RSSAf Fellow Brenda Wingfield honoured

Apr 08, 2015 No Comments by

Prof Brenda Wingfield, received the Christiaan Hendrik Persoon medal of the Southern African Society for Plant Pathology (SASPP) in January this year. The gold medal is the highest award allocated by the SASPP and it is only the sixth time that the award has been made in 53 years. Wingfield is also the first female member of the SASPP to receive this honour. Wingfield received the award in recognition of her outstanding contributions to plant pathology.

The award honours famous mycologist Christiaan Hendrik Persoon (1761−1836) who was born in the Cape Province of South Africa and sent to Europe at the age of 13 to pursue his education. He was later recognised as one of the ‘fathers’ of mycology. World-renowned epidemiologist and member of the SASPP, Dr J E van der Plank was the first person to be awarded the Persoon medal in 1979. Subsequent recipients include Prof W F O Marasas (1987), Prof M J Wingfield (1999), Prof P W Crous (2005) and Prof Z A Pretorius (2009).

Brenda Wingfield is a Professor in the Department of Genetics at the University of Pretoria. Her research over the past 20 years focused on the global movement and evolution of fungal pathogens – particularly those on trees. She was involved in developing tools to study the phylogenetic relationships among tree pathogens. In recent years, she expanded her research focus to study fungi at the population level and developed the molecular tools to make this possible. She received the Achiever award for excellence of the University of Pretoria for ten consecutive years and is one of only a few South African scientists who holds an A-rating (the highest) from the National Research Foundation of South Africa. Significant awards for research include the Women in Water, Sanitation and Forestry award in 2007, the South African Department of Science and Technology’s Distinguished Women in Science award in 2008, and the National Science and Technology Forum of South Africa’s award for Mentorship and Human Capacity Development in 2014.

Information received from ASSAf

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