Director Waite Research Institute
Waite Research Institute
Division of Research and Innovation
Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.
Matt is Director of the Waite Research Institute, the University of Adelaide’s flagship for agriculture, food and wine research. As Director his role is to stimulate and support new research initiatives across the spectrum of agricultural research (from policy and economics, to animal, soil and crop sciences). He is also Professor of Crop Molecular Physiology in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, program leader in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, Chief Investigator on the ARC Training Centre for Innovative Wine Production, convenor for the Adapting to abiotic stress and climate change special interest group of the Society for Experimental Biology, UK, and recent Honorary Secretary of the Australian Society for Plant Scientists.
Matt’s areas of research specialisation is crop plant nutrition and stress resilience with a focus on salinity and drought tolerance. Specifically, his group studies the transport and signalling processes that underpin improvements in crop nutrition and stress tolerance. His research is applied through plant breeding to modify key physiological processes in plants to improve crop yield and quality in the field.
Matt gained a BSc in Ecology from Lancaster University and a PhD in Plant Physiology from the University of Cambridge, UK. After a postdoc at Cambridge, he immigrated to Australia to run the Plant Transport and Signalling Laboratory at the Waite Campus, University of Adelaide, in 2006.
- My Research
- Grants and Funding
- Professional Activities
Matt's group studies the transport and signalling processes that underpin improvements in crop nutrition and stress tolerance. His research scales from genetics, through cell biology and whole plant physiology. Where applicable, his lab's fundamental research is then applied through plant breeding to modify signalling and transport processes in plants to improve crop yield and quality in the field. His main areas of study include salinity tolerance, anionic nutrition (particulary chloride) and GABA signalling. Notable advances his group have made include:
- The first demonstration that wheat salt tolerance and grain yield can be improved in the field through modification of transport genes (Nature Biotechnology).
- The discovery of a mechanism by which GABA could act as a stress signal in plants (GABA-regulated anion channels) (Nature Communications).
- The discovery that cell-specific ion accumulation has physiological roles (Plant Cell, New Phytologist)
- Frequent demonstrations that cell-specific ion transport processes are critical for stress tolerance and nutrition (e.g. Plant Physiology, Plant Journal...).
Matt and his research group have won a number of awards, honours and fellowships for their work, including ARC Future Fellowships, ARC DECRA Fellowships, ASPB Highly Cited Author, SA Tall Poppy Awards, the Australian Society for Plant Scientists Goldacre Award, and the Australian Federal Government Science and Innovation Award for Young People in Agriculture.
For more information, see his lab website: Plant Transport and Signalling lab
or, The Centre of Excellence website: Plant Energy Biology
Interested in applying to Matt's research group?
The University of Adelaide offers both Australian Postgraduate Awards (APA) and divisional scholarships to domestic students based on academic merit, and a range of scholarships for international students.
Postdoctoral positions arise from time to time, so if you're interested please get in touch and Matt will get back to you ASAP.
- For general postdoctoral scholarships see: Australian Research Council (ARC)
- China - http://www.csc.edu.cn
- Germany - http://www.daad.de
- USA - http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=5179&org=OISE&from=fund
- EU residents - http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/fp6/mariecurie-actions/action/fellow_en.html
- Japan - http://www.jsps.go.jp/english/e-pd/ab.htm
Date Position Institution name 2019 Premier’s Science and Innovation Council for South Australia Government of South Australia 2019 Director, Waite Research Institute Waite Research Institute, University of Adelaide 2018 Group Convenor Society for Experimental Biology 2018 Monitoring Editor Plant Physiology, ASPB 2017 Deputy Head of School (Research) University of Adelaide 2017 Professor Univeristy of Adelaide 2017 - 2018 Honorary Secretary Australian Society for Plant Scientists 2015 - 2016 Associate Professor University of Adelaide 2014 - 2017 ARC Future Fellow University of Adelaide 2014 ARC Centre of Excellence Chief Investigator University of Adelaide 2013 - 2014 Senior Lecturer University of Adelaide 2006 - 2012 Senior Research Fellow University of Adelaide
Awards and Achievements
Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount 2017 Research Award Executive Dean of Sciences Research Excellence Award University of Adelaide Australia — 2014 Fellowship ARC Future Fellowship University of Adelaide Australia — 2013 Award Science and Innovation Award ABRES (Australian Federal Government) Australia — 2012 Award South Australian Tall Poppy Australian Institute of Policy and Science Australia — 2012 Award Group of Eight China-Australia Fellowship — Australia —
Date Institution name Country Title — University of Cambridge United Kingdom PhD Plant Sciences — Lancaster University United Kingdom BSc Ecology
Year Citation 2016 Byrt, C. S., Zhao, M., Kourghi, M., Bose, J., Henderson, S. W., Qui, J., . . . Tyerman, S. (2016). Charging up water transport with plant aquaporins permeable to ions. Poster session presented at the meeting of Combio2016. Brisbane, Australia.
Curated or Produced Public Exhibition or Events
Year Citation 2015 Waters, S., Gilliham, M., & Hrmova, M. (2015). Micro-biomachines helping plants survive salt (No. Of Pieces: 1-2) [Exhibition]. University of Adelaide: E-Science Magazine of the University of Adelaide.
Year Citation 2017 Sai, N., Rodriguez Lopez, C. M., Bogias, K., Pederson, S., Burgess, A., Breen, J., . . . David, R. (2017). Bioinformatic pipeline to detect di-cistronic RNA transcripts from RNA-sequencing data [Computer Software]. — David, R., Hooper, C. M., Castleden, I. R., Gilliham, M., & Tyerman, S. (n.d.). CropTiPS database (Crop Transport information, Physiology and Signalling) - www.croptips.org [Computer Software].
Current and Recent Grants
ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Innovative Wine Production (2018-2022)
ARC Future Fellow (2014-2017) Chloride Transport in Plant
ARC Discovery (2017-2019) GABA signalling in plants
ARC Linkage (2015-2018) Ancient diversity in aridity and salinity tolerance of cereals
GRDC Large Grant (2013-2017) Improving salinity tolerance of cereals
Wine Australia (2014-2017) Molecular markers for salt tolerance in grapevine
International Wheat Yield Partnership (2016-2019) Improving wheat energy use efficiency
Australian National Data Service (2016-2017) CropTIPS - Transport Information, Physiology and Signalling;
Australian National Data Service (2017-2018) AGRICONNECT - linking Australian Agricultural Databases
GRDC Infrastructure Grant - Enhancing the growth infrastructure at the Waite Campus (2017-2018)
ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre in Innovative Wine Production (2018-2023)
AgRDC (NCRIS) Enhancing high value datasets in Agriculture (2018-2019)
GRDC Infrastructure Grant - CT Scanner for high throughput shoot and root phenotyping (2018-2019)
Matt teaches into the Bachelor of Applied Biology, Viticulture and Oenology and Agricultural Science degrees, and the Masters in Biotechnology (Plant Biotechnology) program.
Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)
Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name 2018 Co-Supervisor Investigating The Effect of Ion Transport in Plants Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Daniel Walter McKay 2018 Co-Supervisor Understanding Root Responses of Cereals Conferring Tolerance to Alkaline Sodic Soils Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Jakob Schulz 2018 Principal Supervisor The Role of GABA in Controlling Plant Gas Exchange During Stress Events Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Adriane Piechatzek 2018 Principal Supervisor Understanding the Limits of Grapevine Water Stress and Recovery Therefrom Based On Xylem Cavitation Resistance Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Ying Meng 2018 Principal Supervisor Molecular Genetic Control on Grapevine Bud Fruitfulness Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Xiaoyi Wang 2017 Principal Supervisor GABA Signalling in Cereals Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Na Sai 2016 Principal Supervisor GABA Signaling in Plants Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Xueying Feng 2015 Principal Supervisor Salinity Tolerance in Grapevine Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Yue Wu
Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)
Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name 2014 - 2017 Principal Supervisor Functional Characterisation of GmSALT3, a Candidate Gene for Conferring Salt Tolerance in Soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Yue Qu 2014 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Defining Transcriptional Networks Associated with Plant Salinity Tolerance Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Shanika Lakmini Amarasinghe 2013 - 2018 Co-Supervisor The Role of Aquaporins in Plant Responses to Drought Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Johannes Daniel Scharwies 2013 - 2015 Principal Supervisor Investigating factors that affect grapevine fruit set during abiotic stress Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Dr Satwinder Kaur 2011 - 2015 Principal Supervisor Investigation of chloride transport mechanisms in Arabidopsis thaliana root Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Jiaen Qiu 2010 - 2013 Principal Supervisor Characterisation of a novel calcium sensor in Arabidopsis thaliana Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Bo Xu 2010 - 2013 Co-Supervisor POT Proteins are Important for Chloride Transport in Arabidopsis Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Bo Li 2010 - 2015 Co-Supervisor Grapevine Reproductive Performance: The Role of Amines, and the Effect of Salt and Silicon Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Tintu Baby 2010 - 2014 Principal Supervisor Investigating genes encoding membrane proteins in grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) and Vitis spp. rootstocks to determine their role in chloride exclusion Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Sam Henderson 2010 - 2015 Principal Supervisor The Role of Calcium in the Cell Wall of Grape Berries Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Brad Hocking
Date Role Committee Institution Country 2018 - ongoing Chair Adapting to abiotic stress and climate change special interest group Society for Experimental Biology United Kingdom 2017 - ongoing Secretary Australian Society for Plant Scientists — —
Date Role Membership Country 2015 - ongoing Member American Society for Enology and Viticulture United States 2012 - ongoing Member Australian Society for Viticulture and Oenology (ASVO) Australia 2006 - ongoing Member American Society for Plant Biology (ASPB) United States 2006 - ongoing Member Australian Society for Plant Scientists (ASPS) Australia 1998 - ongoing Member Society for Experimental Biology (SEB) United Kingdom
Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country 2018 - ongoing Editor Plant Physiology American Society for Plant Biology United States
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