University of Adelaide


At the University of Adelaide (UA), appointments were made in the areas of molecular biology, bioinformatics, molecular plant pathology, plant transformation and biochemistry.

The molecular biologists were involved in forward and reverse genetics approaches to identify genes involved in wall biosynthesis. The bioinformaticians were providing general support for the group, and have experience in the programs required to liaise with other nodes of the ARC Centre and with the James Hutton Institute in Scotland.

The molecular plant pathologist took responsibility for examining gene expression in both barley and in several pathogens during the infection process. The biochemist worked on characterising walls from fungal pathogens, including Blumeria graminis, and was responsible for the heterologous expression of candidate genes and for the characterisation of the gene products so expressed.

Our transformation group routinely transformed a range of plant species, including barley, rice Arabidopsis, Setaria, and Nicotiana. In support of the more routine UA activities, including phenotyping during association mapping activities, transformation, the analysis of transgenic lines and other routine assays, several research assistants have been appointed.

Accommodation and Facilities

The South Australian Node of the ARC CoE in Plant Cell Walls was accommodated in the Wine Innovation Central Building of the University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus. Following a University of Adelaide funded $700,000 refurbishment the area now accommodates nearly 50 researchers and postgraduate students in 220m2 of prime office and 400m2 of modern laboratory space.

The laboratory suite comprised of one large area for general bench work, five smaller laboratories and service areas, stores, autoclave and culture preparation. The smaller laboratories included a dedicated chromatography lab with HPLC and Dionex systems, a quantitative PCR facility, a microscopy laboratory containing sectioning and imaging equipment, a containment laboratory for quarantine and PC2 work, and a small specialised equipment room.

With access to state-of-the art growth facilities of the Australian Plant Phenomics Facility, technologically advanced facilities of Adelaide Microscopy, sequencing services of the Australian Genome Research Facility and a range of resources of the co-located partners at the Waite Research Institute, the SA node was well equipped to define regulatory processes that control cell wall polysaccharide biosynthesis both in model plants and in commercially important cereals and grasses.