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PhD student

Department

Genetics
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Primary Supervisor
Eshchar Mizrachi

I am currently busy with my PhD at the University of Pretoria. My project focuses on the evolution of xylogenesis in non-coniferous gymnosperms. The study of wood formation is an important biological focus due to the significance of woody plants in global carbon cycling and their emerging role as renewable resources in a green economy. I aim to generate near complete gene catalogues for cycad, ginkgo and members of the Gnetophytes, including Welwitschia, Ephedra and Gnetum, and investigate wood evolution in these lineages using an RNA-Seq, comparative genomics and bioinformatics approach. My PhD will integrate multiple scientific fields, including evolutionary, developmental and systematics biology, botany and biotechnology. This research will be one of the first to adopt an 'evo-devo' approach to wood biology, and will open up new research avenues in these economically and ecologically important species. 

Science has always been an important part of my life. I grew up in an environment where asking questions were more important than getting answers and where knowledge ruled supreme. For this reason I am continuing my studies in science. I want to generate knowledge and share what I discover and learn. Completing my postgraduate studies creates the perfect environment to live out this dream.

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Publication
Roodt D, Lohaus R, Sterck L, Swanepoel RL, Van de Peer Y, Mizrachi E. (2017) Evidence for an ancient whole genome duplication in the cycad lineage. PLOS ONE 12(9):e0184454. 10.1371/journal.pone.0184454
van der Nest MA, Wingfield MJ, Wilken PM, Coetzee MPA, Naidoo K, Roodt D, Sauerman E, Godlonton T, Trollip C, McTaggart AR, Steenkamp ET, Wingfield BD. (2015) Saprophytic and pathogenic fungi in the Ceratocystidaceae differ in their ability to metabolize plant-derived sucrose. BMC Evolutionary Biology 15:273. 10.1186/s12862-015-0550-7 PDF
Van der Nest MA, Beirn LA, Crouch JA, Demers JE, De Beer ZW, De Vos L, Gordon TR, Moncalvo JM, Naidoo K, Sanchez-Ramirez S, Roodt D, Santana QC, Slinksi SL, Stata M, Taerum SJ, Wilken PM, Wilson AM, Wingfield MJ, Wingfield BD. (2014) Draft genomes of Amanita jacksonii, Ceratocystis albifundus, Fusarium circinatum, Huntiella omanensis, Leptographium procerum, Rutstroemia sydowiana, and Sclerotinia echinophila. IMA Fungus 5(2):473-486. 10.5598/imafungus.2014.05.02.11 PDF
Van der Nest MA, Bihon W, De Vos L, Naidoo K, Roodt D, Rubagotti E, Slippers B, Steenkamp ET, Wilken PM, Wilson A, Wingfield MJ, Wingfield BD. (2014) Draft genome sequences of Diplodia sapinea, Ceratocystis manginecans, and Ceratocystis moniliformis. IMA Fungus 5(1):135-140. 10.5598/imafungus.2014.05.01.13 PDF