Dr Firehiwot Eshetu

Postdoctoral Fellow


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I have always had an ambition to engage with international scientific community. My first experience in this regard has been during my Masters at the University of Ghent, Belgium. Ghent University is an International European University with students of various cultures from all over the world. I learned about University of Pretoria and the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) when I looked into the higher ranked African Universities. My interest has encouraged to apply for an available PhD position at FABI and I am happy to be here today as a PhD student in the department of Genetics and FABI.

My PhD project aims on understanding the micro-evolutionary process of the invasive pests Sirex noctilio its symbiotic fungus Amylostereum areolatum and the biological control nematode Deladenus siricidicola. Particularly, the focus will be on populations of Sirex, Amylostereum and Deladenus from Australia and New Zealand. We will analyze their genetic diversity across these regions and in relation to other invasive populations. We are particularly interested in the history of introductions, as well as the factors that shaped the current levels of diversity. This information will be valuable in informing the management of this pest, and provide insight into the causes and consequences of their invasion success.


As a hobby I like jogging, walking outdoors to enjoy the beautiful views, especially sunsets, and watching movies. I also enjoy reading something other than science.  

My Galeries

Firehiwot 2017


Field trip2017


#TPCP Tree planting 2018

FABI Eucalyptus pest monitoring field trip at Richards Bay


Congratulations Firehiwot!

FABI congratulates Dr Firehiwot Eshetu on the successful completion of her PhD degree.

Prof. Caterina Villari visits FABI

Professor Caterina Villari visited FABI on 20 October after concluding a 10-day visit to the Western Cape to attend the fifth meeting of the Bark Beetle Mycobiome Network Project in South Africa.

FABIans attend IUFRO Working Group meeting on Southern Hemisphere plantation health

Four FABians attended the recent IUFRO "Novel and classical strategies to manage forest health in plantations" meeting in Brazil.

Hooray for a pine needle fungal isolation jamboree!

Recently a few members of the TPCP team, together with Colombian collaborator, Dr Carlos Rodas, engaged in a fungal isolation workshop.

FABI PhD Student participates in international Invertebrate Pathology Conference

FABI PhD candidate Katrin Fitza took part in the Society of Invertebrate Pathology (SIP) conference. This annual meeting gathers around 400 people from around the world. This year the conference was held on the Gold Coast in Australia from 12-17 August.

The South African Women in Science Awards 2018 recognises the contributions of two FABIans

The FABI flag flew high at this year’s SAWiSA gala event held at The Ranch Resort in Polokwane on Thursday 23 August, with two representatives attending as finalists: Dr Irene Barnes, a research leader in the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB), and Danielle Roodt, a PhD candidate in the Forest Molecular Genetics (FMG) Programme.

FABI connecting dots at the Entomological Society AGM

On the evening of the 26 July, the University of Pretoria hosted the Entomological Society of Southern Africa (ESSA) AGM. The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss society activities and organisational matters including increasing the visibility of the Society’s journal as well as the next ESSA conference (being held from 8-12 July 2019 in Durban).

Forest health in Southern Hemisphere commercial plantations

The inaugural meeting of IUFRO Working Group 7. FABI presentations: Hurley B. Fraser S. Hurley B. (Photos supplied by the organisers of IUFRO Working Group 7.

FABI gears up for its 20th Anniversary Symposium

This week, the FABI team is looking forward to welcoming some 300 Alumni, invited guests, industry partners, scientific collaborators, government representatives, staff and students from around the globe to celebrate its 20th anniversary on 24-25 January.

Prof Bernard Slippers appointed as the new Director of FABI

The staff and students of FABI wish to congratulate Prof. Bernard Slippers who has been appointed as the new Director of FABI with effect from 1 January 2018.

UP researchers on top of the world over fungi research

Read this feature article on the Research Matters webpage of the University of Pretoria.

Export to RIS
Eshetu FB, Barnes I, Nahrung FH, Fitza KNE, Meurisse N, Slippers B. (2023) Unexpected diversity in historical biological control programs: Population genetics of the nematode Deladenus siricidicola in Australia and New Zealand. Biological Control 180:105183. 10.1016/j.biocontrol.2023.105183
Naalden D, Haegeman A, de Almeida‐Engler J, Eshetu FB, Bauters L, Gheysen G. (2018) The Meloidogyne graminicola effector Mg16820 is secreted in the apoplast and cytoplasm to suppress plant host defense responses. Molecular Plant Pathology 19(11):2416-2430. 10.1111/mpp.12719