Welcome to the Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology
The disciplines of Microbiology and Plant Pathology offer a fantastic diversity of themes. The smallest microbes are viruses, followed by bacteria and fungi. Globally, these micro-organisms can be useful and essential in their natural locations, and can be studied and used in medicinal applications, for food production, water purification and in other industrial applications.
Microbiologists may explore such useful microorganisms and develop strategies to protect them and to expand their utility. However, other microorganisms can cause major health and agricultural problems. In this regard microbiologists often specialise to combat some of the serious infectious diseases of humans, domestic animals, wildlife and plants that are caused by such pathogenic micro-organisms. Microbiologists at the University of Pretoria often work on the molecular and cellular level, in designing new vaccines and anti-microbial strategies and developing ways to better detect and quickly identify microbes, discover new micro-organisms and to better understand the evolution, diversity and pathogenicity of microorganisms.
Students will study micro-organisms, mainly bacteria, viruses and fungi (moulds and yeasts) to enable them to understand the basic processes of life. Students will apply their knowledge (of taxonomy, metabolism and the molecular biology of microorganisms) in ecology for the preservation of the environment, food microbiology, industrial microbiology, biological control and genetic manipulation.
In Plant Pathology students are trained as specialists in plant health. To keep plants healthy, they study organisms that cause disease, how plants are affected by disease, and how plant diseases can be controlled. With this knowledge, they are able to help commercial companies, farmers and small-scale growers to control plant diseases through various means, includingintegrated pest and disease management. Students will also be trained in post harvest pathology and food safety, which contribute to production of safer food products.
FABI Director elected as next President of IUFRO - 19/06/2013
Prof Mike Wingfield, the Director of the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) in the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, was elected early in June 2013 to serve as the next President of the International Union of Forestry Research Organisations (IUFRO).
He is the first ever African to be elected to this prestigious position, which has a five-year term running from October 2014 to 2019.
Faculty of Humanities’ Mandela Day project: Prof De la Rey donates books - 19/06/2013
During a ceremony held on 4 June 2013, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Cheryl de la Rey, donated four books to the Faculty of Humanities as a contribution to their Mandela Day project.
The books she donated were her favourite books during her childhood. She congratulated the Faculty for initiating such a worthy project that would continue to encourage children to read even long after the Mandela Day celebrations have ended. She emphasised the importance of reading as a window to the world and quoted Mr Nelson Mandela, who once remarked that ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’.
New Chair in Department of Mining Engineering to help save lives - 18/06/2013
Research on a safer working environment in the hard-rock mining industry will henceforth be a very specific focus area at the University of Pretoria. This is the result of a donation of R4.7 million over 3 years by Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited (Harmony) to UP in order to establish a Chair in Rock Engineering and Numerical Modelling in the mining industry. The Harmony chair will be housed in the Department of Mining Engineering of the University’s Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology.
TuksRugby reigns supreme in 2013 Carlton League - 16/06/2013
On 15 June, TuksRugby proved their supremacy in Blue Bulls club rugby by claiming all five championship titles on offer in the 2013 Carlton League.
The top prize at stake was the coveted Carlton Cup, the piece of silverware that eluded UP-Tuks 1 last year when they went down 23–27 to Police in the final.
New Poultry Disease Management Agency (PDMA) and UP Research Poultry Chair launched in the Faculty of Veterinary Science - 13/06/2013
The new PDMA-UP Poultry Research Chair in the Faculty of Veterinary Science was recently launched by the Faculty and the South African Poultry Association (SAPA). This exciting collaborative partnership aims among other things, at conducting research on poultry diseases that have an impact on our economy.
The first incumbent of this Chair, Prof Celia Abolnik, who was recently appointed by the Production Animal Studies Department, will be conducting research projects in conjunction with the Poultry Disease Management Agency (PDMA), the government as well as other relevant stakeholders.
UP crosses borders with tourism - 13/06/2013
The Faculty of Humanities of the University of Pretoria was recently represented by two academic staff members at the Atlas Africa conference in Kigali, Rwanda. Mr Richard Wyllie (Department of Historical and Heritage Studies) and Professor Chris Boonzaaier (Department of Anthropology and Archaeology) both presented papers.
For the first time in its history, the eighth bi-annual event was hosted by the Rwanda Tourism University College (RTUC) from 3 to 5 June 2013.
Theatre highlights: Chasing and As Night Falls - 11/06/2013
There are performances of the shows Chasing (based on the life of Ingrid Jonker) and As Night Falls (based on the life of Helen Martins) at the Masker Theatre at the University of Pretoria.
These shows are collaborations between the Drama Department and Matchbox Theatre Collective and both shows are choreographed by Nicola Haskins. Make sure you don't miss these shows before they head to perform at Smithfield and at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. As Night falls won a Standard Bank Ovation Award in 2011.