Dr Felipe Balocchi

Postdoctoral Fellow


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I am currently a PhD (Plant Pathology) student, at FABI, studying a novel canker disease of Araucaria araucana that had an important outbreak in Chile during 2015-2016. Previously, I completed my undergraduate carrer (Plant biotechnology engineering), and a MSc (Forestry sciences) in Chile at the University of Concepción. Both degrees were completed while working at the Forest Pathology Lab in the topic of biological control of weeds by using fungal pathogens (also referred as bioherbicides). After finishing my studies I worked for three years, at the same laboratory in a project  focused in the diagnosis of known and new diseases of cultivated and native trees in Chile. During this period, the decline of Araucaria trees (Araucaria araucana), one of the symbolic native species in Chile (which is endemic to the mountain ranges in Chile and Argentina) was discovered. A canker disease, for which there was not any previous reports, was associated to this syndrome in the main areas of its natural distribution. The main focus of my investigation is to describe this canker disease affecting Araucaria trees, the causal agents, and other associated factors.


FABI sampling for Phytophthora in Cape riverine ecosystems

FABI researchers recently joined Prof. Jonàs Oliva, visiting from the University of Lleida, to sample a large number of rivers draining Cape province mountains for Phytophthora species.

Chilean tree breeders visit FABI

Three tree breeders from Bioforest, a research branch of the Chilean forestry company Arauco, visited FABI on 28 October.

A FABI/SANBI plant health and biosecurity workshop

FABI researchers joined members of SANBI’s Horticultural Enrichment Forum to host a Biosecurity best practice workshop at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.

Artists from the Art and Trees project visit FABI

Three artists attended the FABI Monday Morning Meeting on 17 October, specifically to engage with the FABI community regarding their deep interest in the intersections between science and art.

Felicidades Felipe!

Congratulations to Felipe Balocchi on the successful completion of his PhD!

FABI tree-health sleuths explore the Cederberg

Members of the FABI tree health team and collaborators led by Prof. Mike Wingfield recently visited various sites in South Africa’s Cederberg mountain range.

Publication Party celebrates student achievements

FABI hosted a second publication party for the year on Tuesday 16 November.

Student training through the SANBI-funded Sentinel Plant Project in South African botanical gardens

Drs. Mesfin Gossa and Trudy Paap initiated a link with the Department of Horticulture at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) to discuss possibilities of student training via the Sentinel Plant Project.

The FABI diagnostics team is growing

Thirty-two years ago the first diagnostic clinic to service the South African forestry industry was established as part of the birth of the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP). The FABI Diagnostic Clinic continues to grow to serve the increasing needs of its industry partners. Gabrielle has been a part of the FABI family since 2009, where her research focused on phytobacteria, and for her PhD and postdoc she studied bacterial wilt on Eucalyptus. Shawn Fell is nearing completion of his MSc degree which focused on the PSHB and its associated fungi on pecan trees. The FABI Diagnostic Clinic also welcomes six students and two interns to the team.

FABI mycologists participate in the annual MSA meeting: Mycology in the cloud

FABI students and their co-authors contributed 37 posters/graphical abstracts of the 157 of these presentations at the MSA conference.

Chilean Forestry Delegation visits FABI

FABI hosted a three day visit from 9-11 September by Prof.

FABIans enter the Magic Kingdom at SPOOF 2019

Disney’s Magic Kingdom welcomed FABIans for this year’s annual meeting of the Society for the Presentation of Outrageous Findings (SPOOF). The FABI Social Club worked tirelessly to transform Tuks Monate into a magical wonderland filled with fantastically dressed inhabitants.

Export to RIS
Balocchi F, Marincowitz S, Wingfield MJ, Ahumada R, Barnes I. (2022) Three new species of Pewenomyces (Coryneliaceae) from Araucaria araucana in Chile. Mycological Progress 21(92):1:23. 10.1007/s11557-022-01840-x PDF
Balocchi F, Wingfield MJ, Paap T, Ahumada R, Barnes I. (2022) Pathogens of the Araucariaceae: How much do we know?. Current Forestry Reports 8:124–147. 10.1007/s40725-022-00164-z PDF
Burgess TI, Oliva J, Sapsford SJ, Sakalidis ML, Balocchi F, Paap T. (2022) Anthropogenic disturbances and the emergence of native diseases: a threat to forest health. Current Forestry Reports 8:111–123. 10.1007/s40725-022-00163-0 PDF
Balocchi F, Wingfield MJ, Ahumada R, Barnes I. (2021) Pewenomyces kutranfy gen nov. et sp. nov. causal agent of an important canker disease on Araucaria araucana in Chile. Plant Pathology 70(5):1243-1259. 10.1111/ppa.13353 PDF