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Current Projects in the Solomon lab



Studying pathogen proteins that cause disease

  • How does wheat respond to the effector protein exposure at the transcript level? (RNA isolation, RNA sequencing, bioinformatics)

  • How are these effector proteins regulated? The genes encoding these effector proteins are only expressed either during infection or under very specific in vitro conditions. Why? (molecular biology, promoter analysis using GFP fusions, genetic modification techniques)

  • Localisation of the effector proteins during infection. Where do the effector proteins go during infection? This can be monitored using confocal microscopy and fluorescence. (confocal microscopy, mircoscopy sample preparation techniques, molecular biology)

  • Do the pathogen effector proteins bind to wheat proteins during infection? (yeast 2-hybrid analysis, co-immunoprecipitation, molecular biology)


Characterising the Zymoseptoria tritici-wheat interaction
  • Genome sequencing and comparative genomics of Australian Z. tritici isolates (DNA isolation, genome sequencing, bioinformatics)

  • Characterising pathogen and host gene expression during infection on resistant and susceptible wheat cultivars (RNA sequencing, bioinformatics, reverse genetics)

  • Isolating pathogen proteins responsible for disease (protein expression, protein purification, molecular biology)

  • Identification of new pathogenicity genes using forward genetics and pathogenicity screening


Understanding the host specificity of Bipolaris sorokiniana

Bipolaris sorokiniana is a devastating pathogen of wheat in warmer growing regions of the world (South America, India etc). A recent breakthrough in the Solomon lab identified that some B. sorokiniana isolates harbour the effector gene ToxA. However, event in the absence of ToxA, the pathogen can cause necrosis and leaf death within days. Furthermore, unlike other related pathogens, B. sorokiniana can also infect barley and impacts on barley production Australian, North America and other primary growing regions. The basis though behind this dual specificity is unknown. As such, projects are available to;

  • Identify the genes and proteins in B. sorokiniana required for disease (DNA and RNA sequencing, functional genomics tools)

  • Dissect the mechanisms behind pathogenicity on wheat and barley

  • Use modern genotyping methods to understand the population structure of B. sorokiniana in Australia



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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