Skip to main content

Peter Mavindidze

Research Postgraduate (PhD)

Research Postgraduate (PhD) in the Department of Biosciences


I am a PhD student in the Chivasa Lab doing research to understand drought stress adaptation. This builds on my strong background in plant breeding; I previously developed and released two wheat cultivars with combined drought and rust tolerance. This previous research gave rise to 3 publications (see list below). In departure from the classical approach of focusing on plant genetics to understand adaptive responses to drought stress, my PhD project takes an ecosystem approach. Plants are in close contact and communicate with the soil microbiome at the rhizosphere interface. This has given rise to many symbiotic interactions known to promote plant health and growth. In this project, we seek to understand how drought stress affects plants with and without the soil microbiome. Our hypothesis is that naturally drought-tolerant crops overcome the limits of their genome by enlisting the soil microbiome to survive drought. The project will identify key microbial species with a central role in drought adaptation and investigate the molecular signalling underpinning the plant-microbe interactions. This research will generate fundamental knowledge on how nature has solved the drought problem, with translational relevance to agriculture. 

1. Peter Mavindidze, Bruce Mutari, Dumisani Kutywayo & Busiso Mavankeni (2023). Registration of Runde spring wheat cultivar. Journal of Plant registrations. DOI: 10.1002/plr2.20183
2. Peter Mavindidze, Tinashe Mafandizvo, Edmore Gasura, Casper Kamtando, Dumisani Kutywayo & Busiso O. Mavankeni (2020). Progress check of yielding ability and stability of selected pre-lease bread wheat cultivars in Zimbabwe. Journal of Crop Science and Biotechnology. DOI 10.1007/s12892-020-00041-w
3. Bruce Mutari, Sripada M Udupa, Peter Mavindidze & Charles S Mutengwa (2018): Detection of rust resistance in selected Zimbabwean and ICARDA bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) germplasm using conventional and molecular techniques, South African Journal of Plant and Soil. DOI: 10.1080/02571862.2017.1336260