Amanda Able

Professor Amanda Able

Professor in Plant Science

School of Agriculture, Food and Wine

Faculty of Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.


I lead a research team internationally recognised for its work in understanding plant-pathogen interactions and postharvest physiology. I have been competitively awarded funds worth more than 8.8 million dollars since joining UA in 2001. As of November 2017, I have had seventeen PhD students and one Masters student successfully graduate since 2002 and was named Tall Poppy of the Year for South Australia in 2006 and the USQ Research Alumnus of the Year in 2015.

In addition to research excellence, I am passionate about educating the next generation. I want to motivate, inspire and encourage students to learn life-long skills thereby enhancing their opportunities in the discipline of plant science, agriculture and/or biotechnology. I was awarded the Executive Dean’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2005 and the Australian Society of Plant Scientists (ASPS) Teaching Award in 2009. Furthermore, as the Education and Training Program Leader within the Molecular Plant Breeding CRC from 2003 to 2008 I promoted plant breeding and plant biotechnology to the wider community and school students, developing the award-winning Secondary School program, Get into Genes. I was the Associate Dean (Curriculum) for the Faculty of Sciences from 2011 to 2016 providing strategic leadership within the University particularly with regards to ensuring the quality of student curricula and assessment strategies in the Faculty. I have also been part of the national Office of Learning and Teaching project responsible for the development of the Agriculture Learning and Teaching Academic Standards, endorsed by the Australian Council of Deans of Agriculture (www.agltas.edu.au/).

Our research focuses on understanding how a plant defends itself against disease, the impact of nutrition on plant disease and the postharvest physiology of fruits and vegetables. We are also involved in the scholarship of learning and teaching. Specific areas of research in the Able laboratory include:

  • Toxin production by the barley net blotch pathogen Pyrenophora teres
  • Ripening mechanisms in capsicum (bell pepper)
  • Effect of storage and processing on antioxidants and other bioactives in hull-less barley grain for human food and durum for pasta
  • Work-integrated learning and scaffolding of inquiry-based learning and research skill development
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  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2015 Professor in Plant Science University of Adelaide
    2012 - 2014 Associate Professor in Plant Science University of Adelaide
    2005 - 2011 Senior Lecturer in Plant Science University of Adelaide
    2001 - 2004 Lecturer in Plant Science University of Adelaide
    1998 - 2001 Plant Physiologist Queensland Department of Primary Industries
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2015 Award University of Southern Queensland Research and Alumnus of the Year 2015
    2009 Award Australian Society of Plant Scientists Teaching Prize
    2006 Award South Australian Young Tall Poppy
    2006 Award South Australian Tall Poppy of the Year
    2006 Award Cooperative Research Centre Association Excellence and Innovation in Education Award
    2006 Nomination Australian Government Eureka Prize for Promoting the Understanding of Science
    2005 Recognition The University of Adelaide's The Stephen Cole the Elder Prize (Highly Commended)
    2005 Award Faculty of Sciences Excellence in Teaching Prize 2005
    2005 Nomination Adelaide University Postgraduate Association Supervisor of the Year Finalist
    1999 Award Australasian Plant Pathology Society llen Kerr Prize
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    1995 - 1998 University of Southern Queensland Australia PhD (in Physiological Plant Pathology)
    1994 - 1994 University of Southern Queensland Australia Bachelor of Applied Science (1st Class Honours)
    1991 - 1993 University of Southern Queensland Australia Bachelor of Applied Science majoring in Plant Biology and Environmental Systems
  • Research Interests

We currently have funding from the Grains Research and Development Corporation and the Office for Learning and Teaching

Undergraduate teaching includes courses as diverse as Biology I, Plant Health, Foundations in Plant Science, and Plant Biotechnology. At a postgraduate level, I teach and coordinate Foundations in Plant Biotechnology and Research Concepts in Plant Biotechnology. 

I am passionate about educating the next generation of scientists and was awarded the Executive Dean's Excellence in Teaching Award in 2005, the Australian Society of Plant Scientists Teaching Award in 2009 and was the Education and Training Program Leader within the Molecular Plant Breeding CRC from 2003 to 2008.

I am also part of the AgLTAS team that has developed the national Threshold Learning Outcomes (TLOs) for Agriculture, recently endorsed by the Australian Council of Deans of Agriculture (see www.agltas.edu.au).

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  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2016 Principal Supervisor Regulation of Ripening Mechanisms in Capsicum Fruit Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Sijia Guo
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2012 - 2016 Co-Supervisor Genome-wide Characterisation of microRNAs and their target genes in different durum wheat genotypes under water limiting conditions Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Haipei Liu
    2011 - 2016 Principal Supervisor Evaluation of antioxidant capacity and vitamin E content in barley grains and the impact of processing and storage Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Thi Thu Dung Do
    2010 - 2014 Principal Supervisor Understanding the physiological mechanisms of ripening in capsicum Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Wan Mohd Aizat Wan Kamaruddin
    2010 - 2014 Principal Supervisor Effect of calcium (Ca) and boron (B) nutrition on grey mould of capsicum (Capsicum annuum L.) and fruit quality Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Duc Thong Le
    2009 - 2011 Co-Supervisor Application of Citral to Control Postharvest Diseases of Oranges Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Erminawati Wuryatmo
    2009 - 2013 Principal Supervisor Characterisation of proteinaceous toxins isolated from Pyrenophora teres f. teres Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Ismail Ahmed Ismail
    2007 - 2011 Co-Supervisor An Investigation of Bread Wheat Meiosis via Proteomics and Gene-targeted Approaches: the Isolation and Characterisation of Four Meiotic Proteins Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Kelvin Khoo
    2007 - 2012 Co-Supervisor Susceptibility of Native Plant Species to Phytopthora Cinnamomi and the Spread of Phytopthora Dieback in South Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Kiong Hook Kueh
    2005 - 2012 Principal Supervisor Regulation of Candidate Genes in Black Point Formation in Barley Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Kerry Walker
    2004 - 2007 Principal Supervisor Role of Pyrenophora Teres Toxins in Net Blotch of Barley Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Abolfazl Sarpeleh
    2004 - 2008 Principal Supervisor The Genetic Basis of Barley Black Point Formation Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Timothy March
    2003 - 2007 Principal Supervisor Ripening Behaviour of Capsicum (Capsicum annuum L.) Fruit Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Thi Ngoc Thang Pham
    2003 - 2007 Principal Supervisor Strawberry Powdery Mildew: Epidemiology and the Effect of Host Nutrition on Disease Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Sarah Palmer
    2003 - 2006 Principal Supervisor Effects of 1-Methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) on Shelf Life and Quality of Cavendish Bananas Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Farid Moradinezhad
    2003 - 2008 Principal Supervisor Effect of Nutrition on Postharvest Quality and Grey Mould Development in Strawberries Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Matchima Naradisorn
    2001 - 2006 Principal Supervisor Characterisation of the Germin-like Gene Family in Vitis Vinifera: A Possible Role in Defence against Erysiphe necator Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Dr Dale Godfrey
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  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2017 - ongoing Chair Ag Education Symposium
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2009 - 2012 Associate Editor Australasian Plant Pathology
    2002 - 2009 Board Member Annals of Applied Biology
  • Offices Held

    Date Office Name Institution Country
    2015 - 2016 Associate Dean (Curriculum) Faculty of Sciences, The University of Adelaide
    2013 - 2015 Vice-President Australasian Plant Pathology Society
    2011 - 2014 Associate Dean (Undergraduate Experience) Faculty of Sciences, University of Adelaide
    2010 - 2012 Deputy Head of School (Learning and Teaching) School of Agriculture, Food & Wine, The University of Adelaide
    2002 - 2008 Education and Training Program Leader Molecular Plant Breeding CRC
  • Position: Professor in Plant Science
  • Phone: 83137245
  • Email: amanda.able@adelaide.edu.au
  • Fax: 8313 7109
  • Campus: Waite
  • Building: Waite, floor GN
  • Room: GN 12
  • Org Unit: School of Agriculture, Food and Wine

Connect With Me
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