Ms Benedicta Swalarsk-Parry



PhD student

Department

Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology
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Primary Supervisor
Emma Steenkamp
Lieschen De Vos

Co Supervisor
Brenda Wingfield
Lieschen De Vos

I joined FABI in 2014 to study an Honours degree in Microbiology. My honours project focused on the detection of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) associated with different phenotypic traits of two important plant pathogens in the Fusarium fujikuroi species complex, Fusarium circinatum and Fusarium temperatum. For my MSc, I further identified a QTL associated with growth of Fusrium circinatum.

In my PhD I will be sequencing 106 Fusarium circinatum genomes to  use for a Genome Wide Association study. 

  • Tutor: Introduction to Microbiology (MBY 161) in 2014 at the Department of Microbiology, University of Pretoria.
  • Laboratory demonstrator: Mycology (MBY 261) in 2015-present at the Department of Microbiology, University of Pretoria.
  • Laboratory demonstrator: Bacteriology (MBY 251) in 2016 at the Department of Microbiology, University of Pretoria
  • Student mentor at the DST/NRF Centre for Tree Health and Biotechnology Mentorship Programme from 2015-present.

  • B.Sc genetics (2nd year) student Lindokuhle Nkambule in the CTHB mentorship programme (2015).
  • B.Sc genetics and biotechnology (3rd year) student Meta Leshabane in the CTHB mentorship programme (2016).
  • B.Sc  Biochemistry (2nd year) student Sade Magabotha in the CTHB mentorship programme (2017-2018).
  • B.Sc (Hons) Genetics student Mancha Mabaso (2017).
  • BSc Microbiology (3rd year)  student Ropafadzai Jawa in the CTHB mentrship programme (2019)

First Author

Swalarsk-Parry, B.S., L. de Vos, B.D. Wingfield, A. Hammabacher and E.T. Steenkamp (2017) Comparative growth study of Fusarium circinatum and Fusarium temperatum on host-plant derived media. In South African Society of Plant Pathology, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa.

Swalarsk-Parry, B.S., E.T. Steenkamp, A. Hammabacher, B.D. Wingfield, and L. de Vos (2018) Association of a quantitative trait locus with growth of Fusarium circinatum. In International Congress of Plant Pathology, Boston, USA.

Swalarsk-Parry, B.S., L. de Vos, B.D. Wingfield, A. Hammabacher and E.T. Steenkamp (2018) Characterization of a growth QTL in Fusarium circinatum. In South African Society for Microbiology, Muldersdrift, Gauteng, South Africa.

Co-Author

Soal, N.C, E.T. Steenkamp, A. Fourie, L. de Vos, B.S. Swalarsk-Parry, B.D. Wingfield and M.A. van der Nest (2018) Identification of genes associated with growth rate in Ceratocystis albifundus, using Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS). In South African Association of Botanists, Pretoria, South Africa.

Soal, N.C, E.T. Steenkamp, A. Fourie, L. de Vos, B.S. Swalarsk-Parry, B.D. Wingfield and M.A. van der Nest (2018) Genome wide association study (GWAS) to identify genes associated with mycelial growth rate in the plant pathogen Ceratocystis albifundus. In South African Society for Microbiology, Muldersdrift, Gauteng, South Africa.

De Vos L, B.S Swalarsk-Parry, M.A van der Nest, D.A Herron, E.T Steenkamp and B.D Wingfield (2019) Genetic investigations into pathogenicity and growth of a South African population of Fusarium circinatum. In 30th Fungal Genetics Conference, Pacific Grove, California, USA.


  • B.Sc Microbiology from University of Pretoria (2010 - 2013).
  • B.Sc (Hons) Microbiology from Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute, University of Pretoria (2014). Project title: Detection of quantitative trait loci associated with various phenotypic traits in Fusarium circinatum and Fusarium temperatum. Supervisors: Prof Emma Steenkamp and Dr. Lieschen De Vos.
  • MSc in Microbiology from Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute, University of Pretoria (2015-2017). Dissertation title: Characterization of a growth QTL in Fusarium circinatum. Supervisors: Dr. Lieschen De Vos, Prof Emma Steenkamp, and Prof Brenda Wingfield. 
  • Ph.D. in Microbiology from Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute, University of Pretoria (2017- Ongoing). Thesis title: A CRISPR approach to studying genes involved in phenotypic traits of F. circinatum and F. temperatum. Supervisors: Prof Emma Steenkamp, Dr. Lieschen De Vos, and Prof Brenda Wingfield.

     


Fusarium laboratory workshop – 2016

Agricultural Research Council Mycology workshop - 2015

Advanced phylogenetics Workshop – 2017

Genomics Workshop - 2017


  • University of Pretoria Ph.D. Student Bursary (2019)
  • University of Pretoria Study Abroad Bursary (2019)
  • National Research Foundation Scarce skills Doctoral Scholarship (2017-2020)
  • University of Pretoria Ph.D. Student Bursary (2018)
  • National Research Foundation Study Abroad Bursary (2018)
  • National Research Foundation Scarce skills Masters Scholarship (2016)
  • National Research Foundation Honours Innovation Award (2014)

2016: Getting the message to the public (FABI)

2017: Getting the message to the public (FABI)

2017: Mentorship (FABI)

2019: Getting the message to the public (FABI)


  • Junior Tukkie Student Society (2012-2013)
    • Deputy student project Manager (2013)
  • Centre for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender
    • HIV/AIDS Awareness and Education (2012)
    • HIV/AIDS counsellor at Student Clinic (2013)
  • CTHB Mentorship Programme Committee (2015-Present)
  • (TAG-C-TV) Take A Girl Child to Varsity (2016-Present)

News

FABI opens its doors for undergraduate students to “meet the scientists”

The CTHB Outreach Team at FABI hosted “Meet the scientists” information sessions for undergraduate students at the University of Pretoria on 26 and 27 February.

CTHB awards certificates to 13 undergraduate mentees

Thirteen students who completed eight months of mentorship in the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology(CTHB) received their certificates of completion on 1 November at a small ceremony in FABI.

FABI students return from Penn State exchange visit

Two FABI PhD candidates, Benedicta Swalarsk-Parry and Jane Ramaswe recently returned from a three-month exchange visit to Pennsylvania State University. The visit is part of a strategic partnership between the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiologyin Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences and the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) at the University of Pretoria.

Fungi for Future school outreach launched

The DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB) outreach team from FABI was involved in a ‘Fungi for Future’ initiative which forms part of their citizen science project.

Benedicta Swalarsk-Parry beats 40 competitors to win Inqaba Biotec’s mini pipetting contest

For her precision and dexterity, FABI PhD student Benedicta Swalarsk-Parry was crowned “Pipetting Ninja” at a mini pipetting competition hosted by Inqaba Biotec at FABI on 5 June.

FABIans attend the Black Women in Science inaugural gala dinner

FABI Ph.D. candidates Benedicta Swalarsk-Parry and Khumbuzile Bophela attended the inaugural Black Women in Science (BWIS) gala dinner on 6 April.

Thirteen students join the CTHB Undergraduate Mentorship Programme in 2019

Thirteen undergraduate students will get their first taste of life as researchers as mentees in the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology’s undergraduate mentorship programme.

Mammoth inoculation trial of pine seedlings

Late in 2018, 14 FABIans banded together for the mammoth task of inoculating and disease assessment of 6,360 Pinus patula seedlings with 159 Fusarium circinatum isolates.

The CTHB celebrates flagship mentoring and outreach programmes at its annual lunch

The DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB) celebrated the end of another successful year of mentoring and outreach at its annual lunch on 29 October.

Export to RIS
Publication
Wingfield BD, Bills GF, Dong Y, Huang W, Nel WJ, Swalarsk-Parry BS, Vaghefi N, Wilken PM, An Z, de Beer ZW, De Vos L, Chen L, Duong TA, Gao Y, Hammerbacher A, Kikkert JR, Li Y, Li H, Li K, Li Q, Liu X, Ma X, Naidoo K, Pethybridge SJ, Sun J, Steenkamp ET, van der Nest M, van Wyk S, Wingfield MJ, Xiong C, Yue Q, Zhang X. (2018) IMA Genome-F 9 Draft genome sequence of Annulohypoxylon stygium, Aspergillus mulundensis, Berkeleyomyces basicola (syn. Thielaviopsis basicola), Ceratocystis smalleyi, two Cercospora beticola strains, Coleophoma cylindrospora, Fusarium fracticaudum, Phialophora cf. hyalina, and Morchella septimelata. IMA Fungus 9(1):199-223. 10.5598/imafungus.2018.09.01.13 PDF