Ms Sasha-Lee Gush
Plant and Soil Sciences
|Jacquie van der Waals|
I am currently a PhD Plant Pathology student at the University of Pretoria in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. I completed my BSc Plant Science, BSc (Hons) Plant Science and MSc Plant Pathology degrees at the University of Pretoria. I am extremely passionate about science and agriculture. Therefore, as Plant Pathologist I am driven to improve the quality of food and sustainability of farming in South Africa and globally.
I am a research assistant and diagnostic laboratory manager in the Potato Pathology Programme at the University of Pretoria, where my role is to manage and maintain the diagnostic laboratory for high standard testing, develop rapid and cost-effective diagnostic protocols as well as training students on both molecular and in-vitro diagnostic methods. Through morphological and molecular techniques, we isolate and identify the causal symptom(s) on diseased crops sent to the diagnostic clinic for testing. Diagnostic reports and recommendations are compiled from the results of diseased samples.
My MSc project involved the elucidation of the biotic causal agent(s) and water stress associated with corky crack blemishes on potato tubers in South Africa. Knowledge about the biotic and abiotic factors in causing this disease is important in assisting and developing science-based control measures to improve tuber quality and grower’s profitability, livelihoods and ultimately food security. The results may have implications for seed certification schemes, as currently, there is uncertainty regarding the causes of the symptom. Therefore, the project will contribute significantly to the potato tuber blemish discourse.
I have published my research findings as part of my Honours Degree, completed in 2017, in Plant Disease, titled ‘First report of Rhizoctonia solani AG 2-2IIIB causing elephant hide on potato tubers in South Africa’.
I have also worked as a practical demonstrator and tutor at the University of Pretoria for the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences.