I am a molecular biologist with a broad interest in uncovering the underlying mechanisms of how plants interact with pathogenic and symbiotic microorganisms at the genetic and molecular levels. My research involves finding options for plants to interact with better partners for greater adaptability to harsh conditions.
I hold a PhD in agricultural and natural resource sciences from the University of Adelaide in Australia where I have specialized in molecular biology of the plant cell wall and pathogen interactions. I then moved to the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences to pursue my interest in the molecular dialogues between forest trees and ectomycorrhizal fungi by exploring the genetic and metabolite changes in both plant and fungal partners during the interactions. After completing this project I started my second postdoctoral project at Umea University in Sweden where I investigated how bacterial pathogens like Pseudomonas syringae trigger specific plant transcription factors to access specific plant metabolites and how modification of the plant genome can deny pathogens accessing these metabolites.
Currently, I am working as a research fellow at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE) of Western Sydney University. At HIE, I investigate pine root microbiomes, specifically how their diversity is altered by different fertilizer and fungicide application practices in nurseries across Australia. The investigation aims at minimizing the use of fertilizers and fungicides by restoring the root microbiome with beneficial microorganisms.