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Associate Professor Matthew Gilliham
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Broad Research Interests
The functional characterisation of salinity tolerance mechanisms in crop and model plants, especially those related to membrane transport of Na+ and Cl-
The regulation of membrane transport systems by plant energy status, and C:N balance
The mechanisms of cell-specific nutrient storage
The use of knowledge gained from the above in breeding programs to improve crop nutrient use efficiency and abiotic stress tolerance
Selected Research Highlights
First identifcation of GABA signalling mechanism in plants (Nature Communications).
First field demonstration that shoot sodium exclusion, via manipulation of sodium transport genes, improves the grain yield of wheat (Nature Biotechnology). The same study also showed that the regaining of genetic diversity lost through conventional breeding can improve the salt tolerance of crop plants.
First demonstration that cell specific nutrient compartmentation in leaves has a physiological role. Mesophyll specific calcium compartmentation is necessary to regulate cell wall calcium, leaf expansion, stomatal aperture and plant productivity (Plant Cell). Mesophyll specific calcium compartmentation is required as an osmoticum for growth in serpentine conditions (New Phytologist).
Associate Professor, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide (2015-)
Chief Investigator of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology (2014-2020).
ARC Future Fellow (2013-2017)
Senior Lecturer, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide (2013-2014)
Research Positions at University of Cambridge and Univeristy of Adelaide (2003-2012)
PhD Plant Science, University of Cambridge (2002)
BSc (Hons) Ecology, University of Lancaster (1997)
Awards, Prizes, Fellowships And Recognition
2015 ASPB Highly Cited Author (2008-2013)
2013 ARC Future Fellow - Anion Transport In Plants
2012 South Australian Tall Poppy For Excellence In Science Research And Communication
2012 Dean Of Faculty (Sciences) Order Of Merit, University Of Adelaide
2012 Go8 China-Australia Fellow
2012 Science And Innovation Award For Young People In Agriculture, Fisheries And Forestry
2008 Faculty of Sciences Research Award, University of Adelaide
2003 BBSRC Wain International Research Fellowship
2000-2002 Frank Smart Studentship
1998-2002 BBSRC Postgraduate Studentship
Australian Research Council (ARC) (Discovery, Linkage, Centres of Excellence Schemes)
CIs of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology
For past successful collaborations see publications.
Lectures and practicals into:
COMBIO 2017 co-chair (plant section)
Associate Editor: BMC Plant Biology
Selected Publications (see google scholar for full listing)
Salt transport and tolerance
Henderson SW, Wege S, Qiu J, Blackmore DH, Walker AR, Tyerman SD, Walker RR, Gilliham M* (2015) Grapevine and Arabidopsis cation-chloride cotransporters localise to the Golgi and trans-Golgi network and indirectly influence long-distance ion homeostasis and salt tolerance. Plant Physiology doi:
Munns R, Gilliham M* (2015) Salinity tolerance of crops – what is the cost? New Phytologist doi:10.1111/nph.13519.
Guan R, Qu Y, Guo Y, Yu L, Liu Y, Jiang J, Chen J, Ren Y, Liu G, Tian L, Jin L, Liu Z, Hong H, Chang R, Gilliham M*, Qiu L. (2014) Salinity tolerance in soybean is modulated by natural variation in GmSALT3. Plant Journal 80:937–950.
Henderson SW, Baumann U, Blackmore DH, Walker AR, Walker RR, Gilliham M*. (2014) Shoot chloride exclusion and salt tolerance in grapevine is associated with differential ion transporter expression in roots. BMC Plant Biology 14:273.
Byrt CS, Krishnan M, Xu B, Lightfoot D, Athman A, Watson-Haigh NS, Jacobs A, Plett D, Munns R, Tester M, Gilliham M*. (2014) Accumulation of Na+ in bread wheat is controlled by the Na+ transporter TaHKT1;5-D. Plant Journal 80:516–526.
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 14:7660-7680.
Munns RJ, James RA, Xu B, Athman A, Conn SJ, Jordans C, Byrt CS, Hare RA, Tyerman SD, Tester M, Plett D and Gilliham M* (2012) Grain yield of modern wheat on saline soils is improved by ancestral HKT gene. Nature Biotechnology 30:360-364. ESI high cite, F1000 Recommended
Plett D, Safwat G, Gilliham M, Møller IS, Roy SJ, Shirley N, 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.
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 manipulation of Na+ transport in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 21:2163-2178. ESI high cite, F1000 Recommended
Gilliham M§ and Tyerman SD (2016) Linking metabolism to membrane signalling: the GABA-malate connection. Trends in Plant Science. Accepted 23rd November 2015
Ramesh S†, Tyerman SD†, Xu B, Bose J, Kaur S, Conn V, Domingos P, Ullah S, Wege S, Shabala S, Feijó J, Ryan PR, Gilliham M§ (2015) GABA signalling modulates plant growth by directly regulating the activity of plant-specific anion transporters. Nature Communications doi:10.1038/ncomms8879.
Cell specific nutrient accumulation
Liu G-W, Li D-Q, Sun A-L, Athman A, Gilliham M, Liu L-H (2014) Molecular identification and functional analysis of a maize (Zea mays) DUR3 homolog that transports urea with high affinity. Planta. Accepted 8th December. doi. 10.1007/s00425-014-2219-7
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.
Gilliham M*, Athman A, Tyerman SD and Conn SJ (2011) Cell-specific compartmentation of mineral nutrients is an essential mechanism for optimal plant productivity; another role for TPC1? Plant Signaling and Behavior 6:1656-1661
Conn S, Conn V, Tyerman SD, Kaiser BN, Leigh RA and Gilliham M* (2011) Arabidopsis magnesium transporters, MGT2/MRS2-1 and MGT3/MRS2-5, are important for magnesium partitioning within Arabidopsis thaliana mesophyll vacuoles. New Phytologist 190:583-594.
Conn SJ, Gilliham M*, Athman A, Schreiber AS, Baumann U, Moller I, Cheng N-H, Stancombe MA, Hirschi KD, Webb AAR, Burton R, Kaiser BN, Tyerman SD and 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. ESI high cite, F1000 Recommended
Conn SJ, Gilliham M* (2010) Comparative physiology of elemental distributions in plants. Annals of Botany 105:1081-1102. ESI high cite
Calcium Transport and Signalling
Michard E, Lima PT, Borges F Silva AC, Carvalho JE, Gilliham M, Liu L-H, Obermeyer G, Feijó JA (2011) Glutamate-Receptor-like genes control pollen tube Ca2+ influx and morphogenesis. Science 6028:434-437. (Cover Article) ESI high cite, F1000 Must read
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.
Tracy FE, Gilliham M, Dodd AN, Webb AAR, Tester M (2008) Cytosolic free Ca2+ in Arabidopsis thaliana are heterogeneous and modified by external ionic composition. Plant, Cell and Environment 31: 1063-1073.
Kiegle E, Gilliham M, Haseloff J, Tester M (2000) Hyperpolarisation-activated calcium currents found only in cells from the elongation zone of Arabidopsis thaliana roots. Plant Journal, 21: 225-229.
Vandeleur RK, Sullivan W, Athman A, Jordans C, Gilliham M, Kaiser BN, Tyerman SD (2014) Rapid shoot-to-root signalling regulates root hydraulic conductivity via aquaporins. Plant Cell and Environment 37:520-538.
Gilliham M, Dayod M, Hocking B, Xu B, Conn SJ, Kaiser BN, Leigh RA and Tyerman SD (2011) Calcium delivery and storage in plant leaves; exploring the link with water flow. Journal of Experimental Botany 62:2233-2250. Cover image.
Vandeleur RK, Mayo G, Shelden MC, Gilliham M, Kaiser BN and 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.
Nagarajan Y, Rongala Y, Luang S, Singh A, Shadiac N, Hayes J, Sutton T, Gilliham M, Tyerman SD, McPhee G, Voelcker NH, Mertens HDT, Kirby N, Lee J-G, Yingling YG, Hrmova M (2015) An integrative platform reveals that a barley boron tolerance protein mediates Na+-dependent anion transport. The Plant Cell. Accepted 23rd November 2015
Athman A, Tanz S, Conn V, Jordans C, Mayo GM, Weng WN, Burton RA, Conn SJ, Gilliham M* (2014) A fast and simple in situ PCR method for localising gene expression in plant tissue. Plant Methods, 10:29. (article link)
Baby T, Hocking B, Tyerman SD, Gilliham M, Collins C (2014) Modified method for producing grapevine plants in controlled environments. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture, 65:261-267.
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.
Roy SJ, Conn SJ, Mayo GM, Athman A, Gilliham M* (2012) Transcriptomics on small samples. In, Methods in Molecular Biology: Plant Salt Tolerance Eds. Shabala S and Cuin T. Humana Press, NJ, USA, Vol 913, pp. 335-350.
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. ISBN 978-1-4051-3995-3.
Gilliham M*, Sullivan W, Tester M & Tyerman SD (2006) Simultaneous ion-flux and current measurement from plant protoplasts. Plant Journal 46:134-144.
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