University Staff Directory The University of Adelaide Australia
Faculties & Divisions | People A to Z | Media Expertise | Phonebook
Public browsing [Login]
Text Zoom: S | M | L

Dr Stuart Roy

Telephone +61 8 8313 0549
Position Senior Research Fellow
Fax +61 8 8313 7102
Building Plant Genomics Centre
Floor/Room 2 20
Campus Waite
Org Unit Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics (ACPFG)

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

Biography/ Background

Positions held:

2015 - Chair ACPFG Postgraduate Committee

2013 - Management Group Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics

2013 - 2014 Chair of the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics' Resource Management Group

2009 - 2013 - Member of the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics' Science Advisory Group (Chair in 2013)

2005 - Salt Focus Group Leader Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics and the University of Adelaide, Australia

2004 - Postdoctoral Research Fellow  Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics and the University of Adelaide, Australia.

Project: Identification of novel salt tolerance genes in plants

2001-2004 Broodbank Research Fellow Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, UK,

Project: Development of single cell molecular biology techniques

1998-2001 Ph.D. (Supervisor: Prof Roger Leigh) Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, UK & Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, UK,

Project: Single cell measurements of vacuolar hydrolase activities in senescing leaves of barley

1994-1998 BSc (hons) in Plant and Environmental Biology, First Class, Awarded Margaret Laing Bell prize. The University of St Andrews, UK

Dissertation: Light repair of UV-B induced 6-4 photoproducts in wheat (Supervisor: Dr Alyson Tobin)


Funding recieved:

Broodbank research fellowship, University of Cambridge

GRDC 2010-2013, ‘Development of high salinity tolerant winter cereals germplasm' (with M Tester, G McDonald, J Eglinton, D Mather, K Chalmers, M Quinn, R Munns)

USAID 2013-2017, "Abiotic stress tolerant bio-engindeered cereals' (with A Jacobs, P Langridge, Sergiy Lopato et al.)

GRDC 2013-2016, "Development of salinity tolerant wheat and barley' (with M Gilliham, B. Berger, R. James, T. Colmer, E. Barrett-Lennard)

Research Interests


Loss of crop yield due to high concentrations of Na+ and Cl- on agricultural land is a significant problem for Australian farmers.  An estimated 4.6 M ha of Australian farmland is affected to some degree by saline soils - currently 1 in 2 Western Australian farms and 1 in 5 South Australian farms are affected by salinity. By 2050 it is expected that around 14 M ha of Australian agricultural land will be affected by dryland salinity, therefore it is imperative that we identify genes and cellular processes which will increase the salinity tolerance of our crop plants.

Crops undergoing salt stress experience an immediate reduction in growth and tillering (shoot independent ionic stress) and an increase in premature senescence due to the accumulation of toxic ions (shoot depedent ionic stress).

Our group has a number of projects all aimed at obtaining a better understanding of the processes involved in both the shoot independent and the shoot dependent ionic stress. We are using both forward and reverse genetics to identify mechanisms for improving the salinity tolerance of crops.


Quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping for novel genes involved in Na+ and Cl- accumulation in cereals

Identification of genes involved in the tolerance to the shoot independent ionic stress

Development of molecular markers to novel salinity tolerance traits

Understanding the mechanisms controlling the plant's reponse to salinity stress

Salt stress physiology


PhD and Honours projects available:

See the "File" section below for the range of PhD and Honours projects available in the ACPFG Salt Reseach Group

Characterisation of a novel salt stress signalling pathway in Arabidopsis

Aims and Objectives

  • To better understand the processes which activate key Na+ transporters in plants by using in situ hybridizations, along with promoter::GFP and GFP::gene fusions, to identify when and in what cell/tissue type the candidate gene is active
  • To generate transgenic plants which are more salt tolerant through the use of constitutive and cell specific over-expression of candidate genes in Arabidopsis, rice and barley

Techniques to be used

  • DNA and RNA extractions, In situ hybridisation, Confocal microscopy, laser assisted micro-dissection, Real time PCR, Cloning, Flame photometry, yeast 2 hybrids

Identification of the plant cell Na+ sensing receptor

Aims and Objectives

  • To identify the gene(s) that encodes the cell membrane's Na+ sensor
  • Development of a quantitative assay for measuring plant responsiveness to Na+ and use this to phenotype plants
  • Screen T-DNA knockout and mapping population lines for mutants lacking a salt responsive phenotype 

Techniques to be used

  • DNA and RNA extractions, Phenotypic screening of mapping populaitons and T-DNA knockout plants, QTL mapping, Creation of new DNA markers, Flame photometry, Cloning


Characterisation of a salt tolerance gene from barley

Aims and Objectives

  • To confirm the identity of a Na+tolerance gene in barley
  • To confirm the protein's function in planta and heterologous expression systems
  • To generate and characterise the salinity toelrance of transgenic wheat and barley expressing the gene

Techniques to be used

  • DNA and RNA extractions, Cloning, QTL, Heterologous expression systems, Creation of new DNA markers, Flame photometry, Electrophysiology, Non-destructive harvesting using image capturing equipment


See the "File" section below for the range of PhD and Honours projects available in the ACPFG Salt Reseach Group


Li, B., Byrt, C., Qiu, J., Baumann, U., Hrmova, M., Evrard, A., Johnson, A.A.T., Birnbaum, K.D., Mayo, G., Jha, D., Henderson, S.W., Tester, M., Gilliham, M. Roy, S.J. (in press) Identification of a stelar-localised transport protein that facilitates root-to-shoot transfer of chloride in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology

Amarasinghe, S., Watson-Haigh N.S., Gilliham, M., Roy S., Baumann, U. (2016) The evolutionary origin of CIPK16: A gene involved in enhanced salt tolerance, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution DOI:10.1016/j.ympev.2016.03.031

Roy, S.J., Collins N.C., Munns R (2016) Abiotic stress genes and mechniams in wheat. In Encyclopedia of Food Grains, Elsevier

Takahashi F, Tilbrook, J., Trittermann, C., Berger, B., Roy, S.J., Seki, M., Shinozaki, K., Tester, M. (2015) Comparison of leaf sheath transcriptome profiles with physiological traits of bread wheat cultivars under salinity stress. PLoS One 10: e0133322

Adem, G.D., Roy, S.J., Plett, D.C., Zhou, M., Bowman, J.P., Shabala, S. (2015) Expressing AtNHX1 in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) does not improve plant performance under saline conditions. Plant Growth Regulation DOI 10.1007/s10725-015-0063-9

Thoday-Kennedy, E.L., Jacobs, A.K., Roy, S.J. (2015) The role of the CBL-CIPK calcium signalling network in regulating ion transport in response to abiotic stress. Plant Growth Regulation 76: 3-12

Schmoeckel, S.M., Garcia, A.F., Berger, B. Tester, M., Webb, A.A.R., Roy, S.J. (2015) Different NaCl-induced calcium signatures in Arabidopsis thaliana genotypes Col-0 and C24. PLoS One. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0117564

Hairmansis, A., Berger B., Tester M., Roy S.J. (2014) Image-based phenotyping for non-destructive screening of different salinity tolerance traits in rice. Rice 7:16

Adem, G.D., Roy, S.J., Zhou, M., Bowman, J.P., Shabala (2014) Evaluating contribution of ionic, osmotic and oxidative stress components towards salinity tolerance in barley. BMC Plant Biology. 14: 113

Roy, S.J., Negrão, S. and Tester, M. (2014) Salt resistant crop plants. Current Opinion in Biotechnology 26: 115-124.

Schilling R., Marschner, P., Shavrukov, Y., Berger, B., Tester, M., Roy, S.J.#, Plett, D. (2014) Expression of the Arabidopsis vacuolar H+-pyrophosphatase gene (AVP1) improves the shoot biomass of transgenic barley and increases grain yield in a saline field. Plant Biotechnology Journal 12: 378-386

Tilbrook, J. and Roy, S.J. (2013) Salinity Tolerance In Plant abiotic stress, 2nd edition, M.A. Jenks and P.M. Hasegawa eds, Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, New York, USA

Roy, S.J., Huang, W., Wang, X.J., Evrard, A., Schmoeckel, S.M., Zafar, Z.U. Tester, M. (2013) A novel protein kinase involved in Na+ exclusion revealed from positional cloning, Plant, Cell and Environment 36: 553-568.

Shavrukov, Y., Bovil, J., Afzal,I., Hayes, J., Roy, S.J., Tester, M., Collins, N.C. (2013) HVP10 encoding V-PPase is a prime candidate for the barley HvNAX3 sodium exclusion gene - evidence from fine mapping and expression analysis, Planta 4: 1111-1122

Roy, S.J., Conn, S.J., Mayo, G.M., Athman, A. and Gilliham (2012) Transcriptomics on small samples. In Plant salt tolerance, methods and protocols; Methods in Molecular Biology 913: 335-350 T.A. Cuin and S. Shabala, eds Humana Press, Springer, New York, USA

Roy, S.J. and Tester, M. (2012) Approaches for increasing salinity tolerance of crops, in Encyclopedia of sustainable science and Technology, R.A. Meyers, ed, Springer, New York, USA

Roy, S.J., Tester, M. and Gaxiola, R. A., Flowers, T. J., (2012) Plants of Saline Environments, in McGraw-Hill Encyclopaedia of Science and Technology, McGraw-Hill, New York, USA

Roy, S.J., Tucker, E. & Tester, M. (2011) Genetic analysis of abiotic stress tolerance in crop plants. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 14: 1-8

Golzarian, M.R., Frick, R.A., Rajendran, K., Berger, B., Roy, S.J., Tester, M., Lun, D.S. (2011) Accurate inference of cereal plant biomass using information extracted from high-throughput plant images, Plant Methods 7:2

Plett, D.C., Safwat, G., Møller, I.S., Gilliham, M., Roy, S.J., Shirley, N., Jacobs, A., Johnson, A.A.J. and Tester, M. Improved salinity tolerance of rice through cell type-specific expression of AtHKT1;1, PLoS One. 5: e12571

Jha, D., Shirley, N., Tester, M. & Roy, S.J. (2010) Variation in salinity tolerance and shoot sodium accumulation in Arabidopsis ecotypes linked to differences in the natural expression levels of transporters involved in sodium transport. Plant, Cell & Environment 33: 793-804

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

Rajendran, K., Tester, M. & Roy, S.J. (2009) Quantifying the three main components of salinity tolerance in cereals. Plant, Cell & Environment 32, 237-249

Roy, S.J., Gilliham, M., Berger, B., Essah, P.A., Cheffings, C., Miller, A.J., Widdowson, L., Davenport, R.J., Liu, L.-H., Skynner, M.J., Davies, J.M., Richardson, P., Leigh, R.A. and Tester, M. (2008) Investigating glutamate receptor-like gene co-expression in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant, Cell & Environment 31: 861-871

Schnurbusch, T., Huang, C., Collins, N.C., Sutton, T., John, U., Roy, S., Paltridge, N., Tester, M., Langridge P. & Fincher, G.B. (2007) GM wheat and barley II. Prospects for enhanced productivity and quality. Agricultural Science 21: 4-10.

Wagstaff C., Rogers H., Buchanan-Wollaston, V., Bramke, I., Stead, A., Roy, S., Leigh R. (2006) Expression profiling from single cells of senescing plant tissues. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A - Molecular & Integrative Physiology 143:S120-120

Roy, S.J., Cuin, T.A. and Leigh, R.A. (2003) Nanolitre-scale assays to determine the activities of enzymes in individual plant cells, Plant J. 34: 555-564.




Roy, S.J. & Tester M. Salinity tolerance in plants, WO2010/025513.

Tester, M., Kaiser, B., Carter, S., Shearer, M., Plett, D., Roy, S.J., Cotsaftis, O., Tyerman, S. & Okamoto, M. Cation channel activity, PCT/AU2010001256.


Hopes for a salt-tolerant barley lift after first test

GRDC scholar anchors barley trial


Australia and Saudi Arabia work on grain crops





Entry last updated: Thursday, 29 Sep 2016

The information in this directory is provided to support the academic, administrative and business activities of the University of Adelaide. To facilitate these activities, entries in the University Phone Directory are not limited to University employees. The use of information provided here for any other purpose, including the sending of unsolicited commercial material via email or any other electronic format, is strictly prohibited. The University reserves the right to recover all costs incurred in the event of breach of this policy.