Faculty of Science

Feeding the world

A selection of current projects in this research theme is listed here.

We welcome you to discuss other research project ideas with us. To do this:
Domestic students can contact the Graduate Research Coordinator at the School or Centre in which you wish to undertake research.
International students can use our online enquiry form, which helps us match your research interests with a potential supervisor.

Smoke alarm: Discovering new signalling compounds that operate in plants
Some chemicals released from smoke stimulate seed germination. Despite the fact that most plant species never experience fire, all plants have the genetic machinery to sense these chemicals. Why? We hypothesise that there are new compounds of biological origin with similar activity that are waiting to be discovered.
Exploiting chemical signals to boost plant performance
Combining molecular biology, traditional genetics and plant physiology, this project will investigate the function of a hormone-like signalling pathway that plants use to regulate seed germination and water use efficiency.
Improving decision making for crop pest biosecurity
In this project you will investigate what is the best response to new pest and disease threats to crop production systems.  These responses could include better border protection, surveillance or even crop varieties.
Climate change: What is the impact at the farm level?
You will investigate how a climate change may affect management processes of typical farm businesses in case study regions across Australia, by surveying farmers and developing farm-scale bio-economic models.
Secondary metabolite biosynthesis in plant pathogens
Using a combination of functional genomics and chemical/synthetic biology tools, this project aims to discover novel biological active compounds from fungal plant pathogens and investigate their roles in causing plant diseases.
Computational genomics: Understanding the genome
Using the latest computational tools and working with an expert team, you will analyse huge volumes of data, deciphering the genome to gain a greater understanding of plant genome evolution, diversity and help breed higher yielding climate resilient crops.
Geometric modelling of oxygen and water dynamics during dormancy in grapevine buds
Oxygen and water are fundamental substrates of life, yet the dormant state is hypoxic and dessicated. Why?
Subterranean clover genomic resources
This is a multi-agency, public and private sector project. It aims to develop a comprehensive pre-breeding research and development plan for annual legumes, to improve the profitability and sustainability of red meat production in Australia.
Revisiting Mendel's peas in the age of genomics
This project will generate a dynamic and evolving gene pool for field peas, as a model for efficient genomic selection in crop plants.
Characterisation of soil microbial interactions for increased efficacy of herbicides, using novel fertiliser management practices
This project will investigate whether herbicides influence soil biological processes when different types of fertilisers are used.
Predicting uptake of new practices by farmers
This project is part of a national initiative to help agencies and scientists to better predict the extent and speed of adoption of new practices by farmers.
Hunting for new herbicides: The human connection
A connection between plants and drugs made for humans has led to the discovery of new herbicidal compounds, which this project will evaluate using a model plant system and by employing genetic, biochemical and physiological approaches.
Mitochondrial proteases in plants
This project aims to characterise the roles of mitochondrial proteases in development and in response to stresses, and to determine the modes of action of mitochondrial proteases at the molecular, biochemical and physiological levels.
Understanding the regulators of mitochondrial biogenesis
This project involves understanding the mechanisms involved in the regulation and coordination of mitochondrial biogenesis, with respect to vital developmental processes and functions.
Mitochondrial import of macromolecules
The outcome of this research will be to define and change how tRNA import is studied, and provide targets for the delivery of macromolecules to the mitochondrion.
Plants and climate change: How will they survive?
This project will investigate how plant metabolism adapts or could be engineered to allow plant to survive in hot and cold climates and in response to climate change.

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