The Waite Fellowship is a new scheme from the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine awarded to distinguished scientists who are initiating collaborations with scientists at the Waite. The inaugural recipient is Professor Rainer Hedrich, Chair of Molecular Plant Physiology and Biophysics at the Julius-von-Sachs-Institute of Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Germany.
Professor Hedrich is a global leader in plant ion channel biology, stomatal biology and plant nutrition. The molecular mechanisms controlling stomatal guard cells of green plants and the evolutionary success of the carnivorous Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) are two focal areas of interest.
In recognition of his contributions Rainer Hedrich received numerous awards including the Körber-Award for the European Research, ISI Web of Knowledge highly cited researcher among 250 in animal and plant sciences, and a European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant Award.
His studies of plant ion channels have provided important insights into the molecular basis of pH regulation and water balance in plants, and an understanding of the molecular basis and function of stomata guard cells.
Work on the Venus flytrap uncovered ground breaking insights into the molecular biology of plant carnivory – how the insect catching process is triggered and modulated, and how the plant digests and takes up nutrients from its trapped prey.
Professor Hedrich is visiting the Waite for about a month to collaborate as a partner investigator on an ARC Discovery application with Professor Matthew Gilliham and to initiate new collaborations with other researchers at the Waite campus.
He is particularly interested in the strengths of the Waite in cereal genomics and the potential for applying his insights on gas exchange for agriculture with partners here.
Professor Hedrich’s has also visited Hobart on his trip to Australia as he is also a collaborator on an ARC Discovery grant with Professor Shabala of the University of Tasmania. He also plans to holiday in Queensland before returning to Germany.