Dr Neil Shirley

Postdoctoral Fellow

School of Agriculture, Food and Wine

Faculty of Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.


Whilst starting out in synthetic organic chemistry, over the years my research interests have shifted to plant biology. More particularly, I am interested in the plant cell wall, that feature of the plant cell which protects it from environmental stresses and biological attack. This wall must be strong enough to protect but supple enough to change and expand in a controlled manner to allow the plant to grow. The cell wall consists of a complex mixture of polysaccharides together with some protein. Some plants extrude parts of this mix into the environment producing sticky mucilage with properties which allow seeds to germinate and roots to grow more easily. The genes involved in the synthesis of all of the polysaccharides of the wall are not well understood. The identification and expression patterns of cell wall genes has been the primary focus for my research. I work with staple food crops such as barley and rice as well as pineapple, banana, chia, (Salvia hispanica) and Plantago ovata, a plant that produces edible mucilage from the seeds.

Adelaide GlycoScience Group

Dr Neil Shirley's Research Tools - Triptych

Shown above are some of the (more colourful) tools I use to look at the relationship between, in this case, plant cell wall genes and when and where they are expressed in plant tissues. This also allows me to examine what genes may be expressed together in a functional cohort. Examples of this type of analysis appear in the publications listed below.

For many years (2010-2016), I have been involved with teaching a bioinformatics component of the Masters course entitled "Techniques in Plant Biotechnology".

  • Position: Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Phone: 83137260
  • Email: neil.shirley@adelaide.edu.au
  • Fax: 8313 7102
  • Campus: Waite
  • Building: Wine Innovation Central, floor 4
  • Room: 4 25
  • Org Unit: School of Agriculture, Food and Wine

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