Genetics and Biotechnology
Associate Professor Caroline Hauxwell's research is examining the diseases that affect our native bees, how the microbiota of bees and hives can improve their health and how bees interact with pathogens of the plants they pollinate.
Why are sea anemone such a successful species?
Dr Peter Prentis uses genomics and bioinformatics to investigate why sea anemones are such a successful and diverse group of animals. He looks at how they produce multiple venoms in a single animal, regenerate after catastrophic injury and why they are so abundant on Australian rocky shores.
Dr. Melody de Laat
Dr. Melody de Laat dedicates much of research time to investigating novel therapies for animal diseases that are currently without effective treatments. Currently, her focus is on finding a treatment for endocrinopathic laminitis, a painful and debilitating foot condition of horses that arises from abnormal insulin dynamics.
Back to the past
Associate Professor Matthew Phillips is reconstructing the evolutionary history of mammals to better understand the roles of environmental changes and biological invasions in the promotion, maintenance and extinction of biodiversity. This research includes working with Bioplatforms Australia's Mammal Genome Project, and integrating fossils with DNA sequence data.
We are working towards a sustainable future by analysing genomes of Australian plants and animals and improving agricultural and industrial processes.
We are looking into real-world problems associated with food security, energy, health and the environment.
"I’m a senior entomologist with the Department of Agriculture. The department protects the environment and animal, plant and human health from the risk of exotic pests and diseases.
I enjoy the interesting and challenging work, with a good mix of field, laboratory and office work. There’s always something new to learn in entomology and one of the most important things QUT taught me is critical thinking, and how to find and review information. It helped me get where I am today."
This project aims to understand why flies that cause maggoty fruit have so frequently evolved the generalist feeding habitat, and to test specific hypotheses to explain the high frequency of generalism in Bactrocera.
Outcomes will significantly advance understanding of the evolution of generalism, and so greatly advance herbivory theory. As Bactrocera are also globally significant horticultural pests, the project will provide under-pinning science for pest management.
This project aims to use DNA, fossils and biological cues to synergistically model evolutionary rate changes. Molecular dates allow direct comparison of evolutionary and ecological patterns and processes across the tree of life. However, current models struggle to identify the location and magnitude of molecular clock rate changes on phylogenies, often resulting in wildly inaccurate dates.
Expected outcomes include improved dating accuracy, and a novel statistical framework for morphological data, which allows fossils to be more accurately merged into the tree of life. In turn, the project aims to resolve intense debate on the origins of marsupial and placental mammals, and to trace the responses of these two groups to past environmental changes.
Generic delimitations in Rottboelliinae (Andropogoneae, Panicoideae, Poaceae) based on molecular and morphological data
Dr Tanya Scharaschkin
This project will provide a reliable framework for classifying a group of widespread but understudied grasses, including some rare and threaten species. The number of genera and species in the subtribe Rottboelliinae is uncertain. Analysis of DNA sequences from multiple regions will inform the taxonomic revision of ~11 genera and 98 species. Diagnostically important characters will be identified for the creation of reliable identification keys.
This research will train a new agrostologist and enhance our understanding of the biodiversity of mesic to savannah grasslands. It will provide clarity to decision-making processes regarding conservation and management of rare and threaten species.
Laminitis is a crippling foot disease in horses which incurs significant economic and social costs. Recent studies have shown that persistently high insulin concentrations can trigger laminitis, and that high insulin levels are caused by the excessive release of hormones called incretins.
This project aims to determine the role of incretins and their receptors in causing abnormal equine insulin secretion. The distribution of equine incretin receptors will be described for the first time, and the consequences of incretin receptor binding will be characterised. Understanding equine incretin biology may lead to novel therapies for laminitis.
This project aims to identify the earliest pathogenic factors of disease by investigating two key hormones, ghrelin and GLP-2, and whether a specific genetic mutation underlies insulin dysregulation.
Using innovative approaches the project will enable the identification of at-risk animals and pinpoint novel treatment strategies. In the long term improved disease treatment and prevention will reduce the suffering associated with painful and often lethal co-morbidities.
Some of our industry and community partners have included:
Research groups and institutes
- Fruit Fly Research Group
- Digital Agriculture
- Industrial Biotechnology Bioproducts and Biorefining
- Quantitative Applied Spatial Ecology Group
- Next Generation Mungbean
- Plant Nutrients and Nutrition.
Industry and community partners
- Animal Health Foundation
- Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica GmbH
- CRC for Plant Biosecurity
- Grains Research & Development Corporation
- Horticulture Innovation Australia.
Are you looking to study at a higher or more detailed level? We are currently looking for students to research topics at a variety of study levels, including PhD, Masters, Honours or the Vacation Research Experience Scheme (VRES).
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