RSB Future Fellowships, Equipment grants and Superscience Fellowships
23 November 2010

ARC Future Fellowships

Dr Lucas A Cernusak (Plant Sciences)

Reading the isotopic archive: carbon and oxygen stable isotope ratios as recorders of
plant physiological processes

This project will investigate how plant physiological processes are reflected in stable isotope ratios of carbon and oxygen in plant tissues. Results will contribute towards a mechanistic understanding of the processes that cause isotopic modifications, thereby enabling an improved interpretation of naturally occurring stable isotope signals.

Dr Janine E Deakin (Evolution, Ecology and Genetics)
Tracking the evolution of devil facial tumour disease
The evolution of devil facial tumour disease could have disastrous effects on not only the Tasmanian Devil population but also other closely related species. This project will investigate the evolution of the disease in order to determine how new strains of the disease are arising.

Dr Ulrike Mathesius (Plant Sciences)

The role of auxin in root organ specification - from symbiont to parasite
Sustainable agriculture in a changing climate depends on strategies to maximise crop performance and to minimize crop losses due to parasites. This project aims to identify genes and molecular mechanisms that symbiotic and parasitic microbes, which affect major crop plants, use to alter plant growth in a beneficial or detrimental way.

Dr Adrienne B Nicotra (Evolution, Ecology and Genetics)
Phenotypic plasticity in plants: evolution, adaptation and its relevance in a changing climate
Plants are highly responsive to the conditions under which they grow, but the combination of conditions they experience will be altered by climate change. This research into plant responses to novel environments posed by climate change will assess whether we can breed for more responsive crops or predict native plant tolerance of climate change.

ANU Equipment Grants Scheme

Peter Solomon, John Rathjen, David Jones, Adrienne Hardham and Ulrike Mathesius, PS, were awarded $80K for the purchase of a new AKTA FPLC protein purification system. This will be available for use by all laboratories in RSB.

Graham Farquhar, Susanne von Caemmerer, John Evans,  Marilyn Ball, Hilary Stuart- Williams, Chin Wong, PS, and University of Sydney colleagues Mark Adams, Claudia Keitel and Charles Warren were awarded $90K for the purchase of a new Picarro device for rapid laser-based measurement of water isotopologues. The device should be delivered in four months and please see Hilary if you are interested in making such measurements.

Owen Atkin, Marilyn Ball, John Evans, Ulrike Mathesius (PS), Bill Foley, Adrienne Nicotra, Paul Cooper (EEG), and partners from the Fenner School (Richard Greene, David Lindenmayer, John Field, Chris McElhinny) were awarded $100K for the purchase of an automated flow injection ion analysis system. This system will be based in the Forestry Building, and be available to all ANU students and staff.

NHMRC Equipment Grants Scheme

Lisa Alleva, BSB, was awarded $8.45K for the purchase an under-bench -80°C freezer to store quarantined virus stocks in the Wes Whitten animal facility quarantine room.

Kiaran Kirk, Kevin Saliba, Rowena Martin, Stefan Bröer, BSB were awarded $29.9K for an HPLC Radioactivity Monitor for use in metabolic labelling experiments.

Superscience Fellowships

RSB researchers were successful in the recently announced scheme, receiving over $600K to fund two postdoctoral appointments over a three year period. The researchers involved are Murray Badger, Susanne von Caemmerer, Barry Pogson and Dean Price, PS, together with Chris Goodnow from the JCSMR.

The Super Science Fellowship scheme was designed to enhance the research outcomes for both NCRIS Funded Research Facilities and Centres of Excellence, and to train early career researchers. The project proposed by the group involves interactions between the Australian Phenomics Facility (mice), The Australian Plant Phenomics Facility (plants) and the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology. The work will entail harnessing the power of next-generation DNA sequencing techniques to speed up analysis of gene function in both plants and animals.

The study capitalises on the co-location of Plant and Mouse Phenomics facilities at ANU and will contribute to an improved understanding of fundamental aspects of medicine such as obesity, immunity and cancer, and aspects of plant biology including photosynthetic energy metabolism, vitamin biosynthesis and drought tolerance.

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