Sibiya - Plant Breeding - Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Julia Sibiya

Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Services

Plant Breeding

Summary:

Currently lecturing at the African Centre for Crop Improvement, University of KwaZulu-Natal – Teaching & research in plant breeding,
Competent in Experimental designs and field layouts (ά-lattice, row-column, balanced & unbalanced lattice, CRD, RCBD, Latin squares, factorial, nested split-plot designs), analysis of plant breeding trials, GxE E analysis (AMMI, GGE biplots, rank analysis & regression coefficients. Student supervision (PhD)
Computer skills: Computer software (MS word, MS Excel, MS Power Point, MS Project),
Statistical packages: Minitab, Genstat, SAS, Cyc Design, SPSS, and CropStat.

Work History

Lecturer

in ACCI, UKZN - Post graduate training and supervision of plant breeders towards PhD degrees. Teaching (special topics in plant breeding) and Scientific
communication.

Post doctoral fellow

in ACCI, UKZN - Assisting PhD students with their proposal
writing, literature reviews, oral presentations. Edit PhD students' theses and write
research articles for publications.

Plant Breeding

Post graduate research (PhD studies) - Plant Breeding.

Rockefeller Foundation

fellowship through the African Centre for Crop Improvement (ACCI) for Doctor of Philosophy degree at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) 2005-2009.

Academic Awards
Certificate of merit for being outstanding in each of the courses undertaken during PhD studies at the
University of KwaZulu-Natal, ACCI department:
Awarded a prize by ACCI for being the top student in each of these courses and overall in my cohort

2
(2005).

Zimbabwe - Rockefeller Foundation Forum

October 2001 - March 2004

Management and epidemiology of bean seed-borne pathogens in the smallholder farming
sector - Rockefeller Foundation Forum (September 2002-August 2004).

Danish Government Institute of Seed Pathology

(DGISP) for Developing Countries grant for field research project in seed bacteriology (1997-2000).
• Research Grant from Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development

CIIFAD

Research Grant from the University of Zimbabwe Research Board for study of Maize dwarf
mosaic virus (MDMV) disease in maize (1998-1999).
• DANIDA fellowship for training in seed pathology in Denmark (January-August, 2001).
• Agronomic studies on dry land paprika production in smallholder farming sector of

Lecturer in plant pathology, Crop Science Dept

University of Zimbabwe

(UZ).
Responsibilities: Teaching, Research and Community service, student counselling, internal
examiner for theses, Advisory plant pathology on a wide range of crops (Plant diagnostic
clinic). Student supervision of research projects (BSc, MSc and MPhil). Supervision of support staff (technicians).

Research assistant

Rockefeller Foundation

funded maize virus project. UZ
1990-1992: Post graduate studies in plant pathology (plant virology) (MSc studies)

1

Rockefeller Foundation Research

Research/Teaching assistant

Plant Pathology and Crop Production

UZ

Student internship

International Maize

Plant breeding research assistant at the International Maize and
Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), Harare. Zimbabwe.

Research Involvements
• Generation means to estimate genetic parameters and an investigation of maternal inheritance for Phaeosphaeria leaf spot (PLS) disease resistance and grain yield in maize (Zea mays L.).
Competitive Research Grant (UKZN Research Office)
• Breeding investigations for resistance to Phaeosphaeria leaf spot (PLS) and other important
foliar diseases and a study of yield stability in African maize germplasm (PhD research).
• Development of unique maize source germplasm for African Ecosystems (AGRA funded),
collaborating with Prof. J. Derera, ACCI.
• Improvement of African germplasm by introgressing temperate genes to enhance nutritional
quality and adaptability to climate change. (FAO/Global Partnership Initiative for Plant
Breeding Capacity (GIPB), Global Crop diversity Trust. Collaborating with Prof. J. Derera,
ACCI.
• Foliar and seed-borne diseases of paprika, beans, tomatoes, soyabeans (fungal & bacterial) in the smallholder farming sector, particularly in irrigation and resettlement schemes of
Zimbabwe - identification and management strategies.
• Maize viruses in Zimbabwe - Identification, characterization and control.
• Grey Leaf spot (Cercospora zeae-maydis) disease of maize - testing the efficacy of different
fungicides.
• Bacterial diseases of tobacco, identification of protea diseases and control of slime mold and fairy rings in turfgrass.
• Treatment of soil borne pathogens using solarisation technique.
• Serological differentiation of maize-infecting maize streak virus (MSV) isolates from different locations in Africa and epitope characterization of the MSV coat protein (MSc.
Research).
Special Grants and Awards
• Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship for a Master of Science degree at the Ohio State
University (1990-1992).

Projects

Breeding projects

Also involved in the following breeding projects with Prof. John Derera at UKZN
• Development of unique maize source germplasm for African Ecosystems (AGRA funded),
• Improvement of African germplasm by introgressing temperate genes to enhance nutritional quality and adaptability to climate change. (FAO/Global Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity (GIPB), Global Crop diversity Trust.

Disease identification and control

A number of projects have been carried out and are listed below:
• Foliar and seed-borne diseases of paprika, beans, tomatoes, soybeans in SH farming sector of Zimbabwe – identification and management strategies.
• Maize viruses in Zimbabwe - Identification, characterization and control.
• Grey Leaf spot (Cercospora zeae-maydis) disease of maize – fungicide efficacy.
• Bacterial diseases of tobacco, protea diseases and control of slime mold and fairy rings in turf grass.
• Treatment of soil borne pathogens using solarisation technique.
• Serological differentiation of maize-infecting MSV isolates from different locations in Africa and epitope characterization of the MSV coat protein (MS thesis

Breeding for resistance to Phaeosphaeria leaf spot (PLS) and other important foliar diseases & yield


Maize (Zea mays L.) yields in the smallholder (SH) farming sector in Southern Africa have remained low, despite the availability of many improved varieties. Among the major constraints contributing to low yields and threatening food security in the region are diseases which include grey leaf spot (GLS), common rust, northern corn leaf blight (NLB) and Phaeosphaeria leaf spot (PLS). These diseases are highly unpredictable in their occurrence every season, making them difficult to control. In addition, the majority of SH farmers cannot afford to control the diseases due to limited access to chemicals. Therefore, maize cultivars with high levels of disease resistance and tolerance to abiotic stresses would provide a long-term solution to addressing the problem of low yields, especially in the smallholder-farming sector. The objectives of this study were therefore to: i) establish farmers’ perceptions on diseases, key limiting production constraints and preferred traits of maize cultivars, ii) screen germplasm adapted to tropical environments for resistance to PLS, iii) determine gene action for resistance to PLS and GLS, iv) estimate combining ability effects for resistance to PLS, GLS, NLB and common rust diseases, and v) determine grain yield stability of F1 hybrids derived from crosses among selected tropical advanced maize inbred lines. These studies were conducted from 2006/7 to 2008/9 seasons at various sites in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Uganda.

In general, the study revealed that based on the farmers ranking of the constraints in their area, breeding opportunities do exist for incorporating tolerance to both biotic and abiotic stresses in their varieties. It also identified maize lines resistant to the main foliar diseases, with good combining ability and heterosis for resistance and high grain yield. Hybrids with wide adaptation and high yields across environments were also observed. The experimental hybrids that exhibited high levels of resistance can be recommended for further testing and release. On the whole, highly significant additive effects and moderate to high heritability estimates observed for all the diseases and grain yield implied progress would be made through selection, although significant epistasis and dominance could slow progress. Dominance effects towards resistance and high yield could be exploited in developing single cross maize hybrids among these inbreds when only one parent is resistant.

Qualifications & Certifications

Plant Breeding

University of KwaZulu

Plant Pathology

Ohio State University

University of Zimbabwe

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