Strategic Professor in Plant Biology
I was awarded my PhD from Adelaide University and undertook postdoctoral studies in the United States before joining CSIRO as a Queen Elizabeth II Fellow. I subsequently moved to ANU where eventually I became Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 1995. In 1999, I took up the Chair of Biochemistry at the University of Western Australia and later moved to the University of Sydney where I was Executive Dean of the Faculties of Science. I returned to Adelaide at the end of 2009 to take up the role of Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) at Flinders University. I retired from management in 2015 and now have a fractional appointment in the School of Biological Sciences at Flinders University and in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Sydney.
BSc (hons) Adelaide University, 1971
Dip Teaching, Adelaide Teachers College, 1971
PhD (plant biochemistry) Adealide University, 1975
Member Australian Institute of Compnay Directors (MAID)
QEII fellowship, 1978-80
Fellow, Australian Academy of Science
Research in plant biochemistry and molecular biology
Honours and PhD supervision
My research focuses on carbon and nitrogen fixation in plants, with an emphasis on respiration and its involvement in plant responses to environmenal stresses, and symbiotic nitrogen fixation in legumes, where I study how soil bacteria, rhizobia, interact with the plant, focusing on nutrient transport across symbiotic membranes. Soybean, chickpea, rice and barley are the main crop plants under investigation.
Mitochondria and oxidative stress in plants
Plants often enounter hostile environments that place them under stress. Reactive oxygen molecules produced under these conditions act as signals to activate defense mechanisms, but also cause cell damage. Mitochondria, the subcellular compartments involved in energy production, are a site of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and are involved in the response of cells to oxidative stress. In plants, mitochondria contain special electron transport proteins, referred to as the Alternative Pathway, that bypass sites of ROS generation and act as “safety valves” during energy transduction. Alternative pathway genes are activated upon exposure of plants to environmental stresses, such as salinity and high temperature, as part of the cell’s attempt to minimize damage. Genetically manipulating the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana to express these proteins constitutively alters plant growth and may enhance plant survival under duress.
: Mitochondria and oxidative stress in plants
: Cell and plant biology (ANU, UWA and Sydney University)
Board member, Playford Trust of South Australia
CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Adisory Committee member
Secretary for Science Policy, Australian Academy of Science
|Phone:||+61 8 82015205|
|Location:||Biological Sciences (326)|
|Postal address:||GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia|