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Plant Biotechnologists Gather for Fifth ACGT Regional Plant Biotechnology Forum

23rd April 2012

(L to R): Dr Richard Mundembe (Wits), Mr Steven Hussey (UP), Ms Maureen Baloyi (UJ), Ms Peggy Maake (UJ).
(L to R): Dr Richard Mundembe (Wits), Mr Steven Hussey (UP), Ms Maureen Baloyi (UJ), Ms Peggy Maake (UJ).

Held on the 23rd of April 2012, ACGT partners once again gathered under the auspice of the 5th ACGT Regional Plant Biotechnology Forum. The event was held at the Wits Professional Development Hub, Johannesburg. The forum showcased research on plant biotechnology research currently being undertaken at ACGT partner institutions. The event was graciously sponsored by Inqaba Biotec.

With 57 delegates present, the day got underway with a welcome by Prof Chrissie Rey (School of Molecular and Cell Biology, Wits). Keynote speaker, Prof Ed Rybicki (Faculty of Health Sciences, UCT) enlightened the audience on research performed in his lab relating to plant-produced vaccines.

(L to R): Ms Linchay Arnolds, Ms Itumeleng Kgang (ARC), Ms Molemi Ruwane, Mr Edwin Madala (UJ).

Other featured research included the genetic transformation of non-model plants (Dr Richard Mundembe-Wits) and understanding the responses of eucalypts to low temperature, drying and freezing stresses (Dr Kershree Padayachee-Wits). Two student presentations were also included in the days’ programme. Ms Ronishree Naidoo (UP) presented the findings of her MSc, entitled “Elucidation and characterization of markers for the salicylic acid and methyl jasmonate pathways in Eucalyptus grandis”. Mr Edwin Madala (UJ) had the audience in high spirits with his talk entitled “Isonitrosoacetophenone induces metabolic pertubations in Arabidopsis thaliana, Nicotiana tabacum, and Sorghum bicolor: A holistic UPLC-ESI-HD-MS based metabolomics analysis”. In addition, 10 posters were also showcased during the mid-morning poster session.

L to R): Prof Ian Dubery (UJ), Prof Dave Berger (UP).
L to R): Prof Ian Dubery (UJ), Prof Dave Berger (UP).

The substantial number of attendees, especially the increasing student participation as well as the quality of presentations and active audience participation, were all seen as contributing factors to the success of the forum.

The next forum will be held in October 2012 at the University of Johannesburg . Keep an eye on “Upcoming events” on the ACGT website for further information on the event. For more information or enquiries, contact Dr John Becker or Ms Jessika Samuels.

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Date:
23rd April 2012