The following Waite-affiliated researchers will share in funding announced this week under the Australian Research Council’s (ARC) National Competitive Grants Program. Congratulations to all involved!

Discovery Projects

Professor Andrea Yool  (Medical Sciences, University of Adelaide); Dr Sunita Ramesh (pictured, University of Adelaide & ARC CoE in Plant Energy Biology)
$423,000 over three years
This project aims to investigate cell migration mechanisms and the roles of aquaporin channels in controlling cell motility and morphology. The ability of cells to move and maintain proper shape is important for development, repair and survival in multicellular organisms. This project will test the role of mammalian aquaporin-1 channels in enabling rapid migration in normal and cancer cells, in repairing barrier layers in kidney and brain, and in allowing red blood cells to maintain the classic disk-shape needed for optimal transport. Outcomes will define features of aquaporin-1 that provide these functions, using molecular, optical and pharmacological tools. Results will define aquaporin channel properties that enable optimal cellular function.

Dr Iain Searle (Australia-China Joint Research Centre of Grains for Health, University of Adelaide); Associate Professor David Studholme
$384,000 over three years
This project aims to investigate how developing central cell epitranscriptomes are linked to seed growth, how the cell regulates the unique epigenetic states, and the role of the system in driving phenotypic diversity. Maternal and paternal effects determine growth and development of multicellular angiosperm plants. Previous work has discovered unique ribonucleic acid (RNA) epitranscriptome states dependent on the parent-of-origin in developing central cell that gives rise to the endosperm tissue of the seed that impacts on growth of the seed. This project expects to provide economic benefits by increasing yield of agricultural crops during increasingly challenging conditions.

Associate Professor Feike Dijkstra; Dr Claudia Keitel (University of Sydney); Associate Professor Timothy Cavagnaro (University of Adelaide)
$450,000 over three years
This project aims to investigate how much carbon plants need to invest below ground in return for water and nutrients. By using economic principles of supply and demand the project will quantify carbon expenditure for water and nutrients in grasslands and crops under different climate and land management scenarios. This project will use triple and quadruple isotope labelling techniques and explore the dependency of carbon investment on plant-microbial interactions and availability of below ground resources. Expected outcomes include new knowledge to build a universal framework about plant carbon-water-nutrient economics. This will benefit global carbon cycling models and efforts to increase nutrient and water use efficiencies in agricultural crops.

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