Research institutions involved with and residing on the Innovation Africa @UP campus

The aim of the African Genomics Project is to investigate underlying genetic mechanisms for adaption in local beef cattle genomes in collaboration with the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and Queen Mary University of London.

70% of the earth's carbon in living biomass exists in land plants, most of it in the form of polysaccharide and phenolic biopolymers in the trunks, stems and roots of vascular plants. For the plant this means coordinating how to get carbon from the air and hydrogen and oxygen from water via the roots, to synthesize sugars in the leaves – the currency that the plant can invest.

The Agricultural Management Programme covers an array of research interest which include Data Intensive Farm Management, agricultural systems modelling, nitrogen dynamics in agroecosystems, non-point source pollution and agricultural water management.

The “Anaplasma species in South Africa” programme's research includes investigations into the presence and genetic diversity of Anaplasma marginale in South Africa and the molecular characterization of vaccine candidates from these strains. The group aims to generate genome sequences of a number of Anaplasma species in order to identify genes and proteins that are unique to A. marginale.

Chemical ecology is the study of the role that chemicals play mediating interactions between organisms and organisms and their environment, and the consequences of those interactions in ecological and evolutionary time. It is not an autonomous discipline but rather an approach to ecology, one of viewing ecological interactions through a chemical lens.

Fungi play important roles in many aspects of human life, such as acting as decomposers in the carbon cycle, used to produce food and beverages, while many species produce useful pharmaceuticals or enzymes. For all of these benefits, fungi can cause serious problems for humans, animals and plants.

The current explosion in next generation biological- and information technologies is disrupting agriculture business globally, opening transformative new opportunities for intensification and diversification in a sustainable manner. Africa is rich in agricultural growth opportunities, from underutilized land, to novel crop diversity, and a rich agricultural tradition.

The Avocado Research Programme (ARP; previously the Fruit Tree Biotechnology Programme) was established in 2008 as a collaborative initiative between the Hans Merensky Foundation, Westfalia Technological Services and researchers from the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI).

The bacterial genomics and host pathogen interactions group is based at the University of Pretoria Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology under the leadership of Dr Lucy Moleleki. Potato is an economically important crop plant contributing significantly to the South African economy.

The CERC-FABI Tree Protection Programme (CFTPP), is a cooperative venture programme established between the China Eucalypt Research Centre (CERC) of the Chinese Academy of Forestry in China, and the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI), at the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

Pathosystems currently under study include grey leaf spot in maize (GLS) caused by Cercospora zeina, and northern corn leaf blight (NCLB) in maize and sorghum caused by Exserohilum turcicum.

Our research focuses on the beneficial agricultural use of wastewater sludge and the impact of extreme weather event on maize production in South Africa. Since 2010 Prof Tesfamariam, has been involved in a multidisciplinary research projects funded by the European Union under FP7 program, Department of Science and Technology, Water Research Commission (WRC), and East Rand Water Care Company.

The Crop Agronomy Programme mainly focus on the general agronomic practices of crop production in the various crops, with most of the work involving either plant nutrition or water use, water-use efficiency and nutrient water productivity.

Pollination is a fundamental process in plant biology describing the transfer of pollen from the male to female parts of the plant. In out-crossing plant species this pollen transfer is difficult, often requiring the movement of pollen between plants sometimes across great distances.

Forest tree species such as Eucalyptus and Pine are subjected to attack by various pests and pathogens during their life-time. Examples are the insect pest, Leptocybe invasa, the stem canker pathogen, Chrysoporthe austroafricana, the root rot pathogen, Phytophthora cinnamomi, and the pitch canker pathogen Fusarium circinatum.

The Forest Molecular Genetics (FMG) Programme focuses on the genetic control of growth and development in fast- growing plantation trees with a view to enhance biomass production and improve wood properties for timber, pulp, paper, and biomaterials production. Concomitant with this, we aim to understand molecular pest and disease resistance mechanisms in trees for yield protection and resilience.

The FPLR Institute is part of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences (DePSS) in association with the Centre for Environmental Studies (CFES). The group’s research is interdisciplinary with Agronomy, Soil Science, Ecology, Environmental Science, Animal and Wildlife Sciences and Veterinary Sciences.

The Grain Research Program (GRP) is a newly established programme that was developed by a team of multidisciplinary grain researchers from different institutes and programmes at FABI and elsewhere in South Africa.

The Great Escarpment Biodiversity Programme aims at addressing massive gaps in biodiversity knowledge of mountainous areas of southern Africa, from Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho to Zimbabwe. It includes studies gathering baseline biodiversity information, the systematics and phylogeography of plant groups and animal groups.

The Indigenous Food And Medicinal Plant Programme explores the utilization, production and development of plants used in indigenous medicine in South Africa. The prgramme also explores policy development, chemotaxonomy, chemical ecology, plant systematics and evolution.

Human health and livelihoods often intersect with the activities of insects. Using a foundation in insect behaviour, ecology and physiology, Prof. Weldon's research aims to address these interactions, whether negative or beneficial, with a focus on flies but also insect pests of horticulture.

The Macadamia Protection Programme (MPP) was established in 2017 as collaborative initiative between Macadamia South Africa NPC (SAMAC), the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) and the University of Pretoria.

The main vision of Professor Lall’s research is to use medicinal plants for the benefit of its people. The programme investigates the medicinal plants for Tuberculosis, cancer, and skin-related diseases. Hepatoprotective and immunomodulatory effects of the plants are also evaluated.

The Molecular Plant Physiology group was established in 1998 when Professor Karl Kunert joined FABI. Since then the group has grown and is currently headed by Dr Juan Vorster. We collaborate with various groups from around the world, each brining unique specialities, to understand plant development and the response of plant towards stress.

The Molecular Plant-Pathogen Interactions (MPPI) Group is located in the Plant Sciences Complex at the University of Pretoria. The group is part of the Department of Plant & Soil Sciences and the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) and is headed by Prof Dave Berger.

The Monogastric Animal Management and Nutrition Programme's research area is mainly in broiler and layer nutrition as well as pig nutrition, with the main focus on improving production performance in an antibiotic-free environment.

MDASA was established in 2013 and is a non-political, non-sectarian, and non-profit making body devoted to the study, promotion and empowerment of all aspects of the Moringa tree such as growing, product development, marketing, protection, research, social, health and economic exploitation of Moringa and other related areas.

Prof Quenton Kritzinger is an associate professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. While his research activities integrate the fields of mycology, seed pathology and medicinal plant sciences, his main field of interest is the storage fungi, the mycotoxins they produce, and their association with orphan crops.

This research programme focuses on bacterial diseases of trees, both plantation and native tree species and to a lesser extent, fruit trees. We have two major research focuses – one on taxonomy and the other on pathogenicity factors exhibited by a select group of pathogens.

Healthy plants are vital to human and animal health but are often overlooked in One Health literature. Almost 80% of the food consumed by humans are plant sourced and are also the main source of nutrition for livestock. However, the availability and safety of plants for consumption is threatened by plant diseases and pests.

Viruses associations with plants often lead to growth and yield limiting disease symptoms, ultimately leading to economic losses and continue to pose a threat to food security, especially in the developing world.

The primary research focus of the Potato Pathology Programme is the epidemiology, diagnosis and control of soil- and seed-borne diseases of potatoes.

The Polyphagous Shothole Borer (PSHB) outbreak in South Africa is the largest geographical outbreak of this beetle in the world. It is affecting trees in all sectors: the agricultural and commercial forestry sector, urban trees (public spaces, streets, gardens), as well as native trees in natural forests.

The RGE-FABI Tree Health Programme (RGE-FABI THP) was established in 2018 as a collaborative venture between the Indonesian-based Royal Golden Eagle (RGE) Group and the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) at the University of Pretoria.

Developing capacity in any research field requires high quality, and discipline-specific academic leadership. How does one achieve capacity if a certain expertise is not available in house? One approach is through the establishment of ‘Satellite Labs’.

Seed science and technology involves several disciplines such as plant production, agronomy, plant physiology, plant science, entomology and plant pathology.The seed is the most important and essential starting point for a healthy plant.

One of our main topic of research is the analysis of pheromonal communication between colony members, using behavioural observations, analysis of the relatedness of the individuals involved, bioassays of their responses to pheromonal compounds and gas chromatographic analysis of chemical signals produced.

The African Centre for Gene Technologies (ACGT) is an initiative that involves the CSIR, the University of Pretoria, the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Johannesburg. The aim is to create a collaborative network of excellence in advanced biotechnology, with specific focus on the “-omics”.

The DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Plant Health Biotechnology (CPHB, previously the CTHB) promotes the health of plants and trees. Research conducted under the umbrella of this Centre address some of the burning national challenges (particularly in terms of food security, sustainable use of natural resources, and economic growth), while building human capacity in these important arenas.

Christine Maritz-Olivier's research on ticks and tick-borne diseases comprises four pillars. The first is the development of anti-tick vaccines using a combined functional genomics and reverse vaccinology approach. The second focuses on understanding the genetic diversity of ticks throughout South Africa, their current acaricide resistance status and tick-borne pathogen profiles.

The Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP) was established based on a very small team of researchers at the University of the Free State and focused on a single threatening Eucalyptus disease problem. The programme has since grown to become highly recognised internationally as the single strongest programme dealing with pest and pathogen problems in plantation forestry in the world.

UrbanBetter is a learning collaborative and advocacy platform connecting and mobilising individuals, communities and organisations for healthy sustainable urban environments.

We have a very active Water Research Group in the Department that is well supported by the Water Research Commission (WRC) and industry. Our group has developed the Soil Water Balance model (SWB), which has been used and further developed by many staff and students over the years.

The Water-Use of Fruit Species Programme explores water use, water relations and modelling water use of fruit tree species. Led by Dr Nicky Taylor, the programme is currently involved in research projects on citrus, apple, avocado, macadamia and pecan water use.