Dr Nicholas Collins

Nicholas Collins
ARC Senior Research Associate
School of Agriculture, Food and Wine
Faculty of Sciences

My current research focus is the genetics and physiology of heat tolerance in wheat. I also have expertise in cereal tolerance to other abiotic stresses and resistance to viral and fungal diseases.

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Dr Nicholas Collins

My current research focus is the genetics and physiology of heat tolerance in wheat. I also have expertise in cereal tolerance to other abiotic stresses and resistance to viral and fungal diseases.

My background is in cereal molecular genetics, with a particular strength in positional cloning of genes for useful traits, to generate basic knowledge and breeding tools. After completing a PhD on barley yellow dwarf virus at the University of Adelaide, I worked on rust resistance at CSIRO and durable resistance to powdery mildew in the Sainsbury Laboratory UK.  In 2003, I moved back to Adelaide to join the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics where I have worked on tolerance to frost, salinity, boron toxicity, aluminium toxicity and heat.

I currently lead a research group working on heat tolerance in wheat within the University of Adelaide. The main focus is on the effects of the short heat waves that commonly occur during the sensitive reproductive developmental stages of the crop, in Southern Australia and many other parts of the world. These events cause failed grain set (floret sterility) when the heat occurs prior to head emergence, or reduced final grain size when the heat occurs at early grain filling.

We use growth chambers to apply heat treatments at particular developmental stages and combine these data with molecular marker information (such as DArTseq) to identify chromosome regions controlling variation for heat tolerance. This information is being used to develop molecular markers to enable breeders to more effectively select new heat tolerant varieties. We also conduct field trials in collaboration NSW-DPI, where late sowing is used to expose plots to late season heat stress. With my collaborators at NSW-DPI, we are also investigating the effects of heat on end-use quality traits relating to bread and pasta making.

Our work also aims to uncover basic knowledge of mechanisms of heat tolerance effects, by undertaking physiological, anatomical and ‘omics studies, in addition to positional cloning of the underlying heat tolerance genes.

Two heat tolerance assays in wheat targeting different effects on reproductive development
Two heat tolerance assays in wheat targeting different aspects of reproductive development



Date Position Institution name
2016 Research Fellow University of Adelaide
2003 - 2016 University Research Fellow Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics, University of Adelaide
1999 - 2003 Postdoctoral Scientist Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich
1996 - 1999 Postdoctoral Scientist Plant Industry (CSIRO), Canberra


Date Institution name Country Title
1991 - 1995 University of Adelaide Australia PhD
1990 - 1990 Monash University Australia Honours
1987 - 1989 Monash University Australia Bachelor of Science

Research Interests

Crop and Pasture Improvement, Genetics, Plant Biology


Year Citation
2017 Lohraseb, I., Collins, N. & Parent, B. (2017). Diverging temperature responses of CO₂ assimilation and plant development explain the overall effect of temperature on biomass accumulation in wheat leaves and grains. AoB Plants, 9, 1, plw092-1-plw092-13.
2016 Shirdelmoghanloo, H., Lohraseb, I., Rabie, H., Brien, C., Parent, B. & Collins, N. (2016). Heat susceptibility of grain filling in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) linked with rapid chlorophyll loss during a 3-day heat treatment. Acta Physiologiae Plantarum, 38, 8, 208-1-208-11.
2016 Shirdelmoghanloo, H., Cozzolino, D., Lohraseb, I. & Collins, N. C. (2016). Truncation of grain filling in wheat (Triticum aestivum) triggered by brief heat stress during early grain filling: association with senescence responses and reductions in stem reserves. Functional Plant Biology, 43, 10, 919-930.
2016 Kamino, L., Singh, D., Pallotta, M., Collins, N. & Park, R. (2016). Mapping of seedling resistance in barley to Puccinia striiformis f. sp. pseudohordei. Journal of Applied Genetics, 57, 1, 37-44.
2016 Pinto, R., Lopes, M., Collins, N. & Reynolds, M. (2016). Modelling and genetic dissection of staygreen under heat stress. Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 129, 11, 2055-2074.
2016 Shirdelmoghanloo, H., Taylor, J., Lohraseb, I., Rabie, H., Brien, C., Timmins, A. ... Collins, N. (2016). A QTL on the short arm of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) chromosome 3B affects the stability of grain weight in plants exposed to a brief heat shock early in grain filling. BMC Plant Biology, 16, 1, 100-1-100-15.
2014 Maphosa, L., Collins, N. C., Taylor, J. & Mather, D. E. (2014). Post-anthesis heat and a Gpc-B1 introgression have similar but non-additive effects in bread wheat. Functional Plant Biology, 41, 9, 1002-1008.
2014 Lüpken, T., Stein, N., Perovic, D., Habekuß, A., Serfling, A., Krämer, I. ... Ordon, F. (2014). High-resolution mapping of the barley Ryd3 locus controlling tolerance to BYDV. Molecular Breeding, 33, 2, 477-488.
2014 Arthur, K., Collins, N., Yazarlou, A. & Randles, J. (2014). Nucleotide sequence diversity in Velvet tobacco mottle virus: a virus with a unique Australian pathosystem. Virus Genes, 48, 1, 168-173.
2013 Shavrukov, Y., Bovill, J., Afzal, I., Hayes, J., Roy, S., Tester, M. & Collins, N. (2013). HVP10 encoding V-PPase is a prime candidate for the barley HvNax3 sodium exclusion gene: evidence from fine mapping and expression analysis. Planta, 237, 4, 1111-1122.
2013 Acevedo-Garcia, J., Collins, N., Ahmadinejad, N., Ma, L., Houben, A., Bednarek, P. ... Panstruga, R. (2013). Fine mapping and chromosome walking towards the Ror1 locus in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 126, 12, 2969-2982.
2013 Houston, K., McKim, S., Comadran, J., Bonar, N., Druka, I., Uzrek, N. ... Waugh, R. (2013). Variation in the interaction between alleles of HvAPETALA2 and microRNA172 determines the density of grains on the barley inflorescence. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110, 41, 16675-16680.
2012 Arthur, K., Collins, N. & Randles, J. (2012). Mutation rate in Velvet tobacco mottle virus varies between genomic region and virus variant but is not influenced by obligatory mirid transmission. Virus Genes, 45, 3, 575-580.
2011 Rivandi, A., Miyazaki, J., Hrmova, M., Pallotta, M., Tester, M. & Collins, N. (2011). A SOS3 homologue maps to HvNax4, a barley locus controlling an environmentally sensitive Na⁺ exclusion trait. Journal of Experimental Botany, 62, 3, 1201-1216.
2010 Shavrukov, Y., Gupta, N., Miyazaki, J., Baho, M., Chalmers, K., Tester, M. ... Collins, N. (2010). HvNax3-a locus controlling shoot sodium exclusion derived from wild barley (Hordeum vulgare ssp. spontaneum). Functional & Integrative Genomics, 10, 2, 277-291.
2010 Shi, B., Sutton, T., Collins, N., Pallotta, M. & Langridge, P. (2010). Construction of a barley bacterial artificial chromosome library suitable for cloning genes for boron tolerance, sodium exclusion and high grain zinc content. Plant Breeding, 129, 3, 291-296.
2010 Bulgarelli, D., Biselli, C., Collins, N., Consonni, G., Stanca, A., Schulze-Lefert, P. & Vale, G. (2010). The CC-NB-LRR-Type Rdg2a resistance gene confers immunity to the seed-borne barley leaf stripe pathogen in the absence of hypersensitive cell death. PLoS One, 5, 9, 1-14.
2009 Chen, A., Reinheimer, J., Brûlé-Babel, A., Baumann, U., Pallotta, M., Fincher, G. & Collins, N. (2009). Genes and traits associated with chromosome 2H and 5H regions controlling sensitivity of reproductive tissues to frost in barley. Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 118, 8, 1465-1476.
2009 Chen, A., Baumann, U., Fincher, G. & Collins, N. (2009). Flt-2L, a locus in barley controlling flowering time, spike density, and plant height. Functional & Integrative Genomics, 9, 2, 243-254.
2009 Chen, A., Gusta, L., Brule-Babel, A., Leach, R., Baumann, U., Fincher, G. & Collins, N. (2009). Varietal and chromosome 2H locus-specific frost tolerance in reproductive tissues of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) detected using a frost simulation chamber. Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 119, 4, 685-694.
2009 Shi, B., Gustafson, J., Button, J., Miyazaki, J., Pallotta, M., Gustafson, N. ... Collins, N. (2009). Physical analysis of the complex rye (Secale cereale L.) Alt4 aluminium (aluminum) tolerance locus using a whole-genome BAC library of rye cv. Blanco. Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 119, 4, 695-704.
2009 Chen, A., Brûlé-Babel, A., Baumann, U. & Collins, N. (2009). Structure-function analysis of the barley genome: the gene-rich region of chromosome 2HL. Functional & Integrative Genomics, 9, 1, 67-79.
2008 Collins, N., Tardieu, F. & Tuberosa, R. (2008). Quantitative trait loci and crop performance under abiotic stress: Where do we stand?. Plant Physiology, 147, 2, 469-486.
2008 Collins, N., Shirley, N., Saeed, M., Pallotta, M. & Gustafson, J. (2008). An ALMT1 gene cluster controlling aluminum tolerance at the Alt4 locus of rye (Secale cereale L.). Genetics, 179, 1, 669-682.
2008 Haegi, A., Bonardi, V., Dall'aglio, E., Glissant, D., Tumino, G., Collins, N. ... Vale, G. (2008). Histological and molecular analysis of Rdg2a barley resistance to leaf stripe. Molecular Plant Pathology, 9, 4, 463-478.
2007 Sutton, T., Baumann, U., Hayes, J., Collins, N., Shi, B., Schnurbusch, T. ... Langridge, P. (2007). Boron toxicity tolerance in barley arising from efflux transporter amplification. Science, 318, 5855, 1446-1449.
2007 Collins, N., Niks, R. & Schulze-Lefert, P. (2007). Resistance to cereal rusts at the plant cell wall-what can we learn from other host-pathogen systems?. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, 58, 6, 476-789.
2007 Schnurbusch, T., Collins, N., Eastwood, R., Sutton, T., Jefferies, S. & Langridge, P. (2007). Fine mapping and targeted SNP survey using rice-wheat gene colinearity in the region of the Bo1 boron toxicity tolerance locus of bread wheat. Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 115, 4, 451-461.
2007 Shi, B. J., Miftahudin, T., Collins, N., Langridge, P. & Gustafson, P. (2007). Construction of a rye cv. Blanco BAC library, and progress towards cloning the rye Alt3 aluminium [aluminum] tolerance gene. Vortraege fuer Pflanzenzuechtung, 2007, 71, 205-209.
2006 Tacconi, G., Baldassarre, V., Collins, N., Bulgarelli, D., Stanca, A. & Vale, G. (2006). Haplotype characterization and markers at the barley Mlo powdery mildew resistance locus as tools for marker-assisted selection. Genome, 49, 8, 864-872.
2005 Jarosch, B., Collins, N., Zellerhoff, N. & Schaffrath, U. (2005). RAR1, ROR1, and the actin cytoskeleton contribute to basal resistance to magnaporthe grisea in barley. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, 18, 5, 397-404.
2004 Bulgarelli, D., Collins, N., Tacconi, G., Kleinhofs, A., Stanca, A., Vale, G. ... Brueggeman, R. (2004). High-resolution genetic mapping of the leaf stripe resistance gene Rdg2a in barley. Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 108, 7, 1401-1408.
2003 Collins, N., Thordal-Christensen, H., Lipka, V., Bau, S., Kombrink, E., Qiu, J. ... Schulze-Lefert, P. (2003). SNARE-protein-mediated disease resistance at the plant cell wall. Nature, 425, 6961, 973-977.
2003 Madsen, L., Collins, N., Rakwalska, M., Backes, G., Sandal, N., Krusell, L. ... Stougaard, J. (2003). Barley disease resistance gene analogs of the NBS-LRR class: identification and mapping. Molecular Genetics and Genomics, 269, 1, 150-161.
2002 Toyoda, K., Collins, N. & Takahashi, A. (2002). Resistance and Susceptibility of Plants to Fungal Pathogens. Transgenic Research, 11, 6, 567-582.
2002 Webb, C., Richter, T., Collins, N., Nicolas, M., Trick,, H., Pryor, A. & Hulbert, S. (2002). Genetic and molecular characterization of the maize rp3 rust resistance locus. Genetics, 162, 1, 381-394.
2002 Piffanelli, P., Zhou, F., Casais, C., Orme, J., Jarosch, B., Schaffrath, U. ... Schulze-Lefert, P. (2002). The barley MLO modulator of defense and cell death Is responsive to biotic and abiotic stress stimuli. Plant Physiology, 129, 3, 1076-1085.
2001 Collins, N., Lahaye, T., Peterhansel, C., Freialdenhoven, A., Corbitt, M. & Schulze-Lefert, P. (2001). Sequence haplotypes revealed by sequence-tagged site fine mapping of the Ror1 gene in the centromeric region of barley chromosome 1H. Plant Physiology, 125, 3, 1236-1247.
2001 Collins, N., Park, R., Spielmeyer, W., Pryor, A. & Ellis, J. (2001). Resistance gene analogs in barley and their relationships to rust resistance genes.. Genome, 44, 3, 375-381.
2001 Sun, Q., Collins, N., Ayliffe, M., Smith, S., Drake, J., Pryor, A. & Hulbert, S. (2001). Recombination between paralogues at the rp1 rust resistance locus in maize. Genetics, 158, 1, 423-438.
2000 Ayliffe, M., Collins, N., Ellis, J. & Pryor, A. (2000). The maize rp1 rust resistance gene identifies homologues in barley that have been subjected to diversifying selection. Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 100, 7, 1144-1154.
1999 Collins, N. (1999). Molecular Characterization of the Maize Rp1-D Rust Resistance Haplotype and Its Mutants. THE PLANT CELL ONLINE, 11, 7, 1365-1376.
1998 Collins, N., Webb, C., Seah, S., Ellis, J., Hulbert, S. & Pryor, A. (1998). The Isolation and Mapping of Disease Resistance Gene Analogs in Maize. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, 11, 10, 968-978.
1998 Spielmeyer, W., Robertson, M., Collins, N., Leister, D., Schulze-Lefert, P., Seah, S. ... Lagudah, E. (1998). A superfamily of disease resistance gene analogs is located on all homoeologous chromosome groups of wheat (Triticum aestivum). Genome, 41, 6, 782-788.
1998 Paltridge, N., Collins, N., Bendahmane, A. & Symons, R. (1998). Development of YLM, a codominant PCR marker closely linked to the Yd2 gene for resistance to barley yellow dwarf disease. Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 96, 8, 1170-1177.
1997 Ellis, J., Lawrence, G., Ayliffe, M., Anderson, P., Collins, N., Finnegan, J. ... Pryor, T. (1997). Advances in the molecular genetic analysis of the flax-flax rust interaction. Annual Review of Phytopathology, 35, 1, 271-291.
1996 Collins, N., Paltridge, N., Ford, C. & Symons, R. (1996). The Yd2 gene for barley yellow dwarf virus resistance maps close to the centromere on the long arm of barley chromosome 3. Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 92, 7, 858-864.
1995 Langridge, P., Karakousis, A., Collins, N., Kretschmer, J. & Manning, S. (1995). A consensus linkage map of barley. Molecular Breeding, 1, 4, 389-395.

Book Chapters

Year Citation
2016 Roy, S., Collins, N. & Munns, R. (2016). Abiotic stress genes and mechanisms in wheat. In C. Wrigley, H. Corke, K. Seetharaman & J. Faubion (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Food Grains (pp. 393-397). Academic Press.
2002 Collins, N., Sadanandom, A. & Schulze-Lefert, P. (2002). Genes and molecular mechanisms controlling powdery mildew resistance in barley. In The Powdery mildews : a comprehensive treatise (pp. 134-145). The American Phytopathological Society.
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.

Conference Papers

Year Citation
2006 Sutton, T., Schnurbusch, T., Palotta, M., Collins, N. & Langridge, P. (2006). Towards the isolation of boron tolerance genes from barley and wheat. Plant & Animal Genomes Conference. San Diego, CA.
2004 Reinheimer, J., Collins, N. & Eglinton, J. (2004). Reproductive frost tolerance - synteny in cereals providing clues for future wheat improvement. Cereals. C. K. Black, J. F. Panozzo & G. J. Rebetzke (Eds.) Canberra, ACT.

Conference Items

Year Citation
2006 Paltridge, N., Collins, N., Ford, C., Langridge, P., King, B., Symons, R. & Li, R. (2006). A map-based approach towards cloning the Yd2 resistance gene in barley. Barley yellow dwarf disease: Recent advances and future strategies. Mexico.
Date Project/ No. Investigators Title Funding Body
2011-2014 UA00123 Collins NC, Emebiri L, Parent B, Street K, Sissons M, Taylor H Identification of genetic variation for heat tolerance in durum and bread wheat GRDC
2015-2020 LP15010069 Baumann U, Haefele S, Collins N, Praud S

Exploring genetic diversity to identify new heat tolerance genes in wheat.

2015-2018 UA00147 Collins N, Emebiri L, Sissons M, Taylor J, Taylor H, Genetic analysis of heat tolerance in wheat GRDC
2016-2018 AISRF33760 Fleury D, Collins N, Baumann U, Haefele S Mining alleles for heat tolerance of wheat in Australian and Indian environments for development of heat resilient cultivars AISRF
2015-2020 IH130200027 Fleury D, Baumann U, Borysyuk N, Collins N, Haefele S, Kaiser B, Langridge P, Miklavcic S, Appelbee M-J, Juttner J, Kuchel H, Mullen D Genetic diversity and molecular breeding for wheat in a hot and dry climate ARC
2015-2018 56114781 Haefele S, Barrett-Lennard E, Collins N, Roy S, Heuer S, Nield J, Smart K, Cox A, Setter T Production trials to assess the differences between the biodiversity associated with the tolerance of wheat and barley GMOs Western Australian Agriculture Authority
Date Course Title Institution Course Level/ Code Contribution per year
2007-2012 Masters in Plant Genomics University of Adelaide 2710_PLANT_SC_7227WT one 2-hr lecture
2011 Masters in Molecular Diagnostics University of Adelaide PLANT_SC_7120WT one 2-hr lecture and ran one tutorial
2016 Foundations in Plant Science University of Adelaide   mentor to 5 students


Current students
Student Program Year Thesis title Principal supervisor
Muhammad Shefatur Rahman PhD 2012- Genetic analysis of the 6DS P. thornei resistance locus Klaus Oldach
Million Erena PhD 2014- Genetic and physiological bases of heat-induced floret sterility in wheat Nicholas Collins
Mohammed Mizanur Rahman MSc 2015- Genetic basis of heat tolerance in wheat Nicholas Collins


Past students supervised or co-supervised
Student Program Qualified Thesis title Principal supervisor
Suzuky Pinto PhD 2017 Harnessing wheat genetic variability for heat tolerance breeding Peter Langridge
Hamid Shirdelmoghanloo PhD 2015 Genetic and physiological studies of heat tolerance in hexaploid wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) Nicholas Collins
Melissa Coventry Honours 2012 Constitutively expressed wheat and rye ALMT1 genes control Al3+-activated malate and citrate secretion Nicholas Collins
Muther Abdulhadi MSc 2011 Testing the barley HvCBL4 gene as a candidate for HvNax4 - a locus controlling Na+ exclusion and potential salinity tolerance Nicholas Collins
Kieren Arthur PhD 2011 Genome sequence and variation in the Australian native Velvet tobacco mottle virus John Randles
Jason Reinheimer PhD 2010 The genetic improvement of wheat and barley for reproductive frost tolerance Jason Eglinton
Alireza Rivandi PhD 2009 Towards map-based cloning of a Na+ exclusion gene from barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) Nicholas Collins
Andrew Chen PhD 2009 Dissection of traits relating to flowering and reproductive frost tolerance on chromosome 2HL of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) Nicholas Collins

Committee Memberships

Date Role Committee Institution Country
2016 - ongoing Member Plant Genomics Centre Research Leaders Group
2012 - 2013 Member South Australian Barley Advisory Committee
2011 - 2012 Member Australian Winter Cereals Pre-Breeders Alliance Steering Committee for Abiotic Stress
2008 - 2010 Member School of Agriculture, Food and Wine Research Committee

Editorial Boards

Date Role Editorial Board Name Country
2015 - ongoing Associate Editor BMC Plant Biology
ARC Senior Research Associate
8313 7102
Plant Genomics Centre
Room Number
2 37
Org Unit
School of Agriculture, Food and Wine