The Ethics, Gender and Sexuality Symposium was held on 24 March at the University of Pretoria's Faculty of Health Sciences and was chaired by Prof Michael Pepper. Photo caption: From left to right: Prof MS Pepper, Ms B Jardim, Prof JA Nel, Prof G Lindeque, Dr G Grobler, Mrs M Crewe, Dr E Moshokua.
Professor Fanus Venter and the University of Pretoria hosted the South African Society of Microbiology (SASM) conference from 4-7 April at the Misty Hills Hotel and Conference Centre in Muldersdrift. Many FABIans attended, presenting a total of eight posters and eight oral presentations. (Photos by Kinosha Moodley, Andi Wilson, Claudette Dewing, Bernard Slippers and Dineo Mailula)
A special seminar by Professor Gilles Boeuf on 10 April drew attention to the dangers of climate change on biodiversity in different ecosystems around the world. Prof Boeuf discussed not only the effects of climate change such as drought and melting glaciers but also the role played by citizen scientists in sharing information about changes in their immediate environment.
The inaugural meeting of IUFRO Working Group 7. FABI presentations: Hurley B. Fraser S. Hurley B. (Photos supplied by the organisers of IUFRO Working Group 7.
Following the Easter weekend break, the Easter Bunny hopped into FABI on 4 April, leaving behind a trail of Easter eggs and some “rabbit food” for FABIans to nibble on and enjoy.
FABI is running the FABI Flower Drive, a yearlong campaign to collect sanitary products for girls at school who cannot afford them. The Institute will also resume its annual FABI Blanket Drive to deliver warm winter clothing and blankets to community organisations in the Tshwane municipality.
The Southern African Plant Breeders Association (SAPBA) held its 12th Symposium at Umhlanga last week with the theme “Big Data and Breeding Technologies”. Photo caption: DowDuPont Plant Sciences Symposium student presenters with keynote speaker Dr Geoff Graham, Vice-President, Global Plant Breeding, DowDuPontTM.
FABI welcomed a new crop of undergraduate mentorship students. The CTHB has run the mentorship programme alongside its outreach programmes for more than 10 years. The 2018 mentors are: Dr Albe van der Merwe; postdocs Drs Vuyiswa Bushula-Njah and Aquillah Kanzi as well as postgraduate students Tayo Adenigba, Miranda Erasmus, Ginna Granados, Darryl Herron, Angel Maduke, Mkhululi Maphosa, Wilma Nel, Nam Pham, Mmatshepho Phasha, Emeldah Rikhotso, Sydney Sithole, Benedicta Swalarsk-Parry, Ariska van der Nest and Andi Wilson.
The DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB) Outreach Team welcomed 18 eager and very energetic Grade 6 learners from Radford House Primary School along with their teacher, Mrs Talana Wilson, to FABI on Wednesday 28 February. With this theme in mind the Outreach team, comprising Juanita Avontuur, Benedicta Swalarsk-Parry, Angel Maduke, Modjadji Makwela and Fezile Mthunzi took on the role of inventing new superhero characters such as the Plant Doctors.
Two FABIans earned the title “Dr” last week after successfully defending their PhD theses and fulfilling all the requirements for a PhD degree. Margot’s seminar summarised her study titled “Bacterial canker of cherry trees: Insight into pathogen biology and epidemiology”, which focused on canker diseases of Prunus avium and P. The microbial community associated with the primary causal agent of bacterial canker, Pseudomonas syringae pv. Margot also conducted a disease survey of canker-like symptoms on P. Collins presented his study “Pectobacterium brasiliense: Genes involved in ecological fitness and virulence mechanisms during potato tuber infection” which focused on the bacterial pathogen Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. Transcriptome profiling analysis revealed that during in planta infection, Pcb 1692 significantly differentially expressed genes involved in ecological fitness and virulence factors, such as chemotaxis, iron acquisition, plant cell wall degrading enzymes and genes shown to be involved in competition.
FABI welcomed Science and Technology Editor, Natasha Joseph and Environment and Energy Editor, Ozayr Patel from the online platform, The Conversation, on 26 February. When introducing the Editors, Brenda said that, in an era of Internet and social media, it is imperative that scientists have their views heard and to lobby for science. Natasha explained that The Conversation is a free, open-access source of news and views from the academic and research community providing a platform for experts to engage with the public and provide expert information. Natasha emphasised that The Conversation believes in open access and the free-flow of information. Both Natasha and Oz encouraged more FABIans to become contributors but also to sign up for their newsletter.
FABI celebrated the fourth successful Ph. Marike’s supervisors were Proff Fanus Venter, Emma Steenkamp and Dr Martin Coetzee. The unique nature of bacterial species requires a pluralistic view of evolution.
FABI’s 20th anniversary year is off to a flying start with Felix Fru becoming the third FABIan to successfully defend his Ph. Felix’s supervisors were Proff Jolanda Roux, Mike Wingfield and Emma Steenkamp while the external examiners were Prof Julio J. Fusarium circinatum is an ascomycete fungus that is a pathogen of Pinus species and Douglas fir. The first report of this fungus in South Africa was from a forestry nursery in the Mpumalanga Province.
Always wanted to be part of the FABI team? Here's your chance!
An Ambrosia Beetle Working Group was established this week in a meeting between government officials and the research team at FABI, to co-ordinate research and efforts to reduce the impact of the Polyphagous Shothole Borer (PSHB) in South Africa.
FABI Director Prof Bernard Slippers, Dr Martin Coetzee and Ph. FABI has worked extensively on this group of fungi, characterising its diversity and distribution in other tree species, across South Africa, and even named some of the newly identified fungal species. While many see the Kruger Park as a place to see the Big Five, Elelwani saw it as a refuge for some populations of marula and false marula that were relatively undisturbed (except for elephants).
Prof. Paal Krokene, a globally recognised forest protection specialist from Norway, visited FABI along with his family on 20 February.
FABI celebrated two decades of research excellence with a science symposium held on 24-25 January in the Aula Theatre on the Hatfield Campus of the University of Pretoria. More than 300 FABI alumni, academics, Government and forestry industry representatives, as well as many current FABI researchers, staff and students, attended the two-day celebration, themed “The Road to Research Excellence”.
FABIans Mr. Tanay Bose, Ms. Modjadji Makwela and Dr. Almuth Hammerbacher presented their research on the first initiative to metabarcode mycorrhizal fungi associated with an endemic orchid, Habenaria barbertonii.
Johan van der Linde became this year’s second FABIan to successfully complete the requirements for this Ph.D. on 26 January.
FABI celebrated the completion of the first Ph.D. for 2018 on 23 January when Tanay Bose presented his Prestige Seminar “Phytophthora species diversity associated with native and non-native forests in South Africa” before successfully defending his thesis.
This week, the FABI team is looking forward to welcoming some 300 Alumni, invited guests, industry partners, scientific collaborators, government representatives, staff and students from around the globe to celebrate its 20th anniversary on 24-25 January.
During the past week, the TPCP/CTHB management committee had a strategic planning session at Kwalata Lodge.
FABIans gathered for a breakfast to celebrate the start of their academic year on 15 January.
PhD student Darryl Herron is the second FABIan to be selected as a SAYAS blogger.
During December, Darryl Herron, a PhD student at FABI, was regional winner in the FameLab South Africa series. He will participate later this year in the National finals.
Six TPCP students celebrated their first publications with bubbly in FABI.
FABI congratulates and celebrates with two researchers who have reached remarkable milestones in their careers! Prof. Prof.
On Friday 1 December, FABI had the pleasure of hosting three internationally-renowned plant pathologists as part of a celebration of 100 Years of Plant Pathology at the University of Pretoria. For Prof.
Professor Mike Wingfield, Director of FABI has recently been included in Clarivate Analytics (Web of Science) list of the most highly cited researchers globally.
During November, Dr Trudy Paap, Postdoctoral Fellow in FABI, co-presented International Plant Sentinel Network (IPSN) workshops at SANBI National Botanical Gardens in Pietermaritzburg, Cape Town and Pretoria.
FABI hosted a coffee and cupcakes party on 27 November to wish well three people who have become an integral part of the FABI community over the years. Research leader of the Cereal Foliar Pathogen Research Group, Dr. Drs McTaggarts and Shuey joined FABI as postdoctoral Fellows in 2014.
During the past week, two FABIans gave oral presentations at the 7th International Barcode of Life Conference (iBOL 2017) in the Kruger National Park.
The Diagnostic Clinic of the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP) requests your assistance in keeping a lookout for two potential pest species of Eucalyptus on both commercial and ornamental trees in your area.
The staff and students of FABI wish to congratulate Prof. Bernard Slippers who has been appointed as the new Director of FABI with effect from 1 January 2018.
MSc student Dennis Omondi from Maseno University in Kenya visited MPPI, a FABI research group in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, for a month’s training in fungal pathology and molecular biology under the tutelage of PhD student David Nsibo.