Three University of the Free State (UFS) students who have had ties with CenGen will be awarded their respective degrees at the June 2018 graduation ceremony in Bloemfontein. CenGen has, to a greater or lesser extent, been involved with the studies of Hester van Schalkwyk (PhD), Tegwe Soko (PhD) and Gerna Maree (MSc Agric).
For the majority of her study, Hester was based at CenGen under the supervision of Dr Renée Prins and Prof Zak Pretorius (UFS). She was the first South African to receive a PhD scholarship from the prestigious Monsanto’s Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program and spent 19 months at the Earlham Institute (previously TGAC) in the United Kingdom for bioinformatics training under the supervision of Dr Diane Saunders (now John Innes Centre) and Dr Lesley Boyd (National Institute of Agricultural Botany). In her thesis, A Pathogenomic Approach Towards Characterising the South African Population of Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici, the Causal Agent of Wheat Stripe Rust, she investigated different isolates of the pathogen and their interactions with their host using bioinformatics and molecular genetics.
Tegwe, a wheat breeder at Seed-Co Zimbabwe, did a part-time PhD study with the title Stem rust resistance and yield performance of irrigated Zimbabwean spring wheat and was supervised by Prof Zak Pretorius and co-supervised by Dr Renée Prins. During the course of his study he received hands-on training in molecular technologies as a visiting student at CenGen.
Gerna Maree was awarded the MSc Agric degree cum laude for her thesis titled Histopathology of rust infection in wheat and barley. She was supervised by Prof Zak Pretorius and co-supervised by Dr Renée Prins.
The CenGen team wishes the graduandi all the best with their scientific careers!