Letitia and Gugu arrive at an exciting time!

Two new members join EucXylo, and the work is going full steam ahead!

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Letitia Schoeman, who has joined the EucXylo team as a postdoc in February 2021. Letitia comes from a food science and horticultural background, having previously been appointed as a postdoc at the Department of Horticultural Sciences, where her research focus was based on using X-ray micro- and nano-CT to characterise and quantify mealiness disorder in pears. She has an interest and passion for using non-destructive techniques, such as X-ray CT, to perform microstructural analyses. Letitia’s research will focus on employing non-destructive approaches to characterise and quantify developmental processes in differentiating xylem in eucalypts. She is an avid baker, who also enjoys camping and playing tennis.

Letitia with one of our little eucs by the nano-CT instrument

We are also pleased to welcome our fourth Ph.D. student, Ms Gugu Gama to the EucXylo team, who has also joined us in February 2021. Gugu has just completed her M.Sc. in plant anatomy and molecular systematics and plant evolution, thus having a strong background in wood and bark anatomy, particularly in lianescent species that show uncommon cambial variance in the genus Grewia. Gugu is still finalising her Ph.D. topic, but the first facet of her study will be to investigate the relationship between growth and climate in Eucalyptus cladocalyx.

Gugu with a healthy crop of young eucs in our Nursery

While we are pleased to have gained two valuable members, the arrival of Letitia and Gugu has also come at an exciting time in EucXylo. Our phenomenological trial in the nursery is in full swing, with it being expected that all the sensors (dendrometers, soil moisture probes, sap flow sensors etc) will be installed within the next two weeks. Additionally, Letitia and Gugu’s arrival couldn’t have happened at a better time, as both our laboratories are now refurbished and our microscope room is almost ready for use. We’ve seen a steady influx of data from our current students, as Alta, Chris and Raf have been busy with their experiments, while Gabi has handed in her M.Sc. thesis and Oluwaseun has made some considerable progress with R-3PG. Overall, it seems that 2021 is going to be an exciting and productive year for EucXylo.

Welcome to the team Letitia and Gugu, and happy 2021 to all our followers out there!

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