PhD student scoops top prize for wheat gene research

October 22, 2013

Wheat researchers saw the rise of a new academic star recently when a Murdoch PhD student beat senior researchers to receive a national prize for the best scientific paper.

Hollie Webster, who works with the Australia-China Centre for Wheat Improvement (ACCWI) at Murdoch, was awarded the 2012 best paper prize for the journal Functional Plant Biology.

The prize is a joint award from CSIRO Publishing and the Australian Society of Plant Scientists, and recognises both an outstanding discovery in the field of wheat genomics research and an example of excellence in scientific writing.

Hollie’s paper, ‘Genome-level identification of cell wall invertase genes in wheat for the study of drought tolerance’, will enable significant advances in breeding drought tolerant wheat.

"The paper focused on how the recently available wheat genome survey sequence could be used to characterise an important family of drought responsive pollen fertility genes," Hollie said.

"I am honored that I and my ACCWI colleagues received this recognition and I am particularly proud that our work in wheat genomics is highlighting how strongly Murdoch University supports excellence in crop genomics research to advance global food security and sustainable food production locally."

Hollie is in the final stages of her PhD and will soon take up a post-doctoral position at the ACCWI to continue her work on researching the complex genetic regulatory mechanisms underpinning drought tolerance in wheat.

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