Head, School of Agriculture, Food & Wine
School of Agriculture, Food and Wine
Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology
Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.
Jason is the Head of School of Agriculture, Food & Wine. From a research perspective, he leads the national faba bean breeding program with the University of Adelaide being the lead organisation. Working in collaboration with the University of Sydney, SARDI and NSW DPI, the program aims to drive forward grower profitability for this high value pulse commodity.
Jason also has a diverse range of research interests, the results of which can eventually be applied to breeding programs. They include:
* Fundamental science that centres on micro RNAs (miRNAs) and their role in enhancing crop productivity (through either stress adaptation and/or reproductive fitness);
* Understanding the molecular mechanisms that control meiosis in bread and durum wheat;
* Ranking and screening barley and wheat varieties for frost tolerance, where he led the National Frost Initiative that was invested through the GRDC;
* Elucidating key compounds that contribute to barley malt flavour.
Jason is a Professor in Plant Breeding. Between 2010-2021, he led the durum wheat breeding program at the Waite (Durum Breeding Australia - Southern Node), which was focussed on developing new durum wheat varieties for our ever-changing environments and an ever-expanding market. During that time, Jason released his first variety DBA Aurora in 2014, his second in 2018 (DBA Spes), and third in 2019 (DBA Artemis); while he also played an important role in releasing WID802 and Yawa (both in 2012). DBA Aurora was a step-change variety and to this day still enjoys significant market share nationally. Jason currently leads the national faba bean breeding program, which is invested through the GRDC and has a number of collaborators including SARDI, the University of Sydney and NSW DPI. Jason and his team have developed excellent collaborative linkages with many colleagues, including: E/Professor Diane Mather (University of Adelaide), Professor Amanda Able (University of Adelaide), Dr Mike Sissons (NSW DPI), Professor Carla Ceoloni (University of Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy) and Professor Graham Moore (John Innes Centre, UK). Jason is actively engaged with multiple grain and pulse stakeholders across Australia and around the globe. Key stakeholders nationally include the Southern Australia Durum Growers Association (SADGA), GRDC, SAGIT, San Remo Macaroni Company Pty Ltd, MAURI anz, Mellco, Coopers and Viterra.
Funding for the durum breeding program and closely aligned research is primarily from the GRDC, SAGIT and San Remo Macaroni Pty Ltd. Since 2012, Jason has been awarded grants worth in excess of $32,000,000. Below is a selection of some of the major projects he is currently involved in:
- 2020-2023 University of Adelaide (UA) chief investigator (CI) for a category-1 GRDC tender named ‘Using novel genetic diversity to increase Barley yields nationally’. A total of $926,372 over 3 years has been invested.
- 2020-2023 UA CI for a category-1 GRDC tender named 'Pulse Breeding Australia: Faba Bean Breeding'. A total in excess of $3,500,000 is being invested.
- 2020-2021 UA CI for a category-1 GRDC tender named ‘Durum Breeding Australia (DBA)’. A total of $1,250,000 over 1 year has been invested.
- 2018-2021 UA CI for a category-1 GRDC tender named ‘Improving Australian malt barley flavour to address Chinese brewing requirements’. Industry partners include Coopers and Glencore. A total of $1,177,154 over 3 years has been invested.
- 2019-2020 UA CI for a category-1 GRDC tender named ‘Durum Breeding Australia (DBA)’. A total of $1,250,000 over 1 year was invested.
- 2017-2020 UA CI for a category-3 SAGIT grant entitled: ‘Enhanced N-use efficiency in durum through improved genetics’. A total of $199,084 over three years was invested.
Jason coordinates the third year elective Plant Breeding III and lectures the majority of this course. He also coordinates the third year elective Plant Biotechnology III and contributes to components of another third year course, Professional Skills in Agricultural Science III. Jason also lectures to second year science undergraduates in the Bachelor of Science covering the broad area of plant biotechnology (in Principles of Biotechnology II). Since 2011, Jason has coordinated and led the 3rd year undergraduate field trip that explores the agricultural systems in and around South-East QLD. Between 2012-2016 (inclusive) Jason was the program coordinator for the Bachelor of Agricultural Sciences.
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