Anita Severn-Ellis

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Biography

Anita commenced her career at the Banana Plant Improvement Unit (BPIU) in Nelspruit, South Africa in 1996. At BIP she was involved in applied research aimed at the micro propagation, mutation breeding and genotyping of banana cultivars with emphasis on Fusarium wilt resistance. She continued her work on Fusarium wilt resistance at the Agricultural Research Council’s Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Crops (ARC-ITSC) where she also successfully developed and patented molecular markers to distinguish between citrus mealy bug species. In 2002, Anita co-founded the Timbali Technology Incubator which promoted agribusiness development by facilitating the creation of an enabling environment whereby agri-SMMEs are able to deliver a repetitive, predictable service/product. The Incubator has received various national and international accolades since. In 2009, Anita returned to a senior research role at the ARC-ITSC during which time, her research focused on the use and development of genomic tools and molecular marker technology to address plant improvement, genotyping and protection requirements. Anita relocated to Australia in 2014 to take up her current position with the Batley Lab at the University of Western Australia.

Research Interests

Plant host-pathogen interactions, Identification of resistance and avirulence genes, Genotyping and Genomics of plants, insects and fungi

Current Projects

• Plant and pathogen genome sequence analysis

• Development and evaluation of molecular marker systems from next generation sequencing data

• Development and implementation of methods to analyse genetic and genomic data for genetic diversity

• Population and evolutionary genetics of Brassica spp., plant pathogen interactions and the molecular characterisation of agronomic traits.

Occupational experience

1. 2009-20014 Senior Researcher - Plant Improvement-Biotechnology Agricultural Research Council’s Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Crops

2. 2002-2009 Senior Researcher at the ARC_ITSC seconded to the Timbali Technology Incubator

3. 1996-2002 Researcher - Plant Improvement-Biotechnology Agricultural Research Council’s Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Crops (ARC-ITSC)

4. 1992-1996 Researcher at the Banana Plant Improvement Unit of the Banana Growers’ Association, Nelspruit, South Africa.

Achievements and Awards

1. Member of the Board of Directors for the Timbali Technology Incubator 2007-2009, Vice Chair of the Timbali Technology Incubator Board of Directors 2010-2011.

2. Timbali Technology Incubator received DTI Technology Award for ‘Best Incubator’ & was runner up in the section ‘Incubator with Largest Impact on the Local Economy’, 2008.

3. Timbali Technology Incubator received DTI Technology Award for ‘Incubator with Largest Impact on the Local Economy’ and was runner-up in the section ‘Best Technology Incubator’, 2007

4. Technology Top 100 Award for Social Innovation received by the Timbali Technology Incubator from the Department of Science and Technology, 2005.

5. Runner-up - Best presentation at the 7th Citrus Research Symposium, 19-23 August 2012. Titled: Establishment of a molecular genotype reference database for mandarin cultivar verification.

6. The Du Toit Group’s Award for the best oral presentation at the Ninth Congress of the Southern African Society for Horticultural Sciences, Nelspruit 17-19 July 2000. Titled: The use of Bacillus spp. to enhance cutting and tissue culture plant growth.

Patent

Detection and identification of citrus mealy bug species

Country: South Africa – Complete

Dmk Ref: P15698zaco

Patent No: 2000/2694 (South Africa)

Patent Application No: 2000/2694 (South Africa)

Patent Application Date: 30/05/2000

Priority Date & Number: 28/04/1999; 99/2969 (South Africa)

Currently Recorded Applicant: Capespan (Pty) Ltd

Inventors: Hattingh, Vaughan & Severn-Ellis, Anita

Publications

Golicz, A.A. Bayer P.E., Barker G.C., Edger P.P., Kim H., Martinez P.A., Chan C.K.K, Severn-Ellis A.A., McCombie W.R., Parkin I.A.P., Paterson A.H., Pires C.J., Sharpe A.G., Tang H.,Teakle G.R., Town C.D., Jacqueline Batley J. & Edwards D., 2016. The pangenome of an agronomically important crop plant Brassica oleracea. Nature Communications DOI: 10.1038/ncomms13390

Smith M.K., Hamill S.D., Gogel B.J. & Severn-Ellis A.A., 2005. Ginger (Zingiber officiale) autotetraploids with improved processing quality produced by an in vitro colchicne treatment. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 44: 1065-1072.

Severn-Ellis A.A., Daneel M.S., de Jager K. & de Waele D., 2003. Development of an aeroponic system to study the response of banana roots to infection with Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense and Radopholus similis. InfoMusa, 12: 22-24.

Severn-Ellis A.A., 2001. Enhancement of tissue-cultured banana plant and root growth with Bacillus spp. in banana fusarium wilt management: Towards sustainable cultivation. ed. By AB Molina, N.H. Masdek, K.W. Liew, INIBAP-ASPNET, Los Banos, 2001 p. 275-281.

De Beer Z.C., Severn-Ellis A.A. and Husselman J.S., 2001. Preliminary assessment of Cavendish banana clones in South Africa for resistance/tolerance to Fusarium wilt. In Banana Fusarium wilt management: Towards sustainable cultivation. ed. By AB Molina, N.H. Masdek, K.W. Liew, INIBAP-ASPNET, Los Banos, 2001 p. 194-200.

Conference proceedings and presentations

Severn Ellis A.A, Sippel A.D., Combrink N.K., Dlamini Z.N. & Manicom B.Q., 2013. Establishment of a molecular genotype reference database for mandarin cultivar verification. Proceedings of the 2nd All African Horticulture Conference, January 2012, Sukuza Kruger National Park. Eds. Hannweg K. and Penter M. Acta Hort 1007: 753-756

Severn-Ellis A.A, Schoeman M., S. Willemse S. & Sippel A.,2013. Isolation and characterization of resistant gene analogues from guava. Proceedings of the 2nd All African Horticulture Conference, January 2012, Sukuza. Kruger National Park. Eds. Hannweg K. and Penter M. Acta Hort 1007: 699-707.

Severn-Ellis A.A., Schoeman M., Willemse S., Sippel A., Rees, J. and M. de Castro, 2012 Towards guava wilt disease resistance in South Africa. Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Guava and other Myrtacea, April 2012, Petrolina, Brazil. Acta Hort. 959 :73-80.

Visser A.A., 2000. Characterisation of banana and plantain using random amplified DNA markers. In Proceedings of the First International Conference on banana and plantain for Africa, 14-18 Oct 1996, Kampala, Uganda. Acta Hort. 540:113-125.

Schutte, G. C., Visser A.A., M. C. Oosthuizen and J. M. Kotzé (1996). The use of random amplified polymorphic DNA markers for the detection of genetic diversity in Phyllosticta citricarpa. International Citrus Congress (8th : 1996 : Sun City, South Africa), Sun City, South Africa, International Society of Citriculture. 1: 373-378.

Z.C. de Beer and Visser A.A., 1994. Mutation breeding of bananas in South Africa. In: The Improvement and Testing of Musa : A Global Partnership. Ed. D.R. Jones.

Visser A.A. and T.C. Schutte, 1996. Genetic characterisation of Phylosticta citricarpa isolates with Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) amplification. The 8th Congress of the International Society for Citriculture, Sun City, South Africa, 1996.

Visser A.A., 1996. Characterisation of banana and plantain using Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA markers. Presentation at the First International Congress for Banana and Plantain for Africa, Kampala, Uganda, 1996.

Visser A.A., 1994. Presentation at the Regional Advisory Committee Meeting for Banana Research for Eastern and Southern Africa in Uganda, 1994. Titled: Breeding of banana in South Africa (Country report).

Z.C. de Beer and Visser A.A., 1992. Resistance in Taiwan banana clones to Fusarium wilt in the Republic of South Africa. Breeding Banana and Plantain for Resistance to Diseases and Pests. The International Symposium on Genetic Improvement of Bananas for Resistance to Diseases and Pests, Montpellier, France, 1992.

A.A. Severn-Ellis, 1998. Enhancement of banana tissue culture plant and root growth with micro-organisms. IX International Congress on Plant Tissue and cell culture, Jerusalem, Israel, June 14 - 19, 1998.

A.A. Severn-Ellis, 1998. Application of biotechnology for the improvement of banana cultivars in South Africa. IX International Congress on Plant Tissue and cell culture, Jerusalem, Israel, June 14 - 19, 1998.

A.A. Severn-Ellis and V. Hattingh, 1998. Molecular identification of mealybug species of citrus. First International Citrus Biotechnology Symposium, Eilat, Israel, November 29 to December 3, 1998.

A.A. Severn-Ellis, G.C. Schutte and C. Roux, 1998. Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA (RAPD) Markers for the detection of genetic diversity in Phylosticta citricarpa. First International Citrus Biotechnology Symposium, Eilat, Israel, November 29 to December 3, 1998.

A.A. Severn-Ellis, 1999. Enhancement of banana plant and root growth in microbes. Banana Fusarium wilt management towards sustainable cultivation, Genting Highlands resort, Malaysia 18 – 20 October 1999.

Z.C de Beer, Severn-Ellis A.A. and Husselman J.S., 1999. Preliminary assessment of Cavendish banana clones in South Africa for resistance/tolerance to Fusarium wilt. Genting Highlands resort, Malaysia 18 – 20 October 1999.

A.A. Severn-Ellis and Hannweg K.F., 2000. The use of Bacillus spp. to enhance cutting and tissue culture plant growth. Horticulture in the new millenium. Ninth Congress of the Southern African Society for Horticultural Sciences, Nelspruit 17-19 July 2000.

A.A. Severn-Ellis, 2000. Application of biotechnology for the improvement of banana cultivars in South Africa. Horticulture in the new millenium. Ninth Congress of the Southern African Society for Horticultural Sciences, Nelspruit 17-19 July 2000.

A.A. Severn-Ellis, 2000. Enhancement of banana tissue culture plant and root growth with micro-organisms. Horticulture in the new millenium. Ninth Congress of the Southern African Society for Horticultural Sciences, Nelspruit, 17-19 July 2000.

A.A. Severn-Ellis, 2000. Development of an aeroponic system to study the host pathogen relationship of Fusarium wilt of banana. Thirty ninth SASPP Congress, Greenway Woods, Nelspruit, South Africa 21-24 January 2001.

A.A. Severn-Ellis, M. Schoeman, S. Willemse. 2009 Use of SSR markers to distinguish between guava selections susceptible and resistant to guava wilt disease. Tropical Crop Biotechnology Conference, 22-25 July 2009, Hazyview, South Africa.

A.A. Severn-Ellis, M. Schoeman, S. Willemse & A. Sippel. 2010 Development of a standard set of microsatellite markers for the identification of guava cultivars and selections. Combined Congress 18-21 January 2010, Bloemfontein.

A.A. Severn-Ellis, M. Schoeman, S. Willemse & A. Sippel, 2011. Isolation of resistant gene analogues from guava. SASPP (South African Society of Plant Pathologists) Congress, 23-26 January, 2011, Kruger National Park.

A.A. Severn-Ellis, M. Schoeman, S. Willemse & A. Sippel, 2012. Isolation and characterization of resistant gene analogues from guava. 2nd All African Horticulture Conference, January 2012, Sukuza. Kruger National Park

A.A. Severn Ellis, Sippel A.D., Combrink N.K., Dlamini Z.N. & Manicom B.Q., 2012. Establishment of a molecular genotype reference database for mandarin cultivar verification. 2nd All African Horticulture Conference, January 2012, Sukuza. Kruger National Park

A.A. Severn-Ellis A.A., Schoeman M., S. Willemse S., Sippel A., Rees, J. and M. de Castro, 2012 Towards guava wilt disease resistance in South Africa 3rd International Conference on Guava And other Myrtacea, April 2012, Petrolina, Brazil.

A.A. Severn-Ellis A.A., Froneman I., Penter M., Nonyane D., Sippel A.D, Cook G. and Maqutu V.Z.Z., 2014. Development of genotype reference databases for cultivar verification and genetic diversity analysis for tropical and subtropical crops. Combined Conference 20-23 January 2014, Grahams Town, South Africa.

Fabian C. Inturrisi, Soodeh Tirnaz, Philipp E. Bayer, Ting Xiang Neik, Hua Yang, Aria Dolatabadian, Fangning Zhang, Anita Severn-Ellis, Dhwani A. Patel, Aneeta Pradhan, HueyTyng Lee, David Edwards and Jacqueline Batley. Genome-Wide Analysis of NBS-LRR Genes in the Brassicaceae and Applications for Breeding. PAG XXVI. 2018.

Ting Xiang Neik, Martin J. Barbetti, Philipp E. Bayer, Chon-Kit Kenneth Chan, Anita Severn-Ellis, David Edwards and Jacqueline Batley. Comparative Genome Analysis of Blackleg Resistant and Susceptible Genes in Brassica napus using Whole Genome ReSequencing. PAG XXVI. 2018.

Contact Details

Anita Severn-Ellis (Research Officer)

Central Demountable

School of Plant Biology/ Biological Sciences

University of Western Australia

Crawley, 6009

WA

Ph: 08 6488 7736

Email: anita.severn-ellis@uwa.edu.au

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