Ms Alishia Van Heerden
Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology
I graduated with a dual major in Genetics and Biochemistry in 2021, which sparked my passion for the field in Genetics. I joined the FABI team in 2020 and completed my Honours degree in Genetics under the supervision of Dr. Markus Wilken. My Honours project focused on developing a mutant library of Ceratocystis albifundus, which taught me valuable skills in conducting scientific research at a higher level.
I am currently working on my MSc project under the supervision of Dr. Markus Wilken that is focused on a newly discovered Eucalyptus fungal pathogen, Elsinoë necatrix. This pathogen is greatly impacting the forestry industry of Indonesia, North Sumatra, affecting a large range of non-native Eucalyptus plantations. My project will focus on developing a diagnostic assay known as Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), using a characteristic toxin cluster as a marker. This assay will provide a diagnostic tool for rapid, on-site detection of this fungal pathogen.