1991: CSIRO Post-doctoral Scholarship
1992: Fulbright Post-doctoral Award
2008: Australian Academy of Science travel award
Biochemical properties of plant disease resistance (R) proteins. Plant R proteins function to recognise invading phytopathogenic disease agents and respond by triggering a signalling pathway that leads to the activation of a resistance response, one such response being localised hypersensitive cell death. This laboratory uses the yeast, pichia pastoris, to manufacture recombinant R protein that is then purified by conventional chromatograhic techniques. The R proteins of interest are those that confer resistance in flax to the flax rust fungus via their recognition of flax rust effector proteins that are secreted into flax cells as part of the disease cycle. We are currently investigating the biochemical properties of purified flax R proteins and focusing specifically on the nucleotide binding and hydrolysis activities of the putative nucleotide binding pocket of the protein.
Other projects in the laboratory involve 1) the recombinant production and purification of aspartic proteases from Botrytis cinerea and their use in controlling haze in white wine 2) the over-expression of sucrose transporters in rice grains and the effect on proteins and micronutrient levels.