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Chemical warfare in a host pathogen interaction

Posted by: Colleen MacMillan

March 10, 2017


Tuesday 28 March 2017


12:30-13:30 (ADST)


CSIRO: Black Mountain – Discovery Lecture Theatre, St Lucia QBP – Level 3 South telepresence room (3.323), Floreat – B1b Boardroom, Waite – B101-FG-R00-BoardWICWest


Donald Gardiner, Research Scientist & Team Leader, CSIRO Agriculture & Food


Fungal pathogens cause trillions of dollars of losses to crop production every year. Some pathogens, such as those in the Fusarium genus, create additional problems by contaminating grain with toxins with consequences for human and animal health. Our team works on a group of cereal diseases caused by fungi in the Fusarium genus which is a prolific producer of toxins. An overview of our teams work will be presented that incorporates aspects of toxin discovery, biosynthesis and regulation as well as the role of plant derived chemical defences and the strategies that pathogens use to overcome these.


Donald joined CSIRO in 2005. His team investigates the mechanisms of virulence of Fusarium pathogens that attack wheat and barley. The groups applies comparative genomics, functional analyses including forward and reverse genetics and biochemical analyses to understand how this group of pathogens is so successful against these important crops. Through these approaches the groups work has uncovered the importance of a pathogens ability to overcome host derived defence compounds. In some cases the ability of pathogens to overcome these defence compounds have been acquired via horizontal gene transfer including across biological kingdom boundaries from bacteria and signatures of these transfer events are evident in the genomes of these pathogens. His team also has a strong interest in understanding how toxins are synthesised and regulated by these pathogens.

Before joining CSIRO he worked at the University of Queensland, Australia, in mammalian genomics.

His doctoral research at the University of Melbourne investigated the molecular genetics of toxin biosynthesis in fungal pathogens of both plants and animals.


This is a public seminar. NO visitor pass is required for non-CSIRO attendees going to Discovery Lecture Theatre