Fruit/Seed Loading and Metabolism
Nutrient (especially sugars) transport and metabolism within organs of agronomic significance (e.g. fruit and seed). Specific interests are identifying membrane transporters and their regulation contributing to phloem unloading; discovering novel roles for sugar metabolising enzymes in directing organ development.
Transfer Cell Development
Transfer cells are specialized for membrane transport of nutrients and play a vital role in nutrient allocation. We are investigating the signals and signal cascades regulating their induction and the mechanisms involved in deposition of their intricately-invaginated cell wall ingrowths.
Cotton Fibre Development
A single-cell system, ideal for studying cell expansion, cellulose synthesis and cell death. We focus on identifying and characterizing genes and signals responsible for water and nutrient influx and utilization and program cell death. A long term applied outcome could be higher cotton fibre yield and quality and higher water use efficiency.
Maximizing carbon capture by key crops to produce superior biofuel sources Sorghum, a highly photosynthetic-efficient grass, is capable of generating high yields of fermentable sugar in the stem, and high yields of lignocellulosic biomass. We are investigating the mechanisms and genetic control of traits that contribute to the sugar and cellulosic-biomass yield of sweet Sorghum.
Rebuilding soils - use of plant-microbe associations to re-establish nutrient cycling.
Restoration potential - addressing ecological bottlenecks by modifying, monitoring and modelling native vegetation communities.