Discovering the roles for mitochondrial metabolite transporters in plants

Defining the function of plant protein transporters

The final steps of primary metabolism require organic acids to enter mitochondria for oxidation, releasing CO2. In plants organic acids also leave mitochondria to be key intermediates for biosynthesis of amino acids, nucleic acids, vitamins and secondary products. Respiration therefore provides energy for plant function and also forms the building blocks used to build plants as food, fuels and fibre.

There is a wide array of transporter systems that enable these processes, however there is much to learn about which transporters undertake these processes and how modifying these processes can alter plant performance and plant product quality.

This project will take a reverse genetics approach to the study of organic acid transporters and also other carriers that impact on the function of these transporters. It will involve analysis of mutant plant lines, metabolic analysis of plant responses and/or transporter studies to define the function of unknown function transport proteins in plants.

For more background information, see the suggested readings below.

Suggested readings

Research team leader: Professor Harvey Millar

I am a protein biochemist focused on plant biology in the School of Molecular Sciences. I am the Director of the ARC Centre of Excellent in Plant Energy Biology. My research aims to understand the role respiration plays in the primary carbon and nitrogen metabolism of plants and their response to oxidative stress, and the dynamics of the plant proteome under limiting conditions.

How to apply

Interested in becoming part of this project? Complete the following steps to submit your expression of interest:

Step 1 - Check criteria

General UWA PhD entrance requirements can be found on the Future Students website.

Step 2 - Submit enquiry to research team leader

Step 3 - Lodge application

After you have discussed your project with the research team leader, you should be in a position to proceed to the next step of the UWA application process: Lodge an application. Different application procedures apply to domestic and international students.


Domestic students

All domestic students may apply for Research Training Program and University Postgraduate Awards (UPA) scholarships

International students

A range of scholarships are available from international organisations and governments. The full list, organised by country, is available on the Future Students website.

In addition, all international students may apply for International Research Training Program scholarships.

Indigenous students
Indigenous students are encouraged to apply for Indigenous Postgraduate Research Supplementary Scholarships.
Forrest Foundation scholarships
All international and Australian students who wish to study towards the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at The University of Western Australia may apply for Forrest Scholarships.

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