Eloise: Coming full circle

I completed by Honours and PhD in A/Prof Christine Beveridges lab at UQ from 1999 to 2003. My research investigated the role of the RMS genes in regulating shoot branching, in particular the RMS1 gene.

When I began my study we were still hunting for the mysterious and elusive mobile branching hormone regulated by RMS1 and I took many approaches including grafting, hormone analysis and gene coning and expression. I chose the lab as I was interested in plant development, was excited by the project and felt my supervisors would be engaged and supportive. I most enjoyed the breadth of my project that gave me skills in molecular and physiological techniques and the autonomy I was given to pursue my ideas and interests. I really enjoyed my interactions with my supervisors and felt my ideas were respected and encouraged. I was supported to attend and present at conferences and was involved in the writing of several papers which gave me invaluable skills. I was given the opportunity to interact with colleagues in other labs both in Australia and overseas which enabled me to gain my subsequent post-doctoral position.

Since finishing my PhD I gained a post-doctoral position at The University of Tasmania for three years looking at the way light regulates plant development. I went on to apply for and be awarded an ARC Early career Post-doctoral Research Fellowship looking into the role of plant hormones in the mycorrhizal symbiosis between plants and fungi. In some ways I have come full circle as the mysterious branching hormone I helped look for during my PhD has since been discovered to be strigolactone, the same compound that plays an important part in mycorrhizal symbiosis, which means I continue to interact and collaborate with Christine.

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