Ms Alida van Dijk
Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology
I joined FABI in 2021 during my BSc Hons Microbiology degree, under the supervision of Professor Emma T. Steenkamp and co-supervision of Professor Brenda D. Wingfield, after completing a dual major BSc Genetics and Microbiology undergraduate degree in 2020. I completed my honours project in the DSI-NRF Centre Of Excellence in Plant Health Biotechnology (CPHB) and the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP) research groups. My honours project involved the development of a CRISPR-Cas9 mediated gene knockout system to functionally characterize virulence genes in Fusarium circinatum. Using this gene knockout system, I successfully generated mutants in seven isolates of F. circinatum and partially characterized them using in vitro assays.
For my MSc Microbiology degree, my research will focus on further functionally characterizing the mutated isolates, produced in my honours research, and investigate the interaction between the host plant and the pathogen.