Vacancies
Vacancies

MSc projects 2023

Prof Jacquie van der Waals

  1. Efficacy of azoxystrobin in management of Botrytis grey mould, and determination of sensitivity profile of Botrytis cinerea populations in South African citrus orchards

Botrytis cinerea is an important citrus fungal pathogen, which is most prevalent during cool, moist conditions and causes grey mould in fruit. Botrytis cinerea is associated with the premature flower drop of lemons, as well as destructive preharvest and postharvest fruit rot. Rind distortions of fruit is a common symptom related to infection of blossoms by this pathogen. Control of diseases caused by B. cinerea is largely dependent on the application of fungicides, including azoxystrobin, but to date there are no registered fungicides available for the control of B. cinerea on citrus in South Africa. Botrytis cinerea, however, is prone to develop resistance to fungicides and thus it is critically important to monitor pathogen populations for mutations that confer resistance. Good stewardship in fungicide use is also necessary to extend the lifespan of active ingredients such as azoxystrobin. This includes evaluation of spray programmes, with respect to timing and number of applications, as well as inclusion of contact fungicides in tank mixes with systemics.

The first objective of this project is to collect B. cinerea isolates from the Eastern and Western Cape growing areas (collection starting Sept 2022) in order to screen these isolates for mutations that confer resistance to azoxystrobin, using molecular markers. The second objective is to evaluate the efficacy of various spray programmes to manage Botrytis in citrus. These will include azoxystrobin alone, azoxystrobin with a contact fungicide, benomyl alone, and azoxystrobin with selected biological control agents (project #5). These field trials will be conducted in orchards in the Western Cape, and as such, the student will work closely with Dr Jan van Niekerk and his technical assistant, Mr Charles Stevens (both SUN-CRI). Trials will be laid out in randomised block designs in designated orchards, which will then be sprayed according to the different fungicide / BCA treatments through the infection period (September to October). Blossoms will be collected at three intervals for determination of Botrytis infection. Blossom infection will be evaluated using three techniques, namely moisture chamber incubation, moisture chamber incubation after surface sterilisation, and PCR. Isolations will be made from blossoms displaying sporulation in moisture chambers. The orchard trial will be repeated.

Results from this project will inform the citrus industry in SA on the best practices for management of Botrytis in orchards.

Requirements and skills needed: The student on this project must possess a South African driver’s licence and be willing to travel to the Western Cape growing region on a regular basis in the summer. Ability to understand and speak Afrikaans is an advantage. The student must be willing to do physical labour, and interact with growers.

  1. Efficacy and modes-of action biological control agents in the control of Botrytis cinerea inSouth African citrus orchards

Botrytis cinerea is an important citrus fungal pathogen, which is most prevalent during cool, moist conditions and causes grey mould in fruit. Botrytis cinerea is associated with the premature flower drop of lemons, as well as destructive preharvest and postharvest fruit rot. Rind distortions of fruit is a common symptom related to infection of blossoms by this pathogen. Control of diseases caused by B. cinerea is largely dependent on the application of fungicides, including azoxystrobin, but to date there are no registered fungicides available for the control of B. cinerea on citrus in South Africa. Botrytis cinerea, however, is prone to develop resistance to fungicides and thus it is critically important to monitor pathogen populations for mutations that confer resistance. Good stewardship in fungicide use is also necessary to extend the lifespan of active ingredients such as azoxystrobin. This includes evaluation of spray programmes, with respect to timing and number of applications, as well as inclusion of contact fungicides in tank mixes with systemics. Also important in the light of the retraction of many fungicides from the market, is to incorporate the use of biological control agents (BCAs) into management programmes.

The first objective of this project is to collect B. cinerea isolates from the Eastern and Western Cape growing areas (collection starting Sept 2022) in order to screen various commercially available BCAs the B. cinerea isolates, using different methods to determine the modes-ofaction of the BCAs. The second objective is to evaluate the efficacy of various spray programmes to manage Botrytis in citrus. These will include azoxystrobin alone, azoxystrobin with a contact fungicide, benomyl alone (project #4), and azoxystrobin with selected biological control agents (this project). These field trials will be conducted in orchards in the Western Cape, and as such, the student will work closely with Dr Jan van Niekerk and his technical assistant, Mr Charles Stevens (both SUN-CRI). Trials will be laid out in randomised block designs in designated orchards, which will then be sprayed according to the different fungicide/BCA treatments through the infection period (September to October). Blossoms will be collected at three intervals for determination of Botrytis infection. Blossom infection will be evaluated using three techniques, namely moisture chamber incubation, moisture chamber incubation after surface sterilisation, and PCR. Isolations will be made from blossoms displaying sporulation in moisture chambers. The orchard trial will be repeated.

Results from this project will inform the citrus industry in SA on the best practices for management of Botrytis in orchards.

Requirements and skills needed: The student on this project must possess a South African driver’s licence and be willing to travel to the Western Cape growing region on a regular basis in the summer. Ability to understand and speak Afrikaans is an advantage. The student must be willing to do physical labour, and interact with growers.

Skills that are required for both of these projects include:

  • Good writing and presentation skills
  • Layout, design and maintenance of field and greenhouse trials
  • Appropriate working knowledge of statistics
  • Ability to work meticulously, keep good records and work under pressure
  • Excellent laboratory skills, in particular working with fungi (eg. hyphal tipping, dilution series, making storage cultures)
  • PCR and sequencing
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Advanced understanding of FRAC

Please submit your CV, undergraduate (and Hons if applicable) marks and a cover letter to Prof Jacquie van der Waals (jacquie@cri.co.za)

Closing date for applications: 1 August 2022

NOTE: Final allocation of projects is dependent on allocation of funding from CRI

The University of KwaZuluNatal (UKZN) is committed to meeting the objectives of Employment Equity to improve representivity within the Institution. Preference will be given to applicants from designated groups in accordance with our Employment Equity Plan.

COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE, ENGINEERING AND SCIENCE

PROFESSOR IN PLANT PATHOLOGY

SCHOOL OF AGRICULTURAL, EARTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

PIETERMARITZBURG CAMPUS

REF NO.: AEES16/2022

The School seeks a dynamic, self-motivated and innovative individual committed to quality teaching, research and community engagement who will help in strengthening its activities in the broad field of applied Plant Pathology and Plant Health. The incumbent will be tasked with teaching in their field of expertise and related Plant Pathology fields at all levels (undergraduate and postgraduate) using curricula in keeping with modern developments in that field. Preference will be given to candidates with a background and knowledge in applied diagnosis and management of plant diseases. In addition to teaching, s/he will be expected to develop and maintain an active research programme that will involve the supervision of postgraduate students, and to attract external funding. S/he will also be expected to be involved in the School administration and outreach activities. Strength in Plant Virology and/or Biocontrol expertise will be an advantage.

This incumbent will report to the Academic Leader: Production Sciences Cluster.

Minimum Requirements:
Professor
• A relevant PhD degree in Plant Pathology
• Experience in teaching at a tertiary institution
• A current and sustained research publication record in peer-reviewed ISI/DoHET accredited journals appropriate for the level of appointment
• Successful supervision of MSc and PhD students
• Demonstrated ability to attract external research funds
• Evidence of strong academic leadership

This appointment will be made in line with the University Guidelines/ benchmarks which are available on the University Vacancies website.

Enquiries and details regarding this post may be directed to the Dean and Head of School, Professor Fhatuwani Mudau, email: MudauF@ukzn.ac.za.

Short-listed candidates will be expected to do a presentation on a specified topic.

Appointment to this post will be on the January 2018 Conditions of Service.

The remuneration package offered includes benefits.

The closing date for receipt of applications is 22 July 2022

Applicants are required to complete the relevant application form which is available on the Vacancies website at www.ukzn.ac.za. Applicants are requested to clearly indicate the level they are applying for. Completed forms must be sent to recruitment- aes@ukzn.ac.za. The Advert Reference Number MUST be clearly stated in the subject line.

Kindly note that the University of KwaZulu-Natal (“the University”) is required to process any Personal Information (as defined by the Protection of Personal Act, 2013 “POPIA”) submitted by candidates when applying for positions at the University. The University will endeavour to ensure that the appropriate security measures are in place and implemented for both electronic and paper-based formats that are used for processing of the personal information recorded through this recruitment and selection process. View/Download the University’s relevant Section 18 notice.

Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences

Department of Plant Sciences

Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (2-year Contract)

Job ID: 4639

KINDLY TAKE NOTE: Applications may only be submitted online through the official UFS vacancy website: https://ufs.hua.hrsmart.com/hr/ats/JobSearc/viewAll – Applications submitted through any other platform will not be considered.

The University of the Free State (UFS) invites applications from suitably qualified candidates for a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Plant Sciences.

The following Post-Doctoral Fellowship is available to support activities in the discipline of Plant Pathology:

Research area: Research on soil-borne pathogens of agricultural crops.

The successful applicant will be expected to engage in full-time Post-Doctoral studies under the supervision of Prof Wijnand Swart in the Division of Plant Pathology (Department of Plant Sciences).

Duties and responsibilities:

  • Lecturing 2nd semester course: Ecology of Plant Pathogens (Module PPLG3744)
  • Lecturing 2nd semester course: Host-parasite Interactions (Module PPLG4824 / 6824)
  • Assist with supervision of post-graduate research (Honours, Masters and PhD)
  • Publish own research in peer-reviewed journals

Minimum Requirements:

  • A doctoral degree obtained in the last four years in Plant Pathology with a specialization in soil-borne diseases.
  • Applicants must be under the age of 50 years
  • Must be based at the Bloemfontein campus of the UFS for the duration of the scholarship.

Comprehensive applications are invited, comprising of:

  • A PhD degree in Plant Pathology with undergraduate training in host-pathogen interactions
  • A letter of motivation, including the earliest possible starting date
  • An up-to-date CV
  • Contact details of two academic referees
  • Record of academic transcripts
  • An example of your academic writing skills, by either providing an article or chapter of your PhD thesis

Value of the fellowship:

  • R 220,000 annual fellowship.
  • R 30,000 additional research expenses fund.

Application:

  • Applications to be uploaded using the provided link.
  • Late applications will not be considered.
  • An online interview will take place.
  • Successful individuals will be contacted six to eight weeks after the interviews
  • The successful incumbent may be considered for a permanent position if their performance is satisfactory during the post-doctoral term.

Closing date:
17 July 2022

Commencement of fellowship:
As soon as possible

For enquiries, please contact:
Email: Prof Wijnand Swart, swartwj@ufs.ac.za

General:

The University reserves the right not to fill the post. The University subscribes to and applies the principles prescribed by the Employment Equity Act. Preference will be given to candidates from the designated groups, in accordance with the principles of the aforementioned act and the employee profile of the specific department/division.

The University processes personal information in line with its obligations under the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) and any personal information provided to the University will be treated as confidential and processed in accordance with the rights provided to data subjects under POPIA.

The UFS will only consider applications of candidates who meet all the inherent requirements of the position. Applications that are incomplete will not be considered. Communication will be limited to shortlisted candidates only. Should you not be contacted within six weeks of the closing date for applications, you may assume that your application was unsuccessful.

(Job ID: 4639)

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