Ms Shae Swanepoel

PhD student


Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology
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Primary Supervisor
Sanushka Naidoo

Co Supervisor
Kathleen Marchal
Raphael Ployet

I joined FABI during my Honours year in 2019 when I worked under the supervision of Professor Sanushka Naidoo in EPPI. My research project focused on the interaction between Eucalyptus grandis and Austropuccinia psidii (Myrtle rust). This involved analysing RNA-seq data to investigate Eucalyptus grandis defence mechanisms against Myrtle rust and potential mechanisms that contribute to resistance and susceptibility.

I continued with this research as part of my Master's degree, where my focus shifted from the host to the pathogen. I analysed the in planta pathogen response to identify putative pathogenicity factors that contribute to its success in susceptible E. grandis hosts. This research contributes to our understanding of the complex interactions between Eucalyptus and Myrtle rust, which may aid in development of effective genetic control strategies.  

I am continuing my PhD with EPPI, where I will be investigating the disease resistance potential of Eucalyptus. This will include investigating E. grandis transcriptomes under different biotic interactions to identify shared and tailored responses, as well as characterising the genetic and transcript diversity of defence genes within this hardwood species. These results will better inform breeding for resistance against multiple pests and pathogens in Eucalyptus


EPPI team performs the biggest impact evaluation from field inoculations of the canker pathogen Chrysoporthe austroafricana on different Eucalyptus genotypes

Members of the EPPI research group travelled to Kwambonabi in the KwaZulu-Natal province to evaluate and harvest one of the biggest in-field inoculations with the pathogen Crysoporthe austroafricana.

EPPI team undertakes a greenhouse inoculation trial

The EPPI team has been undertaking a large-scale greenhouse trial running for a third consecutive year since 2020.

FABI ends the year in style

FABIans took a break from their research activities and dressed up to attend the annual Year End Function hosted at the Future Africa Campus on 18 November.

EPPI team performs in-field inoculation of the pitch canker pathogen

Members of the EPPI research group recently travelled to KZN to perform in-field inoculation of Fusarium circinatum on 3296 hybrid pines

FMG shines at the ASPB Plant Biology Worldwide Summit

More than 20 members of the Forest Molecular Genetics (FMG) programme in FABI had a front-row seat to the latest research and technological advances across a variety of plant biology disciplines attending this year’s ASPB Plant Biology Worldwide Summit 2021.

Export to RIS
Swanepoel S, Visser EA, Shuey SS, Naidoo S. (2023) The In Planta Gene Expression of Austropuccinia psidii in Resistant and Susceptible Eucalyptus grandis. Phytopathology 113(6):1066-1076. 10.1094/PHYTO-07-22-0257-R PDF
Swanepoel S, Oates CN, Shuey SS, Pegg GS, Naidoo S. (2021) Transcriptome analysis of Eucalyptus grandis implicates brassinosteroid signaling in defense against myrtle rust (Austropuccinia psidii). Frontiers in Forests and Global Change 4(200):778611. 10.3389/ffgc.2021.778611 PDF