Presentation

 

Characterization of the MAT Locus in the saprobe Huntiella omanensis


Wilson, A.M., P.M. Wilken, M.A. Van der Nest, M.J. Wingfield and B.D. Wingfield

South African Society for Plant Pathology

Bloemfontein

South Africa

2015

Poster Presentation

 

 


2020: Mycological Society of America

2018 - Current: American Genetics Society

2018 - Current: South African Society of Microbiology

2017 - Current: CTHB Mentorship Programme Panel

2017 - Current: South African Genetics Society 

2010 - Current: Golden Key Honours Society

2016 - 2018: Postgraduate Student Association of Natural and Agricultural Sciences

2014 & 2018: FABI Social Club

2010 - 2011: TuksVillage Residence Management Committee


My Galeries

News

Fifteen FABI PhDs for the year as Andi Wilson completes her PhD

Andi Wilson has become the 15th FABIan to successfully complete their PhD, thereby closing off a remarkable year for the Institute.

A SPOOF on a SPOOF

In March 2018 four FABIans won prizes at the South African Society of Microbiology Congress.

The Writing Club @ FABI

In an effort to nudge a few people in the right direction, PhD candidate Andi Wilson has started a writing club in FABI.

FABI Delegates attend SASM 2018

Professor Fanus Venter and the University of Pretoria hosted the South African Society of Microbiology (SASM) conference from 4-7 April at the Misty Hills Hotel and Conference Centre in Muldersdrift. Many FABIans attended, presenting a total of eight posters and eight oral presentations. (Photos by Kinosha Moodley, Andi Wilson, Claudette Dewing, Bernard Slippers and Dineo Mailula)

Andrea (Andi) Wilson: Another FABI award!

The South African Women in Science Awards ceremony and gala dinner - one of South Africa’s premier Science events of the year, was held at the Hilton Hotel in Sandton on 17 August.

FABI represented at 2017 North Gauteng Senior Science Fair

Eight FABIans served on the judging panel of the North Gauteng Senior Science Fair at the University of Pretoria’s LC de Villiers Sports Campus on 18 August.  

Research Visit to Penn State University, Home of the Nittany Lions

FABI PhD student Andi Wilson relates her experiences while on a two month research visit to Department of Plant Pathology at Pennsylvania State University.

Export to RIS
Publication
Wilson AM, Wilken PM, Wingfield MJ, Wingfield BD. (2021) Genetic networks that govern sexual reproduction in the Pezizomycotina. Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews 85(4):e00020-21. 10.1128/MMBR.00020-21. PDF
Wilson AM, Lelwala RV, Taylor PWJ, Wingfield MJ, Wingfield BD. (2021) Unique patterns of mating pheromone presence and absence could result in the ambiguous sexual behaviors of Colletotrichum species. G3 Gene|Genomes|Genetics :jkab187. 10.1093/g3journal/jkab187 PDF
Wilson AM, Gabriel R, Singer SW, Schuerg T, Wilken PM, van der Nest MA, Wingfield MJ, Wingfield BD. (2021) Doing it alone: Unisexual reproduction in filamentous ascomycete fungi. Fungal Biology Reviews 35:1-13. 10.1016/j.fbr.2020.12.003
Wilson AM, Wilken PM, van der Nest MA, Wingfield MJ, Wingfield BD. (2020) The novel Huntiella omanensis mating gene, MAT1-2-7, is essential for ascomatal maturation. Fungal Genetics & Biology 137:103335. 10.1016/j.fgb.2020.103335
Wilson AM, Wingfield BD. (2020) CRISPR-Cas9-Mediated Genome Editing in the Filamentous Ascomycete Huntiella omanensis. Journal of Visualized Experiments :e61367. 10.3791/61367
Wilson AM, van der Nest MA, Wilken PM, Wingfield MJ, Wingfield BD. (2019) It’s All in the Genes: The Regulatory Pathways of Sexual Reproduction in Filamentous Ascomycetes. Genes 10(5):330. 10.3390/genes10050330 PDF
Liu FF, Li GQ, Roux J, Barnes I, Wilson AM, Wingfield MJ, Chen SF. (2018) Nine novel species of Huntiella from southern China with three distinct mating strategies and variable levels of pathogenicity. Mycologia 110:1145-1171. 10.1080/00275514.2018.1515450 PDF
Marin-Felix Y, Hernandez-Restrepo M, Wingfield M, Akulov A, Carnegie A, Cheewangkoon R, Gramaje D, Groenewald J, Guarnaccia V, Halleen F, Lombard L, Luangsaard J, Marincowitz S, Moslemi A, Mostert L, Quaedvlieg W, Schumacher R, Spies C, Thangavel R, Taylor P, Wilson A, Wingfield B, Wood A, Crous P. (2018) Genera of phytopathogenic fungi: GOPHY 2. Studies in Mycology 92:47-133. 10.1016/j.simyco.2018.04.002 PDF
Wilson A, Van der Nest M, Wilken P, Wingfield M, Wingfield B. (2018) Pheromone expression reveals putative mechanism of unisexuality in a saprobic ascomycete fungus. PLOS One 13(3):e0192517. 10.1371/journal.pone.0192517 PDF
Wingfield BD, Duong TA, Hammerbacher A, van der Nest MA, Wilson A, Chang R, de Beer ZW, Steenkamp ET, Wilken PM, Naidoo K, Wingfield MJ. (2016) IMA Genome-F 7 Draft genome sequences for Ceratocystis fagacearum, C. harringtonii, Grosmannia penicillata, and Huntiella bhutanensis. IMA Fungus 7(2):317-323. 10.5598/imafungus.2016.07.02.11 PDF
Wilson AM, Wilken PM, van der Nest MA, Steenkamp ET, Wingfield MJ, Wingfield BD. (2015) Homothallism: An umbrella term for describing diverse sexual behaviours. IMA Fungus 6(1):207-214. 10.5598/imafungus.2015.06.01.13 PDF
Wilson AM, Godlonton T, van der Nest MA, Wilken PM, Wingfield MJ, Wingfield BD. (2015) Unisexual Reproduction in Huntiella moniliformis. Fungal Genetics and Biology 80:1-9. 10.1016/j.fgb.2015.04.008 PDF
Van der Nest MA, Beirn LA, Crouch JA, Demers JE, De Beer ZW, De Vos L, Gordon TR, Moncalvo JM, Naidoo K, Sanchez-Ramirez S, Roodt D, Santana QC, Slinksi SL, Stata M, Taerum SJ, Wilken PM, Wilson AM, Wingfield MJ, Wingfield BD. (2014) Draft genomes of Amanita jacksonii, Ceratocystis albifundus, Fusarium circinatum, Huntiella omanensis, Leptographium procerum, Rutstroemia sydowiana, and Sclerotinia echinophila. IMA Fungus 5(2):473-486. 10.5598/imafungus.2014.05.02.11 PDF
Van der Nest MA, Bihon W, De Vos L, Naidoo K, Roodt D, Rubagotti E, Slippers B, Steenkamp ET, Wilken PM, Wilson A, Wingfield MJ, Wingfield BD. (2014) Draft genome sequences of Diplodia sapinea, Ceratocystis manginecans, and Ceratocystis moniliformis. IMA Fungus 5(1):135-140. 10.5598/imafungus.2014.05.01.13 PDF
Export to RIS
Publication
Wilson A. (2018) Sex: birds do it, bees do it - and fungi do it too. Here’s how, and why it matters. The Conversation http://bit.ly/2FRSdhH