Allene Macabuhay

The role of lipids in the formation of beneficial interactions between plant roots and soil microbiota under heat stress

The plant root-soil microbe interface is a major frontier with potential opportunities for addressing crop agricultural challenges, especially under abiotic stress. This study will harness specific plant growth promoting soil microbes and demonstrate their beneficial effects using the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, under heat stress. In particular, we aim to investigate the biochemical nature of the plant-microbe interaction, focusing on lipids as key signalling molecules, and explore how temperature under predicted global warming scenario will impact this interaction using high-throughput shoot and root phenotyping platforms and state-of-the-art lipidomics technologies.

Project Duration: 2018-2022

Supervisors: The University of Melbourne:  Prof Ute Roessner , Assoc Prof Alex Johnson/ Forschungszentrum Jülich: Prof Michelle Watt and Dr. Borjana Arsova

Student Profile:

My PhD commenced at the University of Melbourne in March 2018. I completed an MPhil degree in Agricultural Science from the University of Melbourne and a BS in Agricultural engineering at the University of the Philippines Los Baños.

My PhD research is focused on the role of lipids in plant-microbe interaction under heat stress and the first year of my study has been utilised to research optimizing protocols and experiments for phenotyping the beneficial effects of microbes in Arabidopsis. Highlights of this year include identifying and receiving my strain from overseas (although initially under biosecurity), successfully growing my inoculated plants, and performing phenotyping and lipid extraction. I will spend the second year of my PhD at the Forschungszentrum Jülich  conducting experiments utilising their advance phenotyping platforms.

Living in Melbourne has been a fun experience. You don’t just get to interact with people from different backgrounds but also experience their culture (and taste their foods!) It is easy to get around with lots of beautiful places to explore, with helpful instructions (and people to ask if you get lazy figuring things out your way). Living in this beautiful city does not come cheap as it is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Nonetheless, Melbourne has a lot to offer and I am looking forward to more experiences in Jülich.

Contact:

amacabuhay@student.unimelb.edu.au