Our research activities are grouped under themes which encompass the research strengths of the School.

Sexually-deceptive orchid being pollinated by a wasp. Photo: Rod Peakall

Behavioural, evolutionary and physiological ecology

Ecologists often begin by asking how interactions between individual and the environment result in differential survival & reproductive output of organisms depending on their size, age, sex & which traits they possess....

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X-ray of a nautilus shell

Bioinformatics and bio-mathematical modelling

Using mathematical approaches to biological problems underpins many research approaches to understand how plants operate. This approach applies to many aspects of plant biology, ranging from understanding genetic information...

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Colour variation in a female and two male Gouldian finches

Evolutionary genetics and genomics

New methods in genetics and genomics have allowed a rapid expansion of research into the basis of variations in phenotype, development and the epigenetic variations induced by diet and other lifetime experiences. Genetics...

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White blood cell with MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus superbug). Image credit: National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Infection and immunity

Organisms defend themselves against infections through innate and adaptive immune responses. In the Research School of Biology we investigate important pathogens (Shigella, poxviruses and herpesviruses) and how they are...

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The anti-epiletic drug phenytoin enters a membrane lipid bilayer pulling water behind it.

Membrane transporters and channels

Membrane transporters and ion channels play a crucial role in the provision of nutrients to organisms and cells, they remove toxic compounds and waste, and are crucial in regulating excitability in the nervous system. In the...

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Plasmodium malariae


Parasites can infect humans, animals and plants causing severe problems such as Malaria and reduced crop production. In the Research School of Biology we study the physiology, cell biology and development of the Malaria parasite...

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Photosynthesis and plant energy biology

The capture of CO2 by photosynthesis using sunlight is fundamental to the maintenance of life on earth. At the Research School of Biology, we study the energy metabolism of plants, algae and cyanobacteria, including the...

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Bugs on a mangrove leaf

Phylogenetics, population genetics and biodiversity

Molecular genetics forms the basis for much of what we do in this research area. Research at the Research School of Biology spans the continuum of population genetics and phylogenetics of bacteria, fungi, plants and animals. Our...

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Patchwork of forest and cleared land

Plant environmental biology and functional ecology

How plants respond to the environment is of fundamental importance to understanding plant evolution, biodiversity and responses to future climate change. At the Research School of Biology, we apply fundamental knowledge of plant...

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Transverse section of an Azolla root

Plant genetics and gene regulation

Genome content and the regulation of gene expression are crucial for plant development, form & function. At ANU we use molecular genetics to understand gene regulation, epigenetic control processes, evolution and gene/protein...

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Plant developing a root and a bacterial nodule

Plant-microbe interactions

The interactions of plants with microbes both in the soil and above ground shoot are of great importance for the growth and productivity of plants in agricultural and natural ecosystems. At the Research School of Biology,...

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Updated:  19 November 2019/Responsible Officer:  Director RSB/Page Contact:  Webmaster RSB