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Dr Matthew Gilliham

Telephone +61 8 8313 8145
Position Senior Research Scientist
Fax +61 8 8313 0431
Building Plant Research Centre
Floor/Room 2 24
Campus Waite
Org Unit School of Agriculture, Food and Wine

To link to this page, please use the following URL:

Biography/ Background


I study plant nutrition and abiotic stress tolerance. My main interests are how nutrient elements enter plants, how they are transported around plants and how they are stored. I also study how toxic elements are excluded from plant cells. The aim of my research is to create more nutritious plants for human and animal consumption, or more productive plants in the face of abiotic stresses. For more information see my news and twitter links below, and my publications.

My current research focuses specifically on calcium (Ca2+) storage and signalling in plants, and salt (Na+ and Cl-) tolerance. This research is funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC), The Grape and Wine Research Development Corporation (GWRDC), Treasury Wine Estates and The University of Adelaide.


News Highlights

Click here for News Archive

Click here for laboratory webpage



Quick CV

2014– Chief Investigator of ARC Centre for Plant Energy Biology

2014– ARC Future Fellow
School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide, Australia.
Defining anion transport systems in plants

2013- Senior Lecturer in Plant Molecular Physiology.
School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide, Australia.

Supervise research in the Plant Cell Physiology Laboratory, affiliate of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology.

Teaching into the BSc Agricultural Sciences and BSc Viticulture and Oenology, and Masters in Plant Biotechnology programs.

Member of School of Agriculture, Food and Wine marketing committee. Organise distinguished guest seminar series.

2006-2012 Senior Research Fellow.
School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide, Australia.

2002-2006 BBSRC Postdoctoral Associate.
Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, U.K.
Characterisation of ion channel selectivity by novel electrophysiological method.
(Supervisors: Dr. J.M. Davies & Professor M. Tester)

2003-2004 BBSRC Wain International Research Fellow.
Discipline of Wine and Horticulture, University of Adelaide, Australia.
Integration of microelectrode based ion-flux measurement with patch clamp electrophysiology. (with Professor S.D. Tyerman)

1998-2002 Ph.D. in Plant Science
Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, U.K & Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, U.K.
Regulation of anion channels in maize stele by water stress.
(Supervisor: Dr. M. Tester)

BBSRC funded; Awarded Departmental Frank Smart Studentship (1999-2002) for progress and achievements during my Ph.D. studies.

Graduate Student Representative, Plant Sciences (1999-2002)
MCR President, Gonville and Caius College (2000-2001)

1994-1997 B.Sc. (Hons) in Ecology, First Class.
Lancaster University, U.K.
Dissertation: Drought response of two calcicolous grassland species.
(Supervisor: Professor W.J. Davies)

1995-1996 Exchange Scholarship (as part of BSc. awarded from Lancaster) 
University of Calgary, Canada.
Dissertation (literature-based): Environmental Plant Physiology
(Supervisor: Dr. D.M. Reid)


Selected (2005-present) 

For up to date google scholar listing see here.

Scholarly Book Chapters

1. Roy SJ, Conn SJ, Mayo GM, Athman A, Gilliham M (in press) Transcriptomics on small samples. In, Methods in Molecular Biology: Plant Salt Tolerance. Eds. Shabala S. and Cuin T.Humana Press, N.J., USA. Accepted 22 August 2011.

2. Tyerman SD, Vandeleur RK, Shelden MC, Tilbrook J, Mayo GM, Gilliham M, Kaiser BN (2009) Water transport and aquaporins in grapevine. In, Grapevine Molecular Physiology and Biotechnology. Eds. Roubelakis-Angelakis KA. Springer Publishers, The Netherlands. pp. 73-104.

3. Gilliham M (2007) Membrane structure and methods for studying membrane transport. In, Plant Solute Transport. Eds. Yeo AR. and Flowers TJ. Blackwell, Oxford, UK. pp. 47-72.

4. Gilliham M, Campbell M, Dubos C, Becker D, Davenport RJ (2006) The Arabidopsis thaliana glutamate receptor-like protein family (AtGLR). In, Communication in plants: neuronal aspects of plant life. Eds. Baluška F, Mancuso S, Volkmann D. Ch. 13, pp.187-204.

Refereed Journal Articles

5. Vandeleur RK, Sullivan W, Athman A, Jordans C, Gilliham M, Kaiser BN, Tyerman SD (2013) Rapid shoot-to-root signalling regulates root hydraulic conductivity via aquaporins. Plant Cell and Environment (Accepted 15/07/2013)

6. Waters S, Gilliham M, Hrmova M (2013) Plant high affinity potassium (HKT) transporters involved in salinity tolerance: Structural insights to probe differences in ion selectivity. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 14 (4), 7660-7680

7. Conn SJ, Hocking B, Dayod M, Xu B, Athman A, Henderson S, Aukett L, Conn V, Shearer MK, Fuentes S, Tyerman SD, Gilliham M (2013) Protocol: A simple and versatile hydroponics growth system for nutritional and physiological analysis of Arabidopsis thaliana and other plants. Plant Methods 9:4 #3 Altmetrics

8. Munns R, James RA, Xu B, Athman A, Conn SJ, Jordans C, Byrt CS, Hare RA, Tyerman SD, Tester M, Plett D, Gilliham M (2012) Wheat grain yeild on saline soils is improved by ancestral sodium transporter gene. Nature Biotechnology doi:10.1038/nbt.2120

9. Conn SJ, Berninger P, Broadley MR, Gilliham M (2012) Exploiting natural variation to uncover candidate genes that control element accumulation in Arabidopsis thaliana. New Phytologist. 193: 859-866.

10. Gilliham M, Athman A, Tyerman SD, Conn SJ (2011) Cell-specific compartmentation of mineral nutrients is an essential mechanism for optimal plant productivity; another role for TPC1? Plant Signaling Behavior 6:1656-1661.

11. Gilliham M, Dayod M, Hocking B, Conn SJ, Xu B, Kaiser BN, Leigh RA, Tyerman SD (2011) Calcium delivery and storage in plant leaves: exploring the link with water flow. Journal of Experimental Botany 62:2233-2250.

12. Michard E, Lima PT, Borges F Silva AC, Carvalho JE, Gilliham M, Liu L-H, Obermeyer G, Feijó JA (2011) Glutamate receptor–like genes form Ca2+ channels in pollen tubes and are regulated by pistil D-Serine. Science 6028: 434-437.

13. Conn SJ, Gilliham M*, Schreiber AS, Baumann U, Moller I, Cheng N-H, Stancombe MA, Athman A, Hirschi KD, Webb AAR, Burton R, Kaiser BN, Tyerman SD, Leigh RA (2011) Cell-specific vacuolar calcium storage mediated by AtCAX1 regulates apoplastic calcium concentration, gas exchange and plant productivity. Plant Cell 23:240-257.*First and corresponding author.

14. Conn SJ, Conn V, Kaiser BN, Tyerman SD, Leigh RA, Gilliham M (2011) Magnesium transporters, MGT2/MRS2-1 and MGT3/MRS2-5, are important for magnesium partitioning within Arabidopsis thaliana mesophyll vacuoles. New Phytologist 190:583-594.

15. Plett D, Safwat G, Gilliham M, Shirley N, Møller IS, Jacobs A, Johnson A, Tester M (2010) Improved salinity tolerance of rice through cell type-specific expression of AtHKT1;1. PLoS ONE 5(9): e12571.

16. Dayod M, Tyerman SD, Leigh RA, Gilliham M (2010) Calcium storage in plants and the implications for calcium biofortification. Protoplasma 247:215-231.

17. Conn SJ, Gilliham M (2010) Comparative physiology of elemental distributions in plants . Annals of Botany 105:1081-1102.

18. Preuss CP, Huang CY, Gilliham M, Tyerman SD (2010) Channel-like characteristics of the low affinity barley phosphate transporter Pht1;6 when expressed in Xenopus oocytes. Plant Physiology 152: 1431-41.

19. Vandeleur RK, Mayo G, Shelden MC, Gilliham M, Kaiser BN, Tyerman SD (2009) The role of plasma membrane intrinsic protein aquaporins in water transport through roots: diurnal and drought stress responses reveal different strategies between isohydric and anisohydric cultivars of grapevine. Plant Physiology 149:445-60.

20. Møller IS, Gilliham M, Jha D, Mayo GM, Roy SJ, Coates JC, Haseloff J, Tester M (2009) Shoot Na+ exclusion and increased salinity tolerance engineered by cell type-specific alteration of Na+ transport in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 21: 2163-2178.

21. Roy SJ, Gilliham M, Berger B, Essah PA, Cheffings C, Miller AJ, Widdowson L, Davenport RJ, Liu L-H, Skynner MJ, Davies JM, Richardson P, Leigh RA, Tester M (2008) Investigating glutamate receptor-like gene co-expression in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant, Cell and Environment 31: 861-871.

22. Tracy FE, Gilliham M, Dodd AN, Webb AAR, Tester M (2008) NaCl-induced changes in cytosolic free Ca2+ in Arabidopsis thaliana are heterogeneous and modified by external ionic composition. Plant, Cell and Environment 31: 1063-1073.

23. Gilliham M, Sullivan W, Tester MA, Tyerman SD (2006) Simultaneous flux and current measurement from single plant protoplasts reveals a strong link between K+ fluxes and current, but no link between Ca2+ fluxes and current Plant Journal 46:134-144.

24. Gilliham M, Tester MA (2005) The regulation of anion loading to the maize root xylem. Plant Physiology 137:819-828.


Refereed Conference papers

25. Conn SJ, Gilliham M, Kaiser BN, Tyerman SD, Leigh RA (2009) Calcium compartmentation in Arabidopsis mesophyll cells, a mechanism to regulate apoplastic calcium, photosynthetic rates and growth, involves low-affinity, high-capacity Ca2+/H+ antiporters . UC Davis: The Proceedings of the International Plant Nutrition Colloquium XVI. Retrieved from:

26. Preuss CP, Huang CY, Gilliham M, Tyerman SD (2009). Barley phosphate transporter 1;6 shows broad inorganic anion transport activity when expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes. UC Davis: The Proceedings of the International Plant Nutrition Colloquium XVI. Retrieved from:

Other publications

27. Gilliham M (2011) Editorial in Special Issue on Plant Membrane Biology. Journal of Experimental Botany 62:2231-2232.

28. Bray H, Gilliham M (2012) Ancient genes and modern science deliver salt tolerant wheat. Scientific American,, 18th April.

Industry commissioned reports

29. Collins C, Iland P, Dry PR, McCarthy, MG, Longbottom, ML, Gilliham M (in press) Review and industry recommendations: Re-assessing vine balance and determining practicable indices for grower implementation for improvement of wine quality. Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (accepted 30/10/2012, and to submitted to peer-review journal).

Industry publications


30. Collins C, Iland P, Dry PR, McCarthy, MG, Longbottom, ML, Gilliham M (in press) Vine balance - measuring and managing for quality - FACTSHEET. Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (accepted 18/2/2013).


31. Gilliham M (2012) Genomics: the key to safeguarding sustainable wine production and so much more. Wine and Viticulture. July 2012.

Conference Proceedings

32. Gilliham M, Birchby L (2010) 15th International Workshop on Plant Membrane Biology, Adelaide.

Newspaper article

33. Gilliham M(2010) Can you believe it? Mining for health. Adelaide Advertiser, 16 Nov.


Expertise for Media Contact

CategoriesAgriculture & Farming, Science & Technology
ExpertisePlant Science, Salinity Tolerance, Plant Nutrition, Viticulture, Plant Genomics
Mobile0431 663614

Entry last updated: Sunday, 27 Jul 2014

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