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North Shore District Group

Scholarship Recipients 2019

Valette Williams Scholarship in Botany - Recipients 2019

Farhad Masoomi-Aladizgeh

The Val Williams Scholarship in Botany is sponsored by the North Shore Group of the Australian Plants Society. The Scholarship honours the memory of our former esteemed member, Val Williams (1937-2004). 

The project must contribute to the knowledge of the ecology, conservation or propagation of native plants in the Sydney and surrounding regions.

The Scholarship, valued at $3000 this year, attracted five applicants, a mix of Honours, Masters and PhD students, from three universities.

Congratulations to Farhad Masoomi-Aladizgeh, recipient of the 2019 Val Williams Scholarship in Botany.

Farhad is a Doctor of Philosophy in Biology student within the Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University.

His topic is: 

DNA: the key to understanding evolutionary relationships betwee Australian ecotypes of Themeda triandra (kangaroo grass)

Farhad describes his project for us:

My PhD at Macquarie University is mainly on identifying stress tolerance genes in plants from distantly related crop relatives. It is well known that native plants are valuable genetic resources, harbouring resistance genes to environmental fluctuations. Climate change is going to adversely impact agricultural products in the near future; thus, steps should be taken by researchers to tackle the problem!

I am already working on cotton proteomics to discover genes related to male sterility after exposure to high temperatures. Under the supervision of Professor Brian Atwell, we aim to find key pathways involved in plant male sterility under heat stress and introduce the key genes that can be applied for crop improvement at high temperatures. 

The Valette Williams Scholarship has led us to start a new project on a stress tolerant species in Australia, Themeda triandra (kangaroo grass). A diverse collection of its ecotypes provides high genetic diversity with which to find ‘molecular signatures’ for environmental traits. DArTSeq™ protocol, a high-throughput sequencing approach, will be performed using DArT (Diversity Arrays Technology) markers for gene mapping and diversity studies of kangaroo grass ecotypes where there is no previous sequence information.

Having the same genetic codes: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T), plants respond to the changing environment too!                           


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