Professor in Plant Science
School of Agriculture, Food and Wine
Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology
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 9 million dollars since joining UA in 2001. As of September 2021, I have had eighteen 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 am currently the Deputy Dean (Learning and Teaching) for the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Adelaide. 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 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/).
- My Research
- Grants and Funding
- Professional Activities
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)
- Work-integrated learning and scaffolding of inquiry-based learning and research skill development
Date Position Institution name 2015 - ongoing 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
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
Year Citation 2016 Loveys, B., Riggs, K., & Able, A. (2016). Threshold Learning Outcome 2: Knowledge of Agriculture. In T. Botwright Acuña, & A. Able (Eds.), Good Practice Guide: Threshold Learning Outcomes for Agriculture (1 ed., pp. 25-53). Sydney, Australia: Australian Government Office for Learning & Teaching.
Report for External Bodies
Year Citation 2022 Mercer-Mapstone, L., Able, A., Banas, K., Barone, R. P., Bricknell, L., Fatnowna, T., . . . Zucker, I. (2022). Recommendations for equitable student support during disruptions to the higher education sector: Lessons from COVID-19. National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education.
Original Creative Works
Year Citation 2022 Authors: Able A, Mercer-Mapstone L, Banas K, Barone RP, Bricknell L, Fatnowna T, Gabriel F, Zucker I. Title: Higher Education Good Practice Guide: Equitable student support during times of crisis. Description: N/A. Extent: 7 pages. 2009 Authors: Able AJ, Coombe L, Bray H, McDiarmid L, Pettman T. Title: Introduction to Molecular Techniques: Theory and Practice - an Educational DVD. Description: N/A. Extent: >2h DVD filming and a PDF.
Year Citation 2016 Liu, H. (2016). Genome-wide characterisation of microRNAs and their target genes in different durum wheat genotypes under water limiting conditions. (PhD Thesis, University of Adelaide).
Year Citation 2021 Liu, H., Able, A., & Able, J. (2021). Multi-omics analysis of small RNA, transcriptome and degradome in T. turgidum – regulatory networks of grain development and abiotic stress response. 2021 Liu, H., Able, A., & Able, J. (2021). Small RNAs and their targets are associated with the transgenerational effects of water-deficit stress in durum wheat. 2021 Liu, H., Able, A., & Able, J. (2021). Nitrogen starvation-responsive microRNAs under the effects of transgenerational stress in durum wheat seedlings. 2021 Liu, H., Able, A. J., & Able, J. A. (2021). Small RNA, transcriptome and degradome analysis of the transgenerational heat stress response network in durum wheat. 2020 Liu, H., Able, A., & Able, J. (2020). Integrated analysis of small RNA, transcriptome, and degradome sequencing reveals the water-deficit and heat stress response network in durum wheat. 2020 Liu, H., Able, A., & Able, J. (2020). Transgenerational effects of water-deficit and heat stress on germination and seedling vigour – new insights from durum wheat microRNAs. 2015 Liu, H., Searle, I., Watson-Haigh., Baumann., Mather, D. E., Able, A. J., & Able, J. A. (2015). Genome-wide identification of differentially expressed microRNAs in leaves and the developing head of four durum genotypes during water deficit stress.
We currently have funding from the Grains Research and Development Corporation.
I was the Deputy Dean (Learning and Teaching) for the Faculty of Sciences from 2019 to end of March 2022. Teaching includes courses as diverse as Biology I, Plant Health, Foundations in Plant Science, and 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 developed the national Threshold Learning Outcomes (TLOs) for Agriculture, endorsed by the Australian Council of Deans of Agriculture (see www.agltas.edu.au).
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 Part 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 Dr 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 Dr 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
Date Role Committee Institution Country 2019 - ongoing Board Member Agricultural Education Network (Symposium) Agricultural Education Network Australia 2017 - 2018 Chair Agricultural Education Network (Symposium) Agricultural Education Network (Symposium) Australia
Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country 2009 - 2012 Associate Editor Australasian Plant Pathology 2002 - 2009 Board Member Annals of Applied Biology
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
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