Associate Professor Christopher Ford
School of Agriculture, Food and Wine
Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology
Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.
Over the past 20 years we have been working largely in the following area:
- Developing an understanding of organic acid metabolism in plants. Within my laboratory, and in collaboration with Dr John Bruning (School of Biological Sciences) and Assoc. Prof. Kathleen Soole (The Flinders University of South Australia) we have been investigating the mechanisms by which developing grape berries metabolise ascorbic, tartaric and malic acids. To achieve this we have used a range of biochemical, molecular and metabolic approaches in whole berries and cell suspension systems.
- I have had past research engagement with the characterisation of glucosyltransferase enzymes (GTases) involved in plant secondary metabolism. I started working in this area in 1995; we identified and characterised the anthocyanidin GTase from grapevines. In 2006, Prof. Gideon Davies at The University of York and his group successfully resolved the three-dimensional structure of this enzyme - the outcome of a huge amount of work over the previous three years. Between 2014 and 2018, I was a co-supervisor for PhD student Lieke van der Hulst (principal supervisor Kerry Wilkinson) on a project to examine GTs associated with the formation of glycosides in grapes affected by smoking.
- We have previously undertaken research aimed at unravelling the outcomes of extended maceration (EM) in the production of red wines. During red wine production, the period of contact between berry skins and juice, must or wine may be extended beyond the normal periods to provide additional properties to the finished wine. We hope to both understand the processes and be in a position to advise the wine industry on strategies for achieving desired wine outcomes.
- Research with Prof. Kerry Wilkinson and Dr Nick Dokoozlian (E&J Gallo Winery), conducted by Pietro Previatli as part of the ARC TCIWP (see below) examined the link between sugar accumulation and the accumulation of specialised metabolites in the berry, and the impact upon this 'nexus' of viticultural practices aimed at delaying the rpening of berries.
Currently co-supervising (with Rakesh David and Carlos Lopez): Fei Zheng.
Conferred PhD students: Louise Robinson; Seth DeBolt(P)*; Susan Wheeler; Lin Lin Low; Iraj Tavassolian(P); Venetia Joscelyne(P); Vicky Harris; Vanessa Melino(P); Erminawati Wuriatmo; Alana Capaldo; Crystal Sweetman; Crista Burbidge; Cyd Yonker(P); Martin Mendez; Tony Ogbeide(P); Amy Rinaldo(P); Darren Wong(P); Yong Jia(P); Emily Higginson(P); Lieke van der Hulst; Jenny Bellon(P); Hui Hui Chong(P); Emi Schutz (MPhil); Brent Sams; Jin-Chen Li Pietro Previtali(P).
Past Honours students: Madeleine Griffith; Belinda Sinclair; Christobelle Anderson; Guy Lyons; Sam Gavan; Sam Hambour; Kelly Wellington; Katie Grieve,;Greg Lane; Sid Pachare; Craig Turnbull; Yue Cue; Georgina Leske; Tianyue Yang; Maya Chaudry; Cadell Canute.
Past Masters students: - Mario Mazza; Jayendra Patel; Chandra Rongala, Steve Hicks, Jiahao Zhang.
Past post-docs: Matt Hayes, Crystal Sweetman.
*(P) - principal supervisor
Year Citation 2012 Ford, C. (2012). The biochemistry of organic acids in the grape. In H. Gerós, M. Chaves, & S. Delrot (Eds.), The Biochemistry of the Grape Berry (pp. 67-88). Bentham Science Publishers.
2002 King, B., Paltridge, N., Collins, N., Ford, C., Li, R., Symons, R., & Langridge, P. (2002). A map-based approach towards cloning the Yd2 resistance gene in barley. In M. Henry, & A. McNab (Eds.), Barley yellow dwarf disease: Recent advances and future strategies (pp. 75-77). Mexico: CIMMYT.
Future Drought Fund - Drought Resilience Innovation Grants Program: Resilient and Sustainable Australian Winegrowing Businesses and Communities. 2022. Assoc. Prof. Chris Ford
ARC Training Centre for Innovative Wine Production. IC170100008
Professor Vladimir Jiranek; Associate Professor David Jeffery; Associate Professor Kerry Wilkinson; Professor Stephen Tyerman; Associate Professor Susan Bastian; Dr Richard Muhlack; Associate Professor Cassandra Collins; Dr Vinay Pagay; Professor Matthew Gilliham; Associate Professor Christopher Ford; Associate Professor Paul Grbin; Dr Carlos Rodriguez Lopez; Professor Leigh Schmidtke; Dr Suzy Rogiers; Dr Paul Boss; Mr David Wollan; Dr Jean Macintyre; Mr Christopher Brodies; Dr John Stephen; Mrs Kim Chalmers; Dr Anthony Borneman; Dr Markus Herderich; Dr Nick Dokoozlian.
Wine 2030: Grapevine metabolism: the effects of increased day and night-time temperatures on berry composition of organic acids. 2011. Dr Chris Ford
Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation – Project Ref. UA 1002: Organic acid metabolism and the control of grape berry acidity in a warming climate. 2010-2015. Dr Chris Ford.
Australian Research Council – LIEF Grant LE0989336: The South Australian Facility for Small and Large Molecule X‑Ray Diffraction Structure Determination. Dr CJ Sumby; Prof JA Carver; Prof JC Wallace; Asst Prof M Hrmova; Prof A Pring; Prof AD Abell; Dr GW Booker; Prof MI Bruce; Dr J Brugger; Dr CM Ford; Dr HH Harris; Dr JC Morris; Prof JC Paton; Dr DJ Peet; Dr SM Pyke; Dr KE Shearwin; Dr RI Menz; Dr CA Abbott; Dr PA Anderson; Dr MH Brown; Dr MR Johnston; Dr KA Schuller; Prof AF Lopez; Dr SM Pitson; Prof SF Lincoln; Prof RA McKinnon.
Australian Research Council – Discovery Grant DP0985378: The control of metabolite glucosylation during grape berry development. 2009. Dr Chris Ford, Prof. Dennis Taylor, Dr Mark Thomas, Dr Paul Boss.
Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation – Project Ref. GWR H06/06: Tartaric acid biosynthesis gene expression in Arabidopsis thaliana. Honours scholarship and research support. 2007.
Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation – Project Ref. GWR H06/06: sensory and compositional consequences of extended maceration in red wine making. Honours scholarship and research support. 2007.
Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation – Project Ref. UA 06/02: Organic acid metabolism during grape berry development. 2006-2009;
Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation – Project Ref. UA 05/03: Consequences of extended maceration on the composition of red wines. 2005-2008;
Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation – Project Ref. UA 05/02: The role of ascorbic acid in grape berry development. 2005-2008;
Australian Research Council – Linkage Grant LP0560480; Understanding, controlling and improving the flavour of almond kernels. 2005-2007. Prof. Margaret Sedgley, Dr Brent Kaiser and Dr Chris Ford
Cooperative Research Centre for Viticulture – Sub-program 3, Project 3.3.3 Organic acid metabolism.
March 2003 to September 2006;
$45,000 per annum; $9,000 additional support in 2006 for generation of transgenic grapevines
Cooperative Research Centre for Viticulture – Sub-program 1, Project 1.2 The Tannin Project
July 2003 to June 2005;
$15,000 per annum
Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation – Growth and physiology of Brettanomyces/Dekkera yeast and the production of flavour impact compounds in wine. Paul Grbin, Vladimir Jiranek and Chris Ford.
Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation – Project UA 02/03 Metabolic consequences of the transfer of an entire plant secondary metabolic pathway into grapevine hairy root cultures. March – November 2003;
Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation – Project UA 02/04 An investigation of flavonol glucosyltransferase activity in grapevine tissues. March – November 2003;
Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation – Project UA 01/07 The development of an assay for the activity of tartaric acid biosynthetic enzymes in grapevine tissues. March – November 2002;
Teaching activities - delivery of lectures, practical and tutorials; assessment and ongoing development of curricula:
- I design, develop and deliver approximately half of the lectures, the tutorial classes, and many of the assessment tasks in Agricultural Biochemistry II (2009 -present).
- I design, develop and deliver approximately half of the lectures, the tutorial classes, and many of the assessment tasks for Introductory Winemaking (2001 -present).
- I design, develop and deliver specialized lectures in brewing technology in Fermentation Technology III/PG and Brewing Technology and Beer Production III.
The Bachelor of Applied Biology degree, launched at UA in 2015, was developed under my leadership in 2013 and 2014. I was the Program Convenor for this degree until 2018. As Interim Head of School, in 2019 I approved the deletion of the degree from the university calendar.
- I was the inaugural Course Coordinator (CC) for Animal and Plant Biochemistry II from 2009 to 2017, delivered to around 200 students at the Waite and Roseworthy campuses. I convened the working group that developed this course in 2008.
- From 2001 until 2019 I was the CC for the Level II Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology (BVO) and Masters of Viticulture and Oenology (MVO) course Introductory Winemaking, and until 2018 CC for the Level III course Grape Industry, Practice, Policy and Communications.
- Previously to this I was the CC and principal lecturer for Wine Packaging & Quality Management (2001-2008), and Fermentation Technology (2009-2010).
- In 2020 I became the CC for Experiences and Perspectives in the Wine Industry, the capstone course of our Master in Viticulture and Oenology program.
- In 2023 I became the CC for the Level 2 course Microbiology for Viticulture and Oenology.
Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)
Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name 2022 Co-Supervisor The role of dicistronic tRNA-mRNA transcripts in plant systemic signalling and its application as a mobile genome-editing system for grapevine functional genomics Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Fei Zheng
Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)
Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name 2018 - 2022 Co-Supervisor Understanding Spatiotemporal Patterns of Chemical Attributes in ‘Vitis vinifera’ L. cv. Cabernet Sauvignon Vineyards in Central California as a Basis for Predicting Fruit Composition Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Brent Shipley Sams 2018 - 2022 Principal Supervisor The Sugar/Flavour Nexus in Grapes: Uncovering Its Identity and Relevance for Industry Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Pietro Previtali 2017 - 2019 Principal Supervisor Microbial Biosynthesis of Grapevine Specialised Metabolites Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Miss Emi Kaye Schutz 2016 - 2021 Co-Supervisor Biological Solutions to 3-Isobutyl-2-Methoxypyrazine Remediation in Wine Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Jin-Chen Li 2014 - 2018 Co-Supervisor The Analysis of Grapevine Response to Smoke Exposure Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Lieke Van Der Hulst 2014 - 2016 Co-Supervisor Investigations and Applications of Self-Sufficient Cytochrome P450 Monooxygenases Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr Samuel Munday 2012 - 2016 Principal Supervisor The Genetic Basis of Acid Composition in Developing Berries of This Cultivated Grapevine Vitis vinifera Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Emily Grace Higginson 2012 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Role of Soluble Cell Wall Carbohydrates in Sensory Mouthfeel Attributes of Red and White Wines Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Hui Hui Chong 2012 - 2013 Principal Supervisor Consumer Willingness to Pay Premiums for the Benefits of Organic Wine and the Expert Service of Wine Retailers Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Osadebamwen Anthony Ogbeide 2011 - 2016 Principal Supervisor Molecular and Structural Characterization of the Candidate Enzymes Responsible for Tartaric Acid Synthesis in the Grapevine Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Yong Jia 2011 - 2014 Principal Supervisor Ascorbate metabolism during fruit development Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Darren Chern Jan Wong 2010 - 2014 Principal Supervisor An Investigation of the Role of the Regulatory Gene VvMYBA1 in Colour, Flavour and Aroma Metabolism Using Transgenic Grapevines Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Amy Rinaldo 2009 - 2012 Principal Supervisor The Influence of Cabernet Sauvignon Grape Maturity on the Concentration and Extraction of Colour and Phenolic Compounds in Wine Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Cynthia Yonker 2009 - 2012 Co-Supervisor Factors Affecting the Levels of 3 Isobutyl 2 Methoxpyrazine and C6 Compounds in Vitis Vinifera L Merlot Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Martin Pablo Mendez Costabel 2008 - 2018 Principal Supervisor The Development and Evolution of Saccharomyces Interspecific Hybrids for Improved, Industry Relevant, Phenotypes Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Ms Jennifer Bellon 2008 - 2011 Co-Supervisor Application of Citral to Control Postharvest Diseases of Oranges Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Erminawati Wuryatmo 2007 - 2012 Co-Supervisor Genes and Mechanisms Responsible for Beta-Glucose Metabolism in the Oenologically Important Lactic Acid Bacterium Oenococcus Oeni Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Dr Alana Seabrook 2006 - 2009 Co-Supervisor Physiological, Biochemical and Molecular Characterisation of Hydroxycinnamic Acid Catabolism by Dekkera and Brettanomyces Yeasts Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Miss Victoria Harris 2005 - 2009 Principal Supervisor Ascorbate Metabolism in Grape Berries during Development Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Vanessa Melino 2005 - 2009 Principal Supervisor Consequences of Extended Maceration for Red Wine Colour and Phenolics Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Venetia Joscelyne 2004 - 2008 Principal Supervisor Construction of a Microsatellite Base Genetic Linkage Map of Almond Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Iraj Tavassolian 2003 - 2007 Co-Supervisor The Role of Abscisic Acid in Grape Berry Development Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Susan Wheeler 2003 - 2007 Co-Supervisor Evaluation of Tartrate Stabilisation Technologies for Wine Industry Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Ms Lin Low 2003 - 2006 Principal Supervisor Tartaric Acid Biosynthesis in Plants Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Prof Seth DeBolt 2002 - 2004 Co-Supervisor Identification of Pollen Donors for Olive Cultivars Master of Applied Science Master Full Time Miss Sonali Mookerjee 2001 - 2005 Principal Supervisor An investigation of a barley protein (SE/BTI-CMe) and its influence on beer haze stability Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Louise Robinson
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