Supervisor – Professor David Jordan
A PhD scholarship is available to investigate the genetics of grain number in sorghum. Grain number, along with grain size, is a fundamental component of crop yield and is known to vary in response to genetic and environmental factors. Understanding these gene networks and their interactions with environment are fundamental to efforts to improve productivity in sorghum and other cereals and as such will contribute to meeting the food requirements of the anticipated 10 billion people on the planet in 2050. Sorghum is an important crop in Australia and the world’s fifth most important cereal and crop species that is highly tolerant of environmental stress particularly heat and drought. It is a currently a key food security crop for more than 0.5 billion people and its importance is likely to increase as the world becomes hotter and drier.
This project aims to develop an understanding of the gene networks controlling grain number and to contribute to an understanding of their interactions with environmental factors. The student will be supervised by Prof Graeme Hammer, Dr Emma Mace, Prof Mark Cooper and Prof David Jordan who are world leaders in sorghum physiology, genomics and genetics. The project will be part of a large well-resourced team working on sorghum crop improvement which is linked to the ARC Centre of Excellence for Plant Success in Nature and Agriculture.
The student will be an integral part of a cross disciplinary team and will be exposed to a range of research methods including bioinformatics, genomics, crop model-based trait dissection and high throughput phenotyping which will provide the candidate with an excellent platform to launch into a career in science or agriculture. The project will be based at the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Hermitage Research Facility at Warwick Queensland.
A working knowledge of plant breeding, genetics or plant physiology would be of benefit to someone working on this project.