Mr Trystan Nadasen
Plant and Soil Sciences
Cercospora zeina is the causal agent of grey leaf spot disease on maize in South Africa. C. zeina is a foliar pathogen of maize that significantly affects the yields of infected crops. Little is known about how this pathogen works to overcome host resistance and cause disease at a molecular level. Using effectoromics data from previous studies, the aim of my research project is to functionally characterize C. zeina effectors in the heterologous system Nicotiana benthamiana (tobacco) using Agrobacterium mediated transient transformation assays. The main objective of this study is to develop our understanding of how C. zeina effectors function in planta.
Data from this research has potential to aid in the development of novel resistance strategies like effector-based breeding, where effectors can be used as probes to identify new resistance proteins. These can then be integrated in commercially available maize varieties to provide resistance to the pathogen.
I am currently enrolled for my MSc in Biotechnology. I finished my BSc degree in Genetics and Plant Science. In my third year of undergrad, I completed a mentorship program in the MPPI research group under the supervision of Prof. Dave Berger, where I shadowed a Masters student investigating the effect of the fall armyworm on maize in South Africa. Following this I completed my BSc Honours degree in Plant Science (with a plant biotechnology focus).