Dr Gabrielle Carstensen
Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology
My career in Science began when I obtained my BSc degree in Microbiology at the University of Pretoria in 2008. I joined FABI in my honours year in 2010 working under Prof. T.A. Coutinho and Prof. S.N. Venter. My honours project focused on the bacterial endophyte diversity within the endangered tree species Boscia albitrunca.
I began my Masters degree in 2010 working on leaf nodules formed by bacteria on certain Pavetta spp. The aim of my Masters research was to identify the bacterial endophyte that forms these leaf nodules. The three specific Pavetta species studied were P. lanceolata, P. edentula and P. schumanniana, the latter being poisonous to ruminants. Leaf nodule morphology and development was also investigated with the use of Transmission and Scanning Electron Microscopy. My MSc degree was completed in 2012.
I am currently enrolled for my PhD degree under the supervision of Prof. T.A. Coutinho, Prof. S.N. Venter and Prof. M.J. Wingfield. My research is focused on bacterial wilt in Eucalyptus spp. caused by the bacterial pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum. The objectives of my project include the classification of the R. solanacearum strains found infecting Eucalyptus spp., the mode of infection of this bacterial pathogen in tree hosts and any pathogenic traits that can be linked to the ability of this bacterial species to cause disease in Eucalyptus spp.