Dr Gabrielle Carstensen
Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology
I joined the FABI family in 2009 as an honours student working under the supervision of Prof. T.A. Coutinho and Prof. S.N. Venter on bacterial endophytes in native Boscia albitrunca trees. It was during this degree that I realised my passion for bacteria associated with trees. I continued at FABI for a Masters degree working on the bacterial endophytes found within the leaf nodules and leaves of native Pavetta spp. I found this work to be fascinating and I was also able to gain skills in Transmission Electron Microscopy during this research.
I completed my Masters in 2012 with distinction and, with the addition of Prof. M.J. Wingfield to my supervisory team, decided to change gears and began studying a bacterial pathogen of Eucalyptus. The disease is commonly known as bacterial wilt and the pathogen is from the genus Ralstonia. During my PhD I identified that there are two Ralstonia spp. associated with bacterial wilt of Eucalyptus and that these two species were at that time geographically isolated in this host. The two species are R. solanacearum, identified from the Americas and R. pseudosolanacearum, identified from Africa and Asia. I obtained my PhD in 2018 and have since been doing a postdoc here at FABI in collaboration with RGE-FABI Tree Health Programme (RGE-FABI THP) and Bracell.
My postdoctoral research is a continuation of my PhD work and focuses on bacterial wilt associated with Eucalyptus in Brazil. During this research I hope to investigate the pathology and etiology of this bacterial pathogen associated with Eucalyptus in more depth.