Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 

Waikato student awarded Zespri fellowship for Psa research

16 June, 2014

Waikato student awarded Zespri fellowship for Psa research

University of Waikato PhD candidate Rasika Subasinghe has been awarded a Zespri Innovation Fellowship for her research into the host cell wall degrading strategies of the Psa bacteria in kiwifruit.

Each year, as part of their efforts to encourage continued research into the kiwifruit industry, the Zespri Innovation Fellowship group identify key topics in areas where there is a specific need for research. This year topics included Psa, fruit quality and supply chain, on orchard productivity and health and nutrition.

Host cell wall degrading strategies of Psa in kiwifruit

“The goals of my research are to determine whether and how Psa degrades the host’s cell walls, how the pathogen moves within the host’s tissues, and ultimately, how Psa causes tissue wilt and cane die back. These goals will be achieved using a range of plant physiology, microbiology, molecular biology, bioinformatics and histological techniques, thus, building capability and research into the New Zealand kiwifruit industry,” says Rasika.

Studies conducted to investigate the actual invasion strategies and mobility of the Psa pathogen in the host plant remains inconclusive. “However the outcome of the research conducted into the host cell wall degrading activity and invasion strategies of a number of other pathogens, and also histological analysis of Psa infected host plants, shed some light on the possible cell wall degrading mechanism of the pathogen.”

From Sri Lanka to Hamilton

Before studying at Waikato University, Rasika worked at the University of Kelaniya in Sri Lanka. She has also worked as a researcher at the Postharvest Technology Unit of Industrial Technology Institute of Sri Lanka and at the Chamber of Industries of Sri Lanka as an Executive for the Agriculture and Horticulture sector.

Why Waikato?

When considering a suitable university, Rasika’s main consideration was the research expertise of the faculty and the degree of relevance of such expertise to her intended project.

“My research project required expertise in a number of areas such as plant physiology, microbiology, molecular biology and biochemistry. At Waikato University I was able to identify potential supervisors with expertise and track record in all of these disciplines.”

She says that the University of Waikato’s approach and the way the entire PhD enrolment process was handled was great, especially where her supervisor Dr Michael Clearwater was concerned and this gave her confidence that she had “found an excellent university”.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
IHC Tribute: Colin Meads

"While Colin is best known for rugby, to us he is one of a small number of distinguished IHC New Zealand Life Members recognised for their significant support for people with intellectual disabilities," says IHC Chief Executive Ralph Jones. More>>

ALSO:

Howard Davis Review: Tilting at Turbines - The Trip to Spain

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon have now both broken the Big Fifty barrier, which seems to have brought a whole new level of angst to their midlife adventures ... More>>

Review: A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet

The Royal New Zealand Ballet has accepted the challenge of this heart-touching tragedy and largely succeeded. More>>

ALSO:

NZ's First Male IAAF Gold: Tom Walsh's Historic Shot Put Victory

Although feeling very sore but with a great feeling Tom Walsh took his place as number one on the victory dais to receive his much deserved gold medal. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Q&A: Hard To Find Books

"Unfortunately we are in crisis and this friendly dinosaur faces extinction… Our only hope is to try and raise funds to buy the building and restore it to its glory, either fully funded or with a viable deposit." More>>

Kid Lit: Lost Mansfield Story Discovered At Wellington Library

Previously undiscovered letters and a story written by a young Katherine Mansfield were recently unearthed in Wellington City Library’s archives by a local author researching a book about the famous writer. More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland