Professor Kathleen Soole

Dean, People and Resources

College of Science and Engineering

place Biological Sciences (305)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

My research interest lies in aspects of cell biology, but focus generally on mitochondrial metabolism in eukaryotes; its impact on growth and stress biology.
My particular interests lie in the role that respiration plays in plant growth and carbon metabolism, specifically under stressful growth conditions. My specialist interest lies in the nature and role of the components of plant mitochondrial ETC which are not associated with energy generation. An understanding of the structure, expression and regulation of these proteins, such as NADH dehydrogenases and Alternative Oxidase may allow us to manipulate their levels in plants to improve plant growth, using either a traditional plant breeding approach or a transgenic approach. My lab was the first to functionally demonstrate a tight link between components of non-phosphorylation pathway of mitochondrial electron flow and the positive growth impact of up-regulation of these components in plant growth under stress. We are also interested in the role of these components on whole plant metabolome and its role in stress response and impact on secondary metabolites.
I have applied my background knowledge and skills in the area of biochemistry and molecular biology to other areas of biochemistry in plants and animals during my career, from the use of plants for bioremediation and stress indicators in the aquaculture industry.
During my career I have held number of competitive grants from agencies such as ARC, GRDC, FRDC, Wine Australia and more recently Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research (FFAR in collaboration with Washington State University.
Currently our lab has hosted 4 Research Internships funded by Bolashak Fellowships ( This developed from collaboration with plant scientists in Kazakhstan, initially at the Kazakhstan Agrotechnical University (KATU) and now, the Al-Farabi University, which began in 2017, funded by the Kazakhstan Government.


I completed my PhD at Univeristy of Adelaide in 1990.

Honours, awards and grants

R N Robertson Biannual Lecture 2023- invited speaker

In recognition of my contribution to plant science and work during my career, I was invited to present this lecture at the ASPS conference held in Hobart 2023.

Key responsibilities

Currently I am Dean of People & Resources in College of Science and Engineering

Supervisory interests
Molecular biology
Plant biology
Higher degree by research supervision
Principal supervisor: Wheat ,Alternative oxidase, Abiotic Stress (1), Rice, Alternative oxidase, Abiotic Stress (1), Oxidative stress, Mitochondria, Alternative oxidase (2)
Associate supervisor: Wheat Stem Rust Fungus Resistance Protein Sr33 (1), Autophosphorylation as a Signalling Mechanism for the Flax Rust Resistance Protein, M (1), Diopeptidyl Peptidases in Cellular Metabolism and Cancer (1), Molecular Basis of Recognition of Rust Effectors by the M Flax Resistant Protein (1), Diatom Frustule in Carbon Acquisition and Fixation (1), Rhizoremediation of hydrocarbon contaminated soil using Australian native grasses (1)
Principal supervisor: Organic Acid metabolism, Grape (1), Barley, Alternative oxidase, Abiotic Stress (1), Secondary Metabolite, Grape berry (1), In Vitro Transport of Lead Species across the Caco-2 cell monolaye (1), Oxidative stress, Mitochondria, Alternative oxidase (1), Malate metabolism, Grape berry (1), Phosphate nutrition, Mitochondria, Alternative oxidase (1), NADH Dehydrogenase, mitochondria (1), Reagents for the Study of Insulin-like Growth Factor-II (IGF-II) in Salmonids (1)
Associate supervisor: Dipeptidyl Peptidase Inhibitors (1), Phytoremediation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) contaminated soil (1), Dipeptidyl Peptidase (DP) 8 and DP9 in Breast and Ovarian Cancer Cell Lines (1)
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  • Biochemistry
  • Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Phytoremediation