Ms Shae Swanepoel
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.
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.