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.

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

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


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 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.
DOI Scopus1 WoS1
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.
DOI Scopus4 WoS4 Europe PMC1
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 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.
DOI Scopus9 WoS4 Europe PMC2
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.
DOI Scopus1 WoS1
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.
DOI Scopus3 WoS3
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.
DOI Scopus7 WoS5
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.
DOI Scopus1 WoS1
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.
DOI Scopus9 WoS9 Europe PMC8
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.
DOI Scopus37 WoS34 Europe PMC23
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.
DOI Scopus8 WoS6 Europe PMC5
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.
DOI Scopus2 WoS2 Europe PMC2
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.
DOI Scopus32 WoS29 Europe PMC17
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.
DOI Scopus29 WoS23 Europe PMC12
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.
DOI Scopus68 WoS62 Europe PMC40
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.
DOI Scopus12 WoS8
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.
DOI Scopus12 WoS11 Europe PMC6
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.
DOI Scopus9 WoS9 Europe PMC6
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.
DOI Scopus17 WoS13 Europe PMC10
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.
DOI Scopus32 WoS30 Europe PMC24
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.
DOI Scopus13 WoS14 Europe PMC11
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.
DOI Scopus12 WoS11 Europe PMC5
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.
DOI Scopus285 WoS239 Europe PMC137
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.
DOI Scopus80 WoS73 Europe PMC47
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.
DOI Scopus16 WoS15
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.
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.
DOI Scopus205 WoS189 Europe PMC110
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.
DOI Scopus33 WoS33 Europe PMC26
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.
DOI Scopus8 WoS6 Europe PMC3
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.
DOI Scopus42 WoS42 Europe PMC28
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.
DOI Scopus21 WoS19 Europe PMC14
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.
DOI Scopus70 WoS60 Europe PMC30
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.
DOI WoS523 Europe PMC379
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.
Scopus53 WoS47 Europe PMC39
2002 Toyoda, K., Collins, N., & Takahashi, A. (2002). Resistance and Susceptibility of Plants to Fungal Pathogens. Transgenic Research, 11(6), 567-582.
DOI Scopus14 WoS12 Europe PMC4
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.
DOI WoS175 Europe PMC118
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.
Scopus102 WoS94 Europe PMC65
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.
DOI WoS15 Europe PMC8
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.
DOI Scopus27 WoS27
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 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 (<i>Triticum aestivum</i>). Genome, 41(6), 782-788.
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 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.
DOI Scopus46 WoS36
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.
DOI Scopus63 Europe PMC36
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.
DOI Scopus42 WoS36 Europe PMC10
1995 Langridge, P., Karakousis, A., Collins, N., Kretschmer, J., & Manning, S. (1995). A consensus linkage map of barley. Molecular Breeding, 1(4), 389-395.
DOI Scopus100 WoS93

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 (Vol. 4, 2nd ed., pp. 393-397). Academic Press.
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.
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.

Conference Papers

Conference Items

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 Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
2018 Principal Supervisor Field Validation and Mechanisms of Heat Tolerance and Yield QTL in Wheat Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Rajesh Barua
2016 Principal Supervisor Genetic Mapping of Heat Tolerance Traits in Wheat Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr Mohammed Mizanur Rahman
2014 Principal Supervisor Genetic and Physiological Bases of Heat-Induced Floret Sterility in Wheat Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Million Fikreselassie Erena
2012 Co-Supervisor Genetic Analysis of the 6 DS P. thornei Resistance Locus Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Muhammad Shefatur Rahman

Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
2011 - 2015 Principal Supervisor Genetic and physiological studies of heat tolerance in hexaploid wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Hamid Shirdelmoghanloo
2011 - 2017 Co-Supervisor Physiological Traits and Genetic Controls Associated with Heat Adaptation of Bread Wheat Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Reyna Suzuky Pinto Gonzalez
2010 - 2011 Co-Supervisor Genome sequence and variation in the Australian native Velvet tobacco mottle virus Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Kieren Arthur
2005 - 2009 Principal Supervisor Dissection of Traits Relating to Flowering and Reproductive Frost Tolerance on Chromosome 2HL of Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Andrew Chen
2004 - 2009 Principal Supervisor Toward Map-Based Cloning of a Na+ Exclusion Gene from Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Alireza Rivandi
2004 - 2010 Co-Supervisor The Genetic Improvement of Wheat and Barley for Reproductive Frost Tolerance Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Jason Reinheimer

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