Alison Gill

Alison Gill

School of Agriculture, Food and Wine

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology


I am a postdoctoral research fellow affiliated with the ARC CoE in Plants For Space and supervised by Associate Professor Jenny Mortimer and Professor Matt Gilliham. My project focuses on autonomous agriculture for space exploration and controlled environment agriculture on Earth. Using cameras and machine learning, coupled with plant physiology, we are investigating autonomous stress detection in lettuce plants. I am also a research assistant for Dr Stephanie Watts-Fawkes, investigating arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. 

Previously, I was a PhD candidate in the School of Agriculture, Food, and Wine supervised by Professor Rachel Burton, Professor Tim Cavagnaro, and Dr Beth Loveys. My research focused on industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa) drought tolerance, water use efficiency, and physiological responses to water deficit. I received a Dean's Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence.

More broadly my research interests include plant and novel crop responses to future climate changes, as well as sustainable agriculture and plant physiology. I spent most of 2022 as a visiting researcher at the University of California, Berkeley with a Fulbright Scholarship. At UC Berkeley, I undertook research and was part of the Bowles Agroecology laboratory where I investigated how soil management and variety influence dry-farmed tomato plant production and quality under water stress. Please check out the Bowles Agroecology lab website for more information: https://nature.berkeley.edu/agroecologylab/

Please get in touch about collaborations or other opportunities. 

Ali in the Berkeley field with a Licor 6400 measuring tomatoesAli with hemp poster at Plant Biology 2022 in Portland, Oregon

  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2015 - 2018 University of Adelaide Australia Bachelor of Science (Advanced) with First Class Honours

I have been awarded the following scholarships and grants:

2023 Crawford Fund Conference Scholar
2022 Fulbright Future and Fulbright South Australia Scholarships (University of California, Berkeley)
2022 AgriFutures Australia Emerging Industries Travel Grant (declined)
2021-2023 Tim Healey Memorial Trust PhD Scholarship
2020-2023 Playford Trust PhD Scholarship
2019 Aileen and Bert Kollosche Scholarship for the study of Australian flora
2018-2019 AW Howard Honours Scholarship 
2015-2018 Horizon Agricultural Scholarship

I have been awarded the following awards and prizes:

2024 Dean's Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence
2022 ASPB Plant Biology 2022 Travel Award ($575USD)
2018 J.G. Wood Memorial Prize for Level III Plant Science subjects at the University of Adelaide
2017 Aduchem Prize in Level II Analytical Chemistry at the University of Adelaide
2016 Ena Orrock Lewcock Prize for Level II Plant Science subjects at the University of Adelaide
2015-2018 Faculty of Sciences Outstanding Academic Achievement Award

I have demonstrated in practical classes, marked, and/or helped teach in the following University of Adelaide, School of Agriculture, Food, and Wine courses:

  • Foundations in Plant Science II
  • Food Production in a Future Climate III
  • Soil and Water Resources II
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2023 - ongoing Member Australian Fulbright Alumni Association Australia
    2021 - ongoing Member American Society of Plant Biologists United States
    2021 - ongoing Member Australian Society of Plant Scientists Australia

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