Mr. Pipob Suwanchaikasem (2019-2023)
I am studying on plant-microbe interactions between industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa) and pathogenic fungi including Sclerotium rolfsii, Fusarium sp., and Pythium sp. A new plant-growing system, called EcoFAB, is being developed to facilitate such a complicated study. Profiling techniques of metabolomics and proteomics have been applied to reveal biological pathways and immune activities that plant uses to counteract fungal invasion. Besides, imaging tools of mass spectrometry imaging and confocal microscope will be incorporated to get insight into the interactions.
Ms. Lisa Mau (2019-2023)
In my PhD project we bring together unicellular algae with wheat roots. Algal biomass contains nutrients, but unlike mineral fertilizer, in chemical forms that are not directly available to plants. We are using a mass-balance model to calculate phosphorus release by algae and uptake by roots. Over time, we monitor phenotypical effects as well as the metabolic changes in the plant. We aim to discover P recycling strategies for sustainable agriculture.
Ms. Sibel Yildirim (2019-2023)
I have always been interested in interdisciplinary and innovative scientific topics. In my PhD studies at The University of Melbourne, I aim to synthesise next generation nitrification inhibitors to increase nitrogen uptake in plants and improve their growth and beneficial use. My secondment at Forschungszentrum Juelich in Germany will give me the chance to further explore my inhibitor’s effect on model plants.
Ms. Allene Macabuhay (2018-2022)
Investigating the phenotypic changes and biochemical mechanisms behind the plant root and beneficial soil bacterial interaction under heat stress is the focus of my PhD research. Advanced high-throughput shoot and root phenotyping platform will be utilized to closely monitor plant growth promotion through time and Lipidomics technology to resolve the mechanisms underlying the phenotypic dynamics of root membrane stabilization by PGPR under heat stress.
Mrs. Cheka Khelepannala (2018-2022)
Many plant lipids and their functions remain unknown due to their structural complexity and difficulties in identifying them. My project is aimed at developing a comprehensive analytical workflow to identify and quantify lipids from Arabidopsis thaliana using targeted and untargeted lipidomics approaches aimed at developing an open-source in-silico lipid map of Arabidopsis tissues across development. Thereby we will improve our understanding of lipid biosynthetic pathways in plant growth and development.
Mr. Federico Martinez Seidel (2019-2023)
I am on ribosome heterogeneity and how it is not a mere way to secure enough ribosomes but rather an intricate mechanism to craft specialized ribosomal populations at the onset of stress as an example. The most important hypothesis being that the sub-populations are functional, and that entails that these ribosomes are able to translate subsets of transcripts.
Mrs. Tannaz Zare (2018-2022)
During my PhD project I will be investigating the functional roles of the genes which are involved in the oil biosynthesis of the emerging superfood Chia seed. In order to address my research questions, why and how Chia is producing such high amounts of omega fatty acids, I will be using modern molecular and biochemical techniques to decipher the function of the genes involved in oil biosynthesis in Chia.
Mr. Stefan Sanow (2019-2023)
During my PhD, I will investigate the plant growth promotion of Pseudomonas koreensis on Brachypodium Dystachion under limiting nitrogen conditions. I will couple phenotyping and protein molecular measurements after inoculation with a time-series approach to identify the earliest responses, post-translational modifications and proteins on the root microsomal fraction. Putting these data in context with lipidomics, will give further insight in the mechanistic understanding of the plant-microbe interaction under limiting nitrogen.
Current Masters Student
Mr. Carl Otto Pille (2019-2020)
Investigation into soil bacteria’s ability to solubilize and mineralize phytic acid in metal cation rich soils.
Dr. Thusitha Rupasinghe
Dr. Berin Boughton
Recent PhD Graduates
Dr Martino Schillaci (2017-2021)
Martino studied the interaction between cereals and soil beneficial bacteria, and how it affects plant metabolism in suboptimal growing conditions. His project involved measurements such as plant phenotype, transcriptome and metabolome at various stages of the interaction with the bacteria, to investigate how they change with time in an environment characterised by low temperatures and phosphorus deficiency. After his PhD, Martino returned to his country, Italy and joined The National Research Council, Turin as a Postdoctoral researcher, studying PGP bacteria and their applications to agriculture.
Dr Bo Eng Cheong (2016-2020)
Bo Eng investigated the metabolomic traits of Australian wheat cultivars and the function of REIL proteins in Arabidopsis roots upon cold stress. REIL has been shown as a potential cold acclimation factor in yeast and Arabidopsis leaves. Lastly, she evaluated if the REIL homologs could be a potential cold acclimation factor in wheat. The information obtained from this study will be useful for the breeding of more cold-tolerant wheat cultivars in the future. After finishing her PhD, Bo Eng resumed her lectureship and continuing her research in the Biotechnology Research Institute, University of Malaysia Sabah.