Ms Rosa Knoppersen
Zoology and Entomology
I am a quiet lab-dwelling individual that initially started her Honors at CMEG (Center for Microbial Ecology and Genomics) under the supervision and mentorship of Prof. Teresa Coutinho and Dr Gina Shin. During this time, I worked on the ubiquitous plant pathogenic bacteria, Pantoea ananatis, and how its RNA-binding protein, ProQ, could regulate pathogenicity factors that were involved in the infection of onion crops. Such an experience cemented my love for bacteriology.
After my Honours year, I moved to FABI and started my Master's studies under the supervision and co-supervision of Prof. Almuth Hammerbacher and Prof. Teresa Coutinho. The project looked at the gut microbiome associated with an economically important Eucalyptus pest, the Eucalyptus Snout beetle. Results from the project, which I now dub, "What's in the belly of the beast", indicate that Gonipterus sp. n. 2 is associated with microbes originating from the orders Enterobacteriales and Saccharomycetales.
Currently, I am pursuing my doctorate with Prof. Almuth Hammerbacher looking at insect-microbe interactions to ultimately determine the beneficial traits microbes provide to Gonipterus sp. n. 2.
The DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB) at the University of Pretoria hosted 28 undergraduate students and staff from the University of Venda (UniVen) on 22 August.