Shane, an alumnus of the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, started her career working for the Agricultural Research Council. Following her PhD studies at the Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences, University of Edinburgh, she returned to South Africa for a Post-Doctoral Fellowship, followed later by a lectureship, at the University of Cape Town. Shane joined CenGen in September 2019 to share her expertise in advanced genomic technologies and project management. It forms part of CenGen’s strategic planning to strengthen its capacity as specialist service provider for the agricultural industry. Shane is also affiliated to the Centre for Proteomic and Genomic Research (CPGR), one of several institutions, including CenGen, which forms part of the DIPLOMICS initiative.
Debbie has a BSc (Genetics, Microbiology) degree from Stellenbosch University. She has extensive experience in a large range of molecular disciplines, including DNA-related techniques, plant tissue- and animal cell culture, as well as various types of chromatographic and biochemical techniques. She is responsible for the bulk of the molecular data generated for the commercial and research projects across all plant and pathogen species processed at CenGen.
Lizaan gained valuable experience in wheat rust pathology during her MSc Agric (Plant Pathology) study at the University of the Free State. After the completion of this degree, she worked in the fruit export trade and later managed an olive tree nursery. Lizaan is responsible for the management, data analysis and data reporting of CenGen’s commercial projects which include an increasing demand from the horticultural industry for various applications, as well as work on fungal pathogens. She also stays updated on the barley research and service projects to provide additional capacity (in terms of data generation and analysis) if needed, to serve the malting barley industry.
Mignon joined the team in August 2019 as an intern in barley research and to provide assistance to the commercial projects running at CenGen while completing a 4 year BSc Agric (Genetics and Plant Pathology) degree at Stellenbosch University. She works with Kelly in assisting the barley breeding industry to produce improved malting barley varieties. During her intern year she will also be exposed to the commercial projects performed at CenGen. Mignon aims to pursue an MSc (Genetics) in the near future.
Kelly obtained her MSc Degree in Genetics through Stellenbosch University in 2017. In the same year she joined the CenGen team as a barley intern researcher, a position which she held for a year. Kelly now manages all the barley work (both commercial and research-based) that CenGen undertakes. In this role, she performs both wet-lab work and data analysis and interpretation. Her focus is to become an expert in the utilisation and implementation of barley genomic resources to assist the barley breeders in their endeavours to breed improved malting barley varieties. To this end, she has attended various bioinformatics and barley genomics workshops and takes the lead in CenGen’s in-house bioinformatics training activities.
Elsabet joined the CenGen team in 2011 after completing a Master’s degree in Genetics at Stellenbosch University. She manages the Molecular Service Laboratory (MSL) programme which handles the “DNA work” of the South African wheat breeding programmes of Sensako and Corteva™️ Agriscience (previously Pannar Seed). The MSL programme uses molecular markers to track useful disease resistance, quality and agronomic traits in the breeding material. High-throughput data generation and analysis is at the order of the day and the focus is now moving towards utilising higher order wheat genomics resources and techniques in the breeding programmes. To become proficient in applying these approaches, Elsabet is an active member of CenGen’s drive to build bioinformatics expertise in the group and frequently attends courses and workshops pertaining to this discipline.
Alana obtained a National Diploma in Food Technology at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in 2016. Apart from ‘in-service training’ at Parmalat, she also worked at RCL Foods. At CenGen she was introduced to the field of plant molecular genomics and was trained to become an autonomous laboratory assistant. She has become an invaluable asset to the Molecular Service Laboratory and wheat research projects, where she assists with data generation. Alana is currently enrolled for a BSc degree in Life Sciences at UNISA, which she completes on a part-time basis while working fulltime at CenGen.
Kirsty completed her MSc in Plant Science (specialising in plant physiology and biotechnology) at the University of Pretoria in 2017. Her project focused on the transcriptome analysis of the glandular trichomes of the South African medicinal plant, Helichrysum umbraculigerum. Kirsty started working at CenGen in March 2019 as a wheat researcher. CenGen’s wheat gene cloning efforts and overreaching goal of identifying new sources of genetic resistance and associated DNA markers to wheat pathogens are her main focus. Downstream applications of this include improved or perfect molecular markers to trace useful QTL/genes that can be used to compliment breeding efforts. Expanding her bioinformatics skills is therefore currently also a priority.