SASM News (186)
The Institute for Microbial Biotechnology and Metagenomics (IMBM) is a leading research unit within the Department of Biotechnology at the University of the Western Cape. IMBM is committed to being a globally competitive institute through excellence in research and in the training of future research leaders, and hosts the DST/NRF SARChI research chair in Microbial Genomics. The core research objective of the Institute is to develop Microbial Biotechnology, through complementary aspects of Microbial Biology. Current research interests within the Institute include Environmental and Industrial Microbiology, Metagenomics, Applied Genomics, and Marine Biotechnology. IMBM is accommodated in the new Life Sciences Building, providing state of the art research facilities and equipment. These include the Next Generation Sequencing Facility and other “omics” related technologies.
The St Lucia Estuary is part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is the largest estuarine system in Africa. This three-lake complex is particularly vulnerable to droughts and hypersaline conditions due to its large surface area (350 km2) and shallow water depth (average depth 0.9 m). A widespread bloom of the unicellular cyanobacterium Cyanothece sp. appeared in June 2009 and persisted for 18 months within the two northern basins of St Lucia (False Bay and North Lake). This was the first recorded bloom of this genus globally.
Prof Sehaam Khan's research group at CPUT is seekeing assistance from the SASM community for a Sf9 Cell Line from Spodoptera frugiperda.
They are having difficulty sourcing SF9 cells from major suppliers in South Africa due to a change in import licences. They would be grateful if someone could either point them in the direction of a local supplier or possibly donate a working adherent culture/or a frozen stock of SF 9 cell-line. Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.
Following the first call made earlier in 2014, we are now opening a further call to support students and post-doctoral fellows as part of the national Biocatalysis Initiative being funded by DST.
The first call had a good response rate and we were able to provide support to a total of 18 candidates from six different universities. During this second call we encourage those researchers that did not apply previously to participate.
Plant biomass-derived bioethanol is regarded as a leading alternative energy source in a fossil fuel dependent energy paradigm. Bioethanol functions as octane enhancer, and can be used to replace up to 15% of petrol. It also acts as a fuel oxygenate in petrol blends allowing more complete combustion and hence, decreased polluting emissions. The departments of Microbiology and Process Engineering at Stellenbosch University, through the South African Research Chair (SARChI) in Biofuels, are at the forefront of South African research to address the shortcomings of plant polysaccharide conversion to bioethanol. Strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae were engineered to simultaneously hydrolyse plant materials (cellulose and raw starch) and ferment the resulting monosaccharides through the development of enabling technologies such as advanced plant polysaccharides pretreatment and advanced Consolidated Bioprocessing (CBP). Simplification and cost-reduction of the hydrolysis-fermentation process can be further achieved by integrating superior enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation with more robust yeast into a single unit operation. To achieve this, supportive bioinformatics research dedicated to solving current problems in bioethanol biotechnology, specifically improved industrial performance of yeast strains and improved catalytic efficiency of enzyme hydrolysis, remain key.
The Bacterial Genomics and Host Pathogen Interactions group is based at the University of Pretoria, Forestry, Agriculture and Biotechnology Institute. Our research focuses on the interaction on potato plant interactions with one of their major bacteria pathogens Soft Rot Enterobacteriaceae (SRE). To understand these interactions we use genomics, transcriptomics, and other ‘omics’ to identify bacterial virulence factors as well as elucidate host defence mechanisms being targeted by these virulence factors. The following projects are currently available in the research group.
The The International Committee on Food Microbiology and Hygiene (ICFMH) Mobility Grants initiative is aimed to promote the mobility of young researchers between research institutions which are active in the field of food microbiology and hygiene.
PLANT BIOTECHNOLOGY LABORATORY, SCHOOL OF MOLECULAR AND CELL BIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF THE WITWATERSRAND
START DATE: 2015 (AS SOON AS POSSIBLE)
REQUIREMENTS: Both student positions require the appropriate qualifications and should preferably be South African permanent residents or citizens. The background required to do this project would be microbiology (preferably some plant virology); molecular biology; some plant background and some knowledge and practice of general plant transformation and tissue culture. Some basic bioinformatics is also required.
The successful candidate will join the Microbiology Subject Group of the Environmental Science and Management Research Unit at the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University to contribute towards applications of Next-Generation Sequencing (microbial metagenomics, annotation of small genomes, transcriptome assemblies) in Microbiology or related biological field.
LECTURER/SENIOR LECTURER/ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR/PROFESSOR IN THE DEPARTMENT OF MICROBIOLOGY AND BIOCHEMISTRY
CONTRACT UNTIL: 31/12/2018
Two MSc and 1 PhD projects are available for 2015, which will focus on Drug Discovery from Marine and Plant Natural Products in the Discipline Microbiology, University of KwaZulu-Natal.