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Students

Are you interested in joining our lab as an honours or graduate student?  We welcome enquiries from anyone interested in studying with us. Some potential projects available for students are outlined below.

Plant-pathogen interactions

  • New disease resistance traits in canola. This project will involve the identification and characterisation of novel mutant genes in canola and their impact on resistance to necrotrophic fungal pathogens or aphid pests. Genetic, molecular, microbiology and bioinformatic approaches will be applied. Contact: Jonathan Anderson.
  • Using CRISPR/Cas to understand sex in F. graminearum. An important part of the F. graminearum lifecycle is sex. This project will investigate how this pathogen undergoes sex by modifying candidate genes in the pathogen using genome engineering and by undertaking experimental evolutionary biology experiments. An expected outcome is an understanding of how the pathogens sexual cycle might be used against it in the field, by for example designing strains carrying Trojan horse cargo for biological control. Contact: Don Gardiner.
  • Cloning a Fusarium virulence loci. Using a combination of next generation (Illumina and PacBio) sequencing and tradition genetic mapping we recently published a very high quality genome of F. pseudograminearum. The project will involve map based cloning, fine mapping and functional studies of candidate genes in the virulence locus. Contact: Don Gardiner.
  • Understanding resistance of native grasses to Fusarium. Fusarium infects native grasses but does not have the devastating consequences that it does on wheat. This project will explore the mechanisms of resistance or tolerance that Australian native grasses have to this pathogen. Contact: Don Gardiner.

Bioactives

  • Enhancing crop establishment. Poor crop establishment is a problem for growers of canola in Australia, an important break crop industry. The student will screen a biostimulant platform (plant growth promoting bacteria for early vigour traits in canola and conduct genetic and molecular studies to characterise plant and bacteria interactions. Contact: Louise Thatcher.
  • In planta characterisation of endophytic biocontrol agents. Assess the endophytic capabilities of biocontrol microbes to determine their persistence and interaction within the plant. The project will assess a selection of isolates through microscopy and molecular techniques. In parallel, the biocontrol colonised plants can be infected with differentially fluorescent tagged fungal pathogens so the interaction between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ microbes can be assessed in planta and in real time. Contact: Louise Thatcher.
  • Awakening sleeping compounds. Awaken the undiscovered chemical potential within Actinobacteria isolates through microbial and chemical elicitation of “silent” biosynthetic gene clusters. Biopesticide discovery will be guided through high-throughput antifungal, insecticidal, and herbicidal bioassays, with follow-up functional assays including transcriptomics and metabolomics. Contact: Louise Thatcher.

Please use the form below to contact Dr Louise Thatcher, our student liaison.

 

Current opportunities

This section will be updated to display any current opportunities in our lab.  For all current vacancies at CSIRO, please visit Jobs at CSIRO

 

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