Professor Matthew Gilliham
Director, Waite Research Institute
Waite Research Institute
Division of Research and Innovation
Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.
Matthew is Director of the Waite Research Institute, the University of Adelaide’s flagship for agriculture, food and wine innovation. 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).
Matthew’s areas of research specialisation is crop plant nutrition and stress resilience with a focus on salinity and drought tolerance. Specifically, his group studies transport and signalling mechanisms underpinning these processes with the aim of having them applied through plant breeding to improve crop yield and quality in production systems.
As Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plants for Space (P4S) he is leading a large scale program in space agriculture - specifically the growth and adaptation of plants to space environments and the production of novel bio products in plants to enable long-term space habitation, and to use these innovations to improve on Earth sustainability.
Matthew is a current Web of Science Highly Cited Author (1 of only 196 animal and plant scientists globally). He and his research group have won a number of other 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.
Matthew’s past roles have included 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, member of the South Australian Government's Science and Innovation Council and Honorary Secretary of the Australian Society for Plant Scientists.
Matthew 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.
- My Research
- Grants and Funding
- Professional Activities
Matthew is Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plants for Space. For more information see here: ARC P4S press release. This 7-year, $90M Centre is currently in establishment phase and will officially launch Q3 2023.
Matthew'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 production systems. His main areas of study include salinity tolerance, anionic nutrition (particularly 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).
- Confirmation that GABA is a signal in plants through the discovery that it regulates stomatal guard cell opening, water use efficiency and drought tolerance (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...).
He has also authored well-respected reviews in his key areas of study: salt tolerance; chloride transport; single cell transport processes and GABA signalling.
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.
Further details on domestic or international scholarships can be found here http://www.adelaide.edu.au/scholarships/ or the admission's website.
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 - ongoing Premier’s Science and Innovation Council for South Australia Government of South Australia 2019 - ongoing Director, Waite Research Institute Waite Research Institute, University of Adelaide 2018 - ongoing Group Convenor Society for Experimental Biology 2018 - ongoing Monitoring Editor Plant Physiology, ASPB 2017 - ongoing Deputy Head of School (Research) University of Adelaide 2017 - ongoing 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 - ongoing 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 2019 Recognition Highly Cited Researcher Web of Science, Clarivate United States - 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 - Adelaide, T. U. O., David, R., Tyerman, S., Gilliham, M., Hooper, C., & Castleden, I. (n.d.). Knowledgebase of Crop Transport information, Physiology and Signalling (CropTiPS) version 1.0.
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 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)
Matthew has taught 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 2023 Principal Supervisor GABA Signalling in Plants and its Role in Drought Tolerance Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Mohammad Karami 2023 Principal Supervisor 'Mycrobes' in Lunar and Martian regolith simulants: how to make soil on moons and other planets Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr Martin John Lambert 2022 Co-Supervisor Towards the development of novel herbicide modes of action. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Emily Rose Ronayne Mackie 2022 Principal Supervisor Biomanufacturing in plants. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Matthew Fox Morgan 2022 Co-Supervisor Developing Duckweed as a Novel Protein Crop for Closed Environment Agriculture and Off Planet Applications Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Jonathan Harriman Diab 2022 Principal Supervisor Using LEDs to optimise duckweed physiology and nutrition for Astrofarming applications Doctor of Philosophy under a Jointly-awarded Degree Agreement with Doctorate Full Time Mr Robert Calgacus Rintoul 2021 Principal Supervisor Investigating New Mechanisms of Crop Salt Tolerance Doctor of Philosophy under a Jointly-awarded Degree Agreement with Doctorate Full Time Mr Sebastian Garcia Daga 2020 Principal Supervisor Genetic Basis of Salt Exclusion in Grapevine Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Andres Zhou Tsang
Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)
Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name 2018 - 2021 Co-Supervisor The Role and Function of Cation Chloride Cotransporters in Plants Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Daniel Walter McKay 2018 - 2023 Principal Supervisor Manipulating Grapevine Bud Fruitfulness Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Xiaoyi Wang 2018 - 2023 Principal Supervisor The Role of GABA in Plant Salinity and Hypoxia Responses Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Ying Meng 2018 - 2022 Principal Supervisor Exploring the Role of GABA in Stomatal CO2 Responses and Carbon Metabolism Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Adriane Piechatzek 2017 - 2022 Principal Supervisor GABA regulation of gas exchange in barley (Hordeum vulgare) Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Na Sai 2016 - 2021 Principal Supervisor GABA regulation of stomatal function in Arabidopsis thaliana Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Xueying Feng 2015 - 2019 Principal Supervisor Functional Study of Grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) Membrane Ion Transporters Related to Salt Tolerance Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Yue Wu 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 - 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 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 - 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 Board name Institution name Country 2020 - ongoing Director Australian Grain Technologies Board Australian Grain Technologies Australia 2020 - ongoing Member Australian Plant Phenomics Facility Advisory Board Australian Plant Phenomics Facility Australia
Date Role Committee Institution Country 2019 - ongoing Member South Australian Premiers Science and Innovation Council South Australian Government Australia 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 Title Engagement Type Institution Country 2020 - ongoing Faculty Opinions (formerly F1000prime) Faculty Member Scientific Community Engagement Faculty Opinions -
Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country 2020 - ongoing Editor Plant Communications Cell Press China 2018 - ongoing Editor Plant Physiology American Society for Plant Biology United States
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