PhD student Adam Carroll, from The University of Western Australian, is about to trade his bike for a jumbo jet as he travels around the world to present his research findings on how plants deal with environmental stress.
Mr Carroll cycles a 30km round-trip each day from his home in the Perth suburb of Nollamara to his laboratory at the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, at The University of Western Australia.
But he’ll soon be making his first trip outside Australia after being selected by three leading international research conferences to present different aspects of his work at international conferences in the UK, China and Japan.
Using his PhD scholarship from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), Mr Carroll is investigating how plants tolerate the stress inflicted by harsh environmental factors such as drought, salinity and extreme temperatures.
“Managing stress is a drain on our energy and it’s no different for plants,” Mr Carroll said. “But how they do it is largely unknown so I’m looking at how plants redirect their internal energy supplies to cope with environmentally imposed stresses.”
Unlocking these and related secrets is the focus of research at the laboratories of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology. Mr Carroll’s work takes him inside cells, the small building blocks that make up plants, into the smaller structures called organelles, particularly the organelles called mitochondria, which are responsible for transforming energy by the process of respiration.
While Mr Carroll’s research involves attending international conferences in the short term, in the longer term, it will bring him closer to understanding environmental stress responses of plants at a molecular level, the identification of genes linked to stress tolerance, and strategies for using this knowledge for breeding plants with improved tolerance to extreme environmental conditions.
Adam Carroll 61 8 6488 4435
(ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology)