Michael Djordjevic

Associate Professor Michael Djordjevic obtained a Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours from the University of Queensland in 1979 and a PhD in Molecular Biology from ANU in 1983 with an Australian government PhD scholarship. He was awarded an Australian National Research Fellowship in 1984 and a Post Doctoral Fellowship from the Australian Wool Board Trust Fund in 1985. He was promoted to Research Fellow (1988), Fellow (1994) and Associate Professor (2006). He was a Chief Investigator and Node Leader in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Legume Research (CILR) (2003-2010).

He has maintained a long term interest in various aspects of biological nitrogen fixation. His seminal research identified key components of the molecular dialogue between rhizobia and legumes. He was an early pioneer of the application of proteomics and mass spectrometry to address problems in biology with a focus on nitrogen fixation. A long term interest is the molecular analysis of the flavonoid biosynthesis pathway and the role of flavonoids in regulating plant development. In collaboration with Professor Parish at The John Curtin Medical School of Medical Research he has identified Rhizobium-derived Nod factors, potent regulators of plant development, as modulators of mammalian angiogenesis. He initiated research to understand the lipid biosynthesis pathway in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and the application of this research to biofuel production. 

His laboratory is now focused on the identification and characterisation of new molecules, secreted regulatory peptides, which have hormone-like properties and control plant growth, development and architecture. His recent work has identified a new class of secreted regulatory peptides are regulated by environmental stimuli and control agronomically important aspects of root and shoot architecture as well as enhance root nodulation in pasture legumes.

Research interests

  • Regulators of root and shoot architecture
  • Secreted regulatory peptides and flavonoids
  • Biological nitrogen fixation and root nodulation by Rhizobia
  • The identification and characterization of new angiogenesis therapeutics.


  • New components of regulatory networks that control the numbers of root nodules formed on Medicago have been identified.
  • Methodologies for isolating variant Chlamydomonas strains that accumulate high levels of neutral lipids have been devised [James et al. 2010, Fatty acid profiling of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii under nitrogen deprivation. Bioresource Technology]. 
  • Key genes involved in the induction of in vitro somatic embryogenesis and root formation in Medicago truncatula have been identified (Holmes et al. 2010. Global gene expression analysis of in vitro root formation in Medicago truncatula. Functional Plant Biology, 2010, 37, 1117–1131).
  • Flavonoids act as long-distance plant development signals and modulators of plant architecture (Buer et al. 2010. Flavonoids: New roles for old molecules. Journal of Integrative Biology. 52: 98–111).
  •  Plant bioactive molecules (Nod factors and secondary plant metabolites) have been shown to modulate in vitro angiogenesis in rodent and human model systems in a concentration-dependent fashion.
  •  Extracellular endo- and exo-proteases have been identified that process CLE pro-peptides to biologically active peptide hormone products of different sizes and biological potency.
  • A new classificiation system for Hox proteins has been proposed  (Hueber et al. 2010. Improving Hox protein classification across the major model organisms. PLOS ONE 5: e10820)
  • The use of microalgal biomass as a source of renewable energy is being investigated via the BioSolar Project (a cross campus collaboration between biologists and engineers).
  • As part of the BIOL2121 teaching team, Dr Michael Djordjevic was awarded the Vice Chancellor's Excellence in Teaching Award (2009).


  • Other members of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Legume Research: Professor Parish (JCSMR) and Professor Gresshoff (University of Queensland) and Dr Mathesius and Dr Weiller in RSB.
  • Professor David Bird (Center for the Biology of Nematode Parasitism, North Carolina State University).
  • Professor Michael Udvardi (The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Oklahoma).
  • Professor Lew Mander, Research School of Chemistry

Recent grants

  • 2008-2010 CEO348212 ARC Centre of Excellence for Intergative Legume Research
  • 2009 Proof-of-concept grant ANU Connect Ventures. Synthesis of Nod factor variants that regulate mammalian angiogenesis.  
  • 2010-12 DP1096299 Dr MA Djordjevic; Prof LN Mander; Prof CR Parish New functions for bioactive flavonoids in plants and mammals.
  • 2010 Optimising Lipid Yields in Microalgae for Next Generation Biofuels SA-Manitoba Bilateral agreement.

Selected publications

  • Buer, CS, Muday GK and Djordjevic, M.A. (2007). Flavonoids are differentially taken up, converted to downstream products, and transported long distances in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology. 145 : 478-490. 
  • Miyahara A, Hirani TA, Oakes M Kereszt A, Kobe B, Djordjevic M A., Gresshoff PM. (2008) Soybean nodule autoregulation receptor kinase phosphorylates two kinase-associated protein phosphatases in vitro. Journal of Biological Chemistry: 283: 25381-253
  • Djordjevic M.A., Chen H-C, Natera, SHA, van Noorden G., Menzel, C, Taylor, S., Geiger O, Weiller, G. (2003). A global analysis of protein expression profiles in Sinorhizobium meliloti: Discovery of new genes for nodule occupancy and stress adaptation. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions.16: 508-524. 
  • Natera, S. H. A., Guerreiro N., Djordjevic, M. A. (2000). Proteome analysis of differentially displayed proteins as a tool for the investigation of symbiosis. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, 13, 995-1009.
  • Mathesius U, Schlaman HRM, Spaink HP, Sautter C, Rolfe BG and Djordjevic MA (1998) Auxin transport inhibition precedes nodule initiation in white clover roots and is regulated by flavonoids and derivatives of chitin oligosaccharides. Plant Journal. 14: 23-34 
  • Djordjevic M.A., Oakes M.., Hocart C., Li, D. and Gresshoff, P.M. (2007). Analysis of secreted proteins present in Glycine max xylem sap. Journal of Proteome Research. 6: 3771-3779. 
  • Buer CS, Djordjevic MA. (2009) Architectural phenotypes in the transparent testa mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana. J Experimental Botany 60 : 751-763.
  • Hueber SD, Weiller GF, Djordjevic MA, Frickey T. (2010). Improving Hox Protein Classification across the Major Model Organisms. PLOS ONE 5: e10820
  • Holmes P., Djordjevic M A. and Imin N (2010) Global gene expression analysis of in vitro root formation inMedicago truncatula. Functional Plant Biology. 2010, 37, 1117–1131.
  • James G.O., Hocart CH, Hillier W., Chen, H., Kordbacheh F., Price D and Djordjevic MA. (2010) Fatty Acid Profiling of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii under Nitrogen Deprivation. Bioresearch Biotechnology.

All publications