Main Focus

My research focuses on how intracellular tyrosine-supplementing symbionts mediate life history traits and ecological interactions in grain pest beetles. Using behavioural, molecular and chemical approaches, I try to unravel symbiont contribution to protection against desiccation, predators and pathogens. I further try to establish how generalised symbiont-mediated tyrosine supplementation is across diverse beetles that engage in different kinds of symbioses.

Curriculum Vitae


2017 - 2018:   Master of Science (MSc). University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

CJ Van Der Horst Prize for outstanding postgraduate research in Zoology

Thesis: The behavioural ecology of bachelor groups in the African striped mouse, Rhabdomys pumilio.

2016:   Bachelor of Science Honours (BSc Hons). University of the Free State, South Africa 

 Thesis: The effects of biochar on the toxicity of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) to the annelid species: Enchytraeus albidus.

2013 - 2015 Bachelor of Science (BSc).  University of the Free State, South Africa

Prize for best undergraduate student in the faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.


2021 - 2024 Honorary Research Associate - University of the Witwatersrand

2018 - 2019 Laboratory Technician - Durban University of Technology

2017 - 2018 Laboratory and teaching assistant - University of the Witwatersrand

2018             Chief examinations invigilator - University of the Witwatersrand

2015 - 2016 Tutor and Teaching Assistant - University of the Free State


2023: IMPRS presentation award for best talk at the 22nd IMPRS Symposium: "Inhibition of the shikimate pathway by glyphosate disrupts the stability of symbiosis and impairs host fitness across diverse grain pest beetles"

2023: Best Poster Presentation at the Gordon Research Seminar (Animal-Microbe Symbioses) in Lucca, Italy: Inhibition of the shikimate pathway by glyphosate disrupts the stability of symbiosis and impairs host fitness in diverse grain pest beetles

2022: Best Oral Presentation at the 10th International Symbiosis Society Congress "Symbiosis in the Anthropocene Era": Cuticle enhancing symbionts for a durable and waterproof armour: how nutritional symbionts enhance protection against natural enemies and desiccation in grain pest beetles

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