Faculty of Science

ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology

A selection of current projects in the Centre is listed here.

We welcome you to discuss other research project ideas with us. To do this:
Domestic students can contact Professor Allan McKinley, Graduate Research Coordinator for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Plant Energy Biology.
International students can use our online enquiry form, which helps us match your research interests with a potential supervisor.

Protein turnover to measure the role of degradation in the costs of cell function and the acclimation of plants to environments
The objective of this project is to use peptide mass spectrometry approaches to determine the turnover rate of specific plant proteins and follow up key observations with physiological, proteomic and metabolomic investigations in mutant lines altered in their protein degradation machinery.
What are the wheat proteins that define wheat quality, enable disease resistance and tolerate harsh environmental conditons?
This project will link to industry partners in assessing metabolic pathway expression in wheat tissues to develop protein markers for industry and learn about metabolic pathway responses linked to real world problems in improving grain production.
Understanding how salinity damages wheat and barley crops
This project will use proteomic techniques to build a more complete picture of global protein expression changes that occur in salt-stressed wheat or barley seedling roots using genetic resources that different in tissue tolerance to salt.
Discovering the roles for mitochondrial metabolite transporters in plants
This project will take a reverse genetics approach to the study of organic acid transporters and also other carriers that impact on the function of these transporters to understand the process of respiration in plants that occurs inside mitochondria.
Discovering how respiration effects plant development and defence signalling
The objective of this project is to use knockout and overexpressing lines of plant specific complex II subunits to characterise their functions at the physiological, proteomic and metabolomic levels and therefore to uncover the hidden role of these proteins and this respiratory pathway in plants.
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.
Protein scissors that evolved to glue: The mechanism for a ligating endoprotease
This project will study the details of a protease existing in the common sunflower, by making it in bacteria, purifying it and examining its properties in vitro. We will also endeavour to understand what changes in sequence allowed this protease to cut as well as join proteins.
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.