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Current Projects in the Solomon lab

Dissecting the role of PR1-mediated resistance in plants

Together with the Williams lab, we have made key breakthroughs in understanding how PR1 proteins contribute to resistance to plant pathogens (see https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.17128https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tplants.2017.06.013). Exciting opportunities exciting for students at all levels to use a variety of techniques to understand the mechanism of PR1.

Studying Parastagonospora nodorum pathogen proteins that cause disease

Our lab has fundamentally advanced our understanding on how P. nodorum proteins facilitate disease at the molecular level (see https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mib.2018.01.019). We have many projects available exploiting a variety of cutting edge techniques to determine the function of these key proteins. Some projects include: 

  • Understanding how effector proteins how proteolytically cleaved during infection and their function (heterologous protein expression, reverse genetics, CRISPR, plant pathogenicity assays, protein-protein interactions) (Relevant papers: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1010000https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.17516)

  • Dissecting the mechanisms of effector protein folding with the aim of discovering novel fungicides (CRISPR, reverse genetics, heterologous protein expression, molecular biology techniques, protein biochemistry, wheat pathogenicity assays)

 

Characterising the Zymoseptoria tritici-wheat interaction

Together with industry and international collaborators, we have fundamentally advanced how this devastating pathogen causes disease (recent publications include https://doi.org/10.1111/mpp.13064https://doi.org/10.1186/s40694-020-00103-2). We have strong industry support to further dissect the molecular basis of disease. Some example projects include;

  • Dissecting the role of Z. tritici proteins causing disease (yeast 2-hybrid, heterologous protein expression, structural biology, confocal microscopy, reverse genetics, CRISPR gene editing) (Relevant paper: https://doi.org/10.1111/mpp.13064)

  • Understanding the mechanism by which avirulence protein recognition leads to resistance. This project will use cutting-edge protein expression and protein-protein interaction techniques to characterise resistance protein in wheat (new industry funding available)

  • Identification of new pathogenicity genes using forward genetics and pathogenicity screening. An exciting project that offers the opportunity to identify new avriulence genes in this pathogen. We will be advertising for a new postdoc for this position in early 2024.

 

Please contact Peter Solomon if you are interested in any of the above projects.

 

Alternatively, our lab is always keen to listen to prospective students with their own project ideas. And remember, as the research in the Solomon lab directly impacts on the Australian wheat industry, PhD scholarships are available for talented students through the Grains Research and Development Corporation.

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