Ms Frances Lane
I am a PhD student studying the sexual strategies of fungi in the family Ceratocystidaceae. My interest in the mating systems of fungi began during the final two years of my undergraduate degree as a TPCP/CTHB mentorship student at FABI. I continued this theme during my BSc Honours degree when I studied the mating-type genes of a group of plant and tree pathogens from the genus Davidsoniella.
For my MSc degree, I looked at different genetic transformation systems to transform the African tree pathogen Ceratocystis albifundus. I also explored the transferability of an Agrobacterium-mediated transformation protocol to other members of the family Ceratocystidaceae. From the eight species tested, each representing a different genus, I successfully transformed six. This study will provide a starting point for establishing transformation systems in these and related species of Ceratocystidaceae. This work will further contribute to future studies on the functionality of numerous genes of interest within these species.
My PhD aims to determine the roles of individual mating-type genes in Ceratocystis albifundus using the transformation systems investigated during my Masters. I will also be looking into the expression profiles of pheromone and pheromone receptor genes in natural isolates and in mutant strains. This will allow us to better understand the purpose of these gene in the unusual mating strategy of C. albifundus known as unidirectional mating-type switching. This system is also seen in other globally important plant and tree pathogens in the family Ceratocystidaceae. By studying their mating strategies, we can better understand the population dynamics of these species.