Ms Mandy Messal

PhD student


Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology
Short CV
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Research Profiles

Primary Supervisor
Bernard Slippers

Co Supervisor
Sanushka Naidoo
Martin Kemler

My Files

My Links

I am currently conducting my PhD here at FABI with Prof. Bernard Slippers as my main supervisor.

I am highly interested in fungal diversity studies and the use of advanced molecular techniques to study fungal evolution. Back home in Germany I completed my bachelors and masters degree at the Technische Universität Braunschweig (Technical University of Brunswick). While my three-month bachelors thesis I got an insight into the pathosystem Hymenoscyphus fraxineus (former Chalara fraxinea) and Fraxinus excelsior which is causing the current ash dieback in Europe. To accomplish my masters thesis I moved to Uppsala and worked within the Department of Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology at the Swedish University for Agricultural Sciences. My thesis title:"Validation of the visual assessment of Heterobasidion annosum s.l. and Phlebiopsis gigantea colonization of Picea abies stumps by real-time PCR". I was able to develop a stable method to quantify DNA of the pathogen and the biocontrol agent of a major disease in Scandinavian forestry. Within my PhD project I pursue a broader approach by understanding fungal community interactions in Eucalyptus using ecological genomics and functional transcriptome analysis.

Getting started with R

  • Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Insititute (FABI), University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
  • May 2016
  • Instructor: Jeff Garnas


Beginner phylogenetic workshop

  • Inqaba Biotechnical Industries (Pty) Ltd, Pretoria, South Africa
  • August 2016
  • Instructor: Jane Wright


Advanced phylogenetic workshop

  • Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Insititute (FABI), University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
  • November 2016
  • Instructors: Martin Coetzee, Jane Wright


Metagenomics and metatranscriptomics workshop

  • Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Insititute (FABI), University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
  • October 2018
  • Instructors: Maria Vivas, Martin Kemler, Richard Allen White III


Metagenomics training course "From structure to function: Ecology of microbial communities"

  • Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Insititute (FABI) University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
  • June 2019
  • Instructors: Matías Irazoqi, Ariel Amadío, Surendra Vikram, Annie Chan, Rian Pierneef

Fungal community composition associated with leaves of a Eucalyptus grandis half-sib population

  • Conference Southern African Society for Plant Pathology (SASPP)
  • January 2019
  • Langebaan, South Africa


Microbiomes and tree health

  • TPCP annual symposium
  • May 2019
  • Future Africa, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


FABIan invited to write SCION Forest Health news article

FABI PhD candidate Mandy Messal was invited by SCION researchers Mr Andrew Pugh and (former FABIan) Dr Stuart Fraser to write a news article for the monthly SCION Forest Health Newsletter (SCION, New Zealand).

Export to RIS
Messal M, Vivas M, Kemler M, Begerow D, Brachmann A, Witfeld F, Naidoo S, Slippers B. (2022) Fungal Communities of Eucalyptus grandis Leaves Are Influenced by the Insect Pest Leptocybe invasa. Frontiers in Microbiology 13(3:841621) 10.3389/fmicb.2022.841621 PDF
Migliorini D, Messal M, Santini A, Ramos AP, Talhinhas P, Wingfield MJ, Burgess T. (2021) Metabarcoding reveals southern hemisphere fungal endophytes within wood of cultivated Proteaceae in Portugal. European Journal of Plant Pathology 10.1007/s10658-021-02233-8
Messal M, Slippers B, Naidoo S, Bezuidt O, Kemler M. (2019) Active fungal communities in asymptomatic Eucalyptus grandis stems differ between a susceptible and resistant clone. Microorganisms 7(10):375. 10.3390/microorganisms7100375
Oliva J, Messal M, Wendt L, Elfstrand M. (2017) Quantitative interactions between the biocontrol fungus Phlebiopsis gigantea, the forest pathogen Heterobasidion annosum and the fungal community inhabiting Norway spruce stumps. Forest Ecology and Management (402):253-264. 10.1016/j.foreco.2017.07.046
Export to RIS
Messal M. (2019) Microbiomes and tree health. SCION Forest Health News (402)