Ms Cheyenne Theron

PhD student


Plant and Soil Sciences
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Research Profiles

Primary Supervisor
Irene Barnes

Co Supervisor
Mike Wingfield

I have been involved in FABI since my undergraduate studies where, as a mentorship student, I was bitten by the metaphorical bug and have not left since. I have completed my undergraduate and MSc degrees in Plant Pathology (cum laude) at the University of Pretoria. My research focussed on what is known regarding pine needle diseases affecting non-native Pinus spp. commercially grown in the Southern Hemisphere, especially pertaining to the genera Lecanosticta and Lophodermium. Through this research we found that Le. pharomachri is the causal agent of needle blight disease on commercial pine trees in Colombia, as well as the sexual state of this species which was formally described and published in Plant Disease. The diversity and distribution of Lophodermium spp. was also investigated using DNA sequence data of a large collection of isolates, including herbarium specimens, from Australia, Colombia, Chile, New Zealand and South Africa.  

In 2023, I shifted gears and started my PhD as a member of the newly formed Kiwifruit Protection Programme (KPP). This programme, which is a collaboration between the South African Kiwi Grower’s Association and FABI, focusses on identifying pest and pathogen threats to kiwifruit production in South Africa. In this programme I will also be assisting farmers by providing a diagnostic service to identify and characterize the most important pathogens hampering kiwifruit production in our orchards.

Other than uncovering these mysteries I enjoy hiking, reading and having a braai with family and friends.


Theron, C. A., Wingfield, M. J., Rodas, C. A., Barnes, I. 2020. First report of Lecanosticta pharomachri on exotic pine hosts in Colombia. Mycological Society of America (MSA) Meeting, Virtual Conference, 22 July 2020. Graphical abstract.


Theron, C. A., Marincowitz, S., Rodas, C. A., Wingfield, M. J., Barnes I. 2021. Lecanosticta pharomachri: a new and important pathogen of Pinus species propagated in the Southern Hemisphere. National Symposium on Biological Invasions, Online Symposium, 5-7 May 2021. Pre-recorded presentation.


Theron, C. A., Ahumada, R., Carnegie, A. J., Fraser, S., Rodas, C. A., Wingfield, M. J., Barnes I. 2022. Lophodermium species diversity and distribution on commercial Pinus spp. across the Southern Hemisphere. SASPP Biennial Congress, 1-3 August 2022. Poster presentation.


Theron, C. A., Ahumada, R., Carnegie, A. J., Fraser, S., Rodas, C. A., Wingfield, M. J., Barnes I.  2022. Lophodermium species diversity on needles of non-native Pinus spp. in the Southern Hemisphere. IUFRO Conference Division 7 – Forest Health, Pathology and Entomology, 6 – 9 September 2022. Poster presentation.

My Galeries


Field trips



FABI celebrates 25 years of excellence

FABI celebrated its 25th anniversary at a symposium hosted at Future Africa on the morning of 17 November.

South African Kiwi Growers gather for Annual General Meeting at Future Africa

The South African Kiwi Growers Association convened its AGM at the University of Pretoria’s Future Africa campus, hosted by FABI.

A symphony of science at SPOOF

It was a Symphony of Science as FABI harmonized the world of music and outrageous discoveries at this year’s Society for the Presentation of Outrageous Findings.

Kiwi Plant Protection Programme launched

FABI and and the South African Kiwi Growers Association have established a collaborative programme to address threats posed by pests and pathogens to the growing kiwi industry in South Africa.

The FABIlous FABwarts School of Sci-craft and Wizardry

The meeting of the Epsilon Chapter of the Society for the Presentation of Outrageous Findings (SPOOF) hosted by FABI saw witches, wizards, elves, pixies, muggles, mudbloods and all other manner of magical folk and creatures join in the evening’s fun at the FABwarts School of Sci-craft and Wizardry.

Last tree planting event for 2020

Forty FABIans from the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP) and Grain Research programme (GRP) got their hands dirty replanting 200 pine and 1500 Eucalyptus seedlings into potting bags at the last tree planting event for 2020 on 27 November. This year’s tree planting also included students from the GRP who harvested maize leaves.

FABIans’ excellence celebrated at UP Academic Achievers Awards

Eight FABI researchers were honoured at the University of Pretoria Academic Achievers Award event on 25 November. Professors Fanus Venter and Dave Berger were both honoured with the Exceptional Academic Achievers Award.

Export to RIS
Theron CA, Marincowitz S, Rodas CA, Wingfield MJ, Barnes I. (2022) Lecanosticta pharomachri and its newly discovered sexual state causing a serious needle disease of Pinus spp. in Colombia. Plant Disease 10.1094/PDIS-08-21-1759-RE