Dr Ulrike Mathesius of the Plant Science Division has been awarded the prestigious Fenner Medal for 2013. The Fenner Medal is awarded by the Australian Academy of Science to recognise distinguished research in biological research (excluding the biomedical sciences) by scientists of no more than 40 years.
Ulrike’s research focuses on how soil microbes shape the plant. She developed and applied techniques at a molecular, cellular and whole plant level to define mechanisms that symbiotic and pathogenic organisms use to manipulate plant development. A central idea of her work is that microbes have ‘hijacked’ plant signalling pathways for their own purposes. This has implications for utilising microbes to alter crop plant performance and for trying to develop nitrogen-fixing symbioses in non-legumes.