Dr Thulani Makhalanyane


Deputy Director, Centre for Microbial Ecology and Genomics

Lecturer, Department of Genetics


Contact details:

Email: [email protected]

Telephone (w):  +27 (0)12 420 6976


Short Biography

Thulani Peter Makhalanyane was educated at the North West University (Mafikeng Campus), where he completed a BSc (Hons) degree in Microbiology. He then moved to the University of the Western Cape to begin microbial ecology research, earning both an MSc degree at the Institute for Microbial Ecology and Genomics in the Department of Biotechnology (obtained cum laude, 2010) and PhD (2013).

Dr Makhalanyane is a lecturer in the Department of Genetics. His lectures to third-year students are in the fields of phylogenetics and microbial ecology. He also serves as a Young Ambassador for the International Society for Microbial Ecology (ISME), Reviews Editor for Frontiers in Microbiology and currently Guest Associate Editor for the Terrestrial Microbiology section. Dr Makhalanyane has been nominated and selected as a finalist for the prestigious NSTF Awards as an Emerging Researcher.


Webpage: www.up.ac.za/cmeg


GRI-related research

Thulani Makhalanyane’s research is in the field of metagenomics, with a focus on understanding the ecology of microbial communities in extreme environments. These habitats include soil microbial communities in the Antarctic Dry Valleys and the Namib Desert, and marine microbial communities in the Southern Ocean.


Key Publications


  • Makhalanyane, T.P., Valverde, A., Lacap, D.C., Pointing, S.B., Tuffin, I.M., and D.A Cowan (2013). Evidence of species recruitment and development of hot desert hypolithic communities. Environmental Microbiology Reports. 5 (2), 219-224.
  • Makhalanyane, T.P., Valverde, A., Birkeland, N-K, Cary, S.C., Tuffin, I.M., and D.A. Cowan (2013). Evidence for successional development in Antarctic hypolithic bacterial communities. The ISME Journal. 7, 2080-2090.
  • Makhalanyane, T.P., Valverde, A., Gunnigle, E., Frossard, A., Ramond, J-B, Cowan D.A. 2015. Microbial Ecology of hot desert edaphic systems. FEMS Microbiology Reviews.

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