Wine science award to Waite researcher

Dr Matthew Gilliham at the University of Adelaide's Waite Campus.

Dr Matthew Gilliham at the University of Adelaide's Waite Campus.
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Wednesday, 7 March 2012

A major step forward in the science behind Australia's wine industry will result from a national award to a University of Adelaide researcher based at the Waite Campus.

Dr Matthew Gilliham has been awarded a $22,000 prize sponsored by the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC).

The prize will enable Dr Gilliham to map the genetic make-up of a grapevine rootstock that is vitally important to the wine industry.

Dr Gilliham, who is a Senior Research Scientist at the University's Waite Research Institute, School of Agriculture, Food & Wine and the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, has won the Viticulture & Oenology 2012 Science and Innovation Award for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

The award was presented last night in Canberra.

Rootstocks - onto which the fruiting part of the vine is grafted - are an important asset to Australian viticulture. The rootstock known as 140 Ruggeri is one of the most commonly planted in Australia.

Over the next 12 months, Dr Gilliham will compare the 140 Ruggeri rootstock's genetic sequence with the genome of the common grapevine, Vitis Vinifera.

This research will help identify genetic markers for traits such as drought, salinity, root pathogen and acid soil tolerance that could improve Australia's rootstock breeding programs.

"We hope that this sequencing will provide the important first steps in linking useful traits to genes, an approach that will accelerate breeding for key rootstock attributes and help support a competitive Australian wine sector," Dr Gilliham says.

Mr Neil Fisher, Executive Director of GWRDC, said: "GWRDC is pleased to sponsor young scientists as part of our investment in research, development and innovation in the Australian wine sector on behalf of our three key stakeholders: the Wine Grape Growers Association, Winemakers' Federation of Australia and the Australian Government.

"We congratulate Matthew on winning this award and we look forward to his continuing contribution to excellence in the Australia wine sector."


Contact Details

Dr Matthew Gilliham
ARC Future Fellow and Chief Investigator
ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 8145
Mobile: +61 431 663 614

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762