PhD Student (Pongamia Group)

Contact Details

Office 214, Level 2 John Hines Building (62)
P +61 3365 7227
sharon.samuel@uqconnect.edu.au

Short Biography

Sharon was born in Australia and in 2007 began a Bachelor degree in Biotechnology Innovation at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). During her studies, Sharon participated in a CSIRO Summer Student program and worked with Dr Linda Tabe on the wheat stem rust resistance gene, Sr2. She completed her honours year with first class honours in 2010 working alongside DEEDI scientists to develop a commercialisation plan for novel insect pest management technologies. In 2011 Sharon was accepted into a PhD program under the supervision of Professor Peter Gresshoff and Dr Paul Scott. This project is aimed at the analysis of symbiotic nitrogen fixation in the biofuel legume Pongamia pinnata project and is funded by the Brisbane City Council.

Research Skills

  • Microscopy
  • PCR
  • Aseptic Technique
  • Maintaining growth of plants

Research Project

Molecular & physiological analysis of symbiotic nitrogen fixation in the biofuel legume Pongamia pinnata
Supervisors: Professor Peter Gresshoff and Dr Paul Scott

Nodules and nodulation of roots have been studied in detail for many years. Although Pongamia has been shown to nodulate, reports of the development and structure of its nodules are incomplete and so this project aims to fill this knowledge gap and characterise the Pongamia nodule. Different strains of Bradyrhizobium sourced from both India and Australia have been assessed for nodulation efficiency against Pongamia in pot trials and several stages of nodule development have been observed using microscopic analysis. Further work will be to investigate several key early nodulation genes in terms of presence and level of expression. Other goals are to determine the main nitrogen transport molecule Pongamia utilizes be it Ureides or Amides and to assess the level of nitrogen fixation which can occur within a mature tree. This research is supported by a Brisbane City Council scholarship.

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