17 Sep 2020

A different way of communicating our research

Early in 2020, Dr Andi Wilson and her PhD supervisors published a paper in the journal Fungal Genetics and Biology that detailed the knockout of a novel mating gene in Huntiella omanensis using the CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing system. The video represents a new way of communicating research - particularly novel techniques and protocols that are not always fully described in research papers. Excitingly, the video produced for this project is the first JoVE video to have been shot in Africa.


17 Sep 2020

FABI presents at the SAMAC Webinar

On 3 September, Dr Gerda Fourie, research leader of the Macadamia Protection Programme (MPP) and Prof. Zander Myburg, research leader of the Forest Molecular Genetics (FMG) Programme participated in a live webinar.


15 Sep 2020

Agreement to fund the York Timbers Chair in Wood Structural Engineering signed

The launch of the trans-disciplinary York Timbers Chair in Data-Driven, Wood Structural Engineering for a Sustainable Built Environment and African Bioeconomy is a step closer following the signing of a funding agreement between the University of Pretoria (UP) and York Timbers.


11 Sep 2020

FABIans participate in bark beetle mycobiome research network meeting

On 2 September, several FABIans that form part of the bark beetle mycobiome research network took part in their 9th virtual meeting.


10 Sep 2020

FABI advances plant health research in Africa with the launch of two satellite laboratories

FABI launched the Remote Sensing of Plant Health satellite laboratory with the University of Ghent in Belgium and the Artificial Intelligence in Farming satellite laboratory with Université de Québec à Montréal in Canada on 7 September.


9 Sep 2020

Attending the NAPB 2020 virtual meeting

FABI MSc student Ingrid Marais attended the National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB) 2020 annual meeting thanks to a South-African Plant Breeders Association (SAPBA) sponsorship.


8 Sep 2020

Phyloge-knows-it crowned “brains” of FABI at first virtual quiz night

Phyloge-knows-it outwitted 12 teams to be crowned winners at FABI’s first virtual Quiz Night on 4 September.


7 Sep 2020

Sampling the iconic and declining cedars in the Cedarberg mountains

Professor Mike Wingfield, together with Prof. Brenda Wingfield, recently joined Stellenbosch University colleagues Prof. Francois Roets, Dr Casper Crous and Dr Gabi Kietzka to sample Widdringtonia cedarbergensis in the Cedarberg Mountain Range of the Western Cape Province.


2 Sep 2020

The plant pathogenic bacterium Xylella fastidiosa under the spotlight at FABI’s monthly International Seminar

The plant pathogenic bacterium Xylella fastidiosa is a devastating pathogen that poses a huge threat to crops and the environment. The bacterium was first reported in 1892 by Newton Pierre as ‘California vine disease’ but it was not isolated until 1978. Dr Jacques explained how comparative genomics was used to track the introduction of X.


28 Aug 2020

FABI launches its multi-disciplinary Grain Research Programme

FABI launched its multidisciplinary Grain Research Programme (GRP) during an online event on 21 August.


21 Aug 2020

Christian Pirk elected a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences

FABI congratulates Prof. AAS is a non-aligned, non-political, not-for-profit pan African organisation whose vision is to see transformed lives on the African continent through science.


18 Aug 2020

FABIans participate in virtual APS Plant Health 2020 meeting

FABI research Fellow Dr Trudy Paap participated as an invited speaker in the special session, ‘Emerging endemic pathogens behaving as exotic invasives in changing climates in forest systems’.


13 Aug 2020

FABIans take part in the first virtual SASBi-SC student symposium

FABIans joined young researchers from several countries for the South African Society of Bioinformatics Student Council (SASBi-SC) Online Student Symposium from 4-6 August. FABIans contributed two oral presentations and a project overview to the 30 presentations at the online symposium.


11 Aug 2020

FMG members attend a virtual PB20 conference

Twenty two members of the FMG research group in FABI attended this year's virtual-hosted ASPB Plant Biology Worldwide Summit 2020.


7 Aug 2020

FABIans participate in FAO forest invasive species webinar

FABI founding Director and Immediate Past President IUFRO, Prof. Mike Wingfield along with Prof. Brett Hurley were invited to present in a FAO webinar covering the topic “Forest invasive species - the next global pandemic?” on 29 July.


6 Aug 2020

Plant evolutionary biologist delivers third instalment in the FABI International Seminar Series

Dr Celine Caseys of the University of California, Davis, delivered the third presentation in the FABI International Seminar Series on 30 July.


4 Aug 2020

A webinar on Plant Health in Botanical Gardens amid the COVID-19 pandemic

It has been just over four years since the SANBI-funded postdoctoral project ‘Monitoring plant health in sentinel sites: botanical gardens and arboreta’ started.


31 Jul 2020

Mike Wingfield wins NSTF award

FABI congratulates Prof. Mike Wingfield on winning the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) Annual Theme Award: Plant Health.


28 Jul 2020

Grain Research Programme field trip to the Eastern Cape

Three researchers from the FABI Grain Research Programme, Dr David Nsibo, Dr Godfrey Kgatle and PhD candidate Pfano Mbedzi, visited farms in the Eastern Cape from 12-17 July.


27 Jul 2020

FABI mycologists participate in the annual MSA meeting: Mycology in the cloud

FABI students and their co-authors contributed 37 posters/graphical abstracts of the 157 of these presentations at the MSA conference.


24 Jul 2020

The first JOVE video shoot in Africa

Four FABIans (Vinolia Danki, Dr Tuan Duong, Dr Andi Wilson and Prof. Andi and Brenda were joined in the making of the video by Tuan and Vinolia.


23 Jul 2020

FABIans uphold SPOOF tradition with an historic virtual meeting

For the first time in its 23-year history, FABI hosted a virtual Society for the Presentation of Outrageous Findings (SPOOF) event on 17 July. FABIans submitted nine pre-recorded videos, which in the spirit of the time, reflected the lighter moments of a nation under lockdown. The Gene Jockeys took the prize for the Best Abstract (with the subliminal message “Vote for us. FABI Director Prof.


22 Jul 2020

Students and staff of CERC and FABI celebrate the PhD defense of JieQiong Li

JieQiong Li marked the completion of her PhD study by presenting a prestige seminar (thesis defense) on 17 July.


17 Jul 2020

Fieldwork during a pandemic

FABI Director, Prof. Bernard Slippers along with Prof. Brett Hurley and Darryl Herron embarked on a field trip to the southern Cape during the week of 29 June.


16 Jul 2020

‘Fake news’ in the COVID-19 pandemic

Vice-Chancellor and Principal at the University of Pretoria Professor Tawana Kupe joined FABIans at the Monday Morning Meeting on 13 July for a discussion on ‘fake news’ in the era of the Covid-19 pandemic.


13 Jul 2020

Phytophthora disease resistance trials continue

FABI’s Dr Tanay Bose, a postdoctoral Fellow under the TPCP and in partnership with Sappi Forests has been running Phytophthora disease resistance trials for identifying tolerant Eucalyptus clones.


2 Jul 2020

Dr Osmond Mlonyeni appointed as a Trustee of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation

FABI was delighted to learn that a colleague and Manager for Partnerships and Programs for Innovation at Future Africa, Dr Osmond Mlonyeni has been appointed as a Trustee of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation. The Trustees of the MRF officially welcomed him at the annual Board meeting held on 8 June. Osmond is an alumnus of FABI at the University of Pretoria where he completed both MSc and PhD degrees and he remains deeply involved in the activities of FABI.


30 Jun 2020

Dr Matthew Kasson presents the second FABI International Seminar

FABI’s second monthly International Seminar had Assistant Professor of Forest Pathology at West Virginia University Dr Matthew Kasson present a talk entitled: Deciphering fungus-arthropod interactions: from ambrosia fungi to cicada-killing “Zygomycetes".


26 Jun 2020

Scientists warn of increasing threats posed by invasive alien species

orestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) founding Director and immediate past IUFRO President Prof. Mike Wingfield joined a global group of invasion biologists to compile an important study warning of the threats posed by invasive alien species.


25 Jun 2020

"Crop Rotation” An important disease management strategy

In the latest issue of the magazin Pula Imvula, Dr Mahlane Godfrey Kgatle a postdoctoral Fellow at FABI has authored an article on crop rotation and its importance as part of a disease management strategy.


19 Jun 2020

Fungi in FABI lockdown! Discovering unexpected and hidden mycological gems

As we move to more relaxed lockdown regulations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools, businesses and offices are starting to re-open. Recently, a leatherwear and accessory store in Malaysia reopened their doors after two months of lockdown, only to find fungi growing on all their products.


18 Jun 2020

#LockdownSA: Boldly going back to the spaces we enjoy

After what felt like an eternity in lockdown, FABI and the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP) were finally able to send their first team back into the field. Field work, like space exploration, allows us to collect data and samples, establish important trials and gives us the opportunity to educate as we work. The expedition to Mpumalanga was a success. We are especially thankful to Forestry South Africa and the University of Pretoria for providing permits for us to continue with field trips.


11 Jun 2020

Why it’s so critical to continuously monitor and manage plant diseases

Why it’s so critical to continuously monitor and manage plant diseases.


8 Jun 2020

Stephanie van Wyk becomes the first FABIan to present her Prestige Seminar online

FABI congratulates Stephanie van Wyk who presented her PhD prestige seminar and thesis defence on 2 June, the first FABIAN to do so using the online meeting platform, Zoom.


4 Jun 2020

First online stage gate meetings at FABI

Postgraduate research activities have continued at FABI despite the COVID-19 lockdown. FABI has recently been allowed to partially open its doors and resume research activities.


2 Jun 2020

Professor Bernard Slippers awarded the prestigious Havenga Prize for Natural Sciences

The FABI team was delighted to hear that the Institute Director Prof. The award recognises Prof.