From wine grape protoplasts to wheat genes – changing gears after a very successful study

In January 2021, Ms Shannon Derman will join CenGen as part of the wheat gene cloning team. Shannon recently completed her master’s degree at Stellenbosch University under the supervision of Prof Melané Vivier at the Institute for Wine Biotechnology (IWBT).

During the course of her project, “Protoplast-based biotechnology methods for Vitis vinifera”, she gained valuable experience in designing and optimising protocols, and in critically evaluating the success thereof. She will graduate cum laude at the virtual graduation ceremony in December 2020. We’re very proud of Shannon for persevering and finishing up her thesis in such good form, especially in this demanding year.  

We are making great strides in cloning the first wheat rust resistance genes in a South African cultivar under the excellent leadership of Prof Simon Krattinger’s group at KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia) and in collaboration with Dr Willem Boshoff at the University of the Free State. With Renée’s affiliation with Stellenbosch University it seems fitting to be able to give a recently graduated alumnus an opportunity to join this dynamic team.

Ms Shannon Derman