Plant Biology

Highly-cited researchers

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'Highly Cited Researchers' are identified by Thomson Reuters and are defined as the pre-eminent individual researchers, in each of 21 subject categories, who have demonstrated great influence in their field as measured by citations to their work.

The School is home to seven highly-cited researchers, and three more are honorary or adjunct staff members.

These research leaders contribute to a dynamic and inspiring community with a mission to improve the understanding, management and use of plants

Current staff members

Professor Jim Barrow

Jim began his career with CSIRO in 1954, and 'retired' nearly 40 years later as a Chief Research Scientist. Currently, he is a Research Fellow at UWA. Jim has worked on diverse projects, but is best known for his work on mechanisms of sorbed ions in soils (phosphate, molybdate and heavy metals). The initial paper presenting a model was recently recognised by the European Journal of Soil Science as a landmark paper. The work was subsequently summarized as four laws of soil chemistry to quantitatively explain the behaviour of the reactions of cations and anions with soils.

His current work is concerned with demonstrating the applicability of these laws to different circumstances; for example, that long-term application of phosphate fertilisers greatly decreases the ability of the soil to react with further applications of phosphate, with practical implications for farm productivity and catchment management such as pollution of water bodies.

Professor Christine Foyer

Christine Helen Foyer is the Professor of Plant Sciences at the University of Leeds (UK), a Professor at The University of Western Australia, and a Professor of Zhejiang University (China). She is a member of the French Academy of Agriculture and the Secretary General of the Federation of European Plant Biologists.

Her work is highly cited, her H-Index being over 80. Her lab uses multidisciplinary -omic technologies together with whole plant physiology and biochemistry to elucidate how plant growth and development are regulated by cellular reduction/oxidation (redox) status and related signals under optimal and stress (drought, chilling, high light, aphid infestation) conditions.

Laureate Professor Richard Hobbs

Richard J Hobbs is Professor and IAS Distinguished Fellow in the School of Plant Biology at the University of Western Australia, and leads the Ecosystem Restoration and Intervention Ecology Research Group. His work has contributed to and advanced conservation biology, landscape ecology and restoration ecology. He is a Highly Cited Researcher in Ecology and Environment.  He focuses on sound empirical field ecology, conceptual and synthetic development, and practical on-ground application to ecosystem management and restoration.

He maintains long-term studies in California and Western Australia. His work on restoration ecology, intervention ecology and novel ecosystems aims to provide a framework to guide management and policy, and has also promoted much needed scientific and public debate in this area.

Professor Hans Lambers

Hans' key areas of research have been plant respiration, plant growth analysis, and plant mineral nutrition. He invariably aims for integration of the fields of physiology and biochemistry at whole plant and vegetation levels.

In research begun subsequent to his emigration to Australia in 1998, his group contributed significantly to our understanding of the mineral nutrition of Australian plants, especially Proteaceae, and crop legumes. The high level of this work is internationally highly regarded and has led his appearance on the very first ISI list of highly-cited authors in plant and animal science.

Among others, his Honorary Professorship at China Agricultural University, Beijing, China (2002), and election as Fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) (2003) and the Australian Academy of Science (2012) all testify to his international standing.

Professor Rana Munns

Rana Munns is Emeritus Professor in the School of Plant Biology, and the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology. She was elected as Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2007. She is recognised internationally for her insights into the fundamental mechanisms of crop adaptation to salinity and other stresses, and for applications of these insights which led to a 25 per cent increase in durum wheat yield in saline soils.

In 2012 she won the Thomson-Reuter’s award for the most cited Australian plant scientist over the previous ten years.

Professor Stephen Powles

Stephen Powles is an international expert on herbicide resistant crops and weeds, with research interests ranging from crop and weed science through to applied evolutionary biology. At UWA he leads a large team at the Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative focussed on crop, weed and resistance issues in Australian and global agriculture. Research ranges from molecular genetics and evolution through to applied management on-farm.

Professor Powles has 240 research papers in international science journals, has edited two books and several highly-cited reviews. Professor Powles attracts major GRDC and ARC funding as well as from corporations. Professor Powles is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

He was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal and the GRDC Seed of Light Award for services to Australian crop production.

Professor Rajeev Varshney

Rajeev is Research Program Director - Grain Legumes and Director of the Centre of Excellence in Genomics for the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and Professor at UWA. He served the  Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Generation Challenge Program as Theme Leader for six years. He previously worked at IPK-Gatersleben, Germany. Rajeev is internationally recognized for his contributions in genome sequencing of pigeonpea, chickpea, peanut, pearl millet, sesame, mungbean and azuki bean and development of molecular breeding products in chickpea and peanut.

He has published more than 300 publications including in Nature, Nature Biotechnology, Nature Communications, and he is a Highly Cited Author. Rajeev is an invited speaker at many international conferences. Rajeev provides leadership by serving as member/chair for several committees, editorial boards, funding organisations and advisory boards.

Adjunct/honorary staff members

Adjunct Professor Mark Chase

Mark Chase is an expert on the evolution and classification of flowering plants (angiosperms), with particular interests in polyploidy and hybridization in orchids and wild tobaccos. He has been one of the chief authors of a revised classification of plants (largely based on genetic data) and has published on genomic reorganisation following hybridization and genome doubling in both wild and cultivated tobaccos. He has published over 500 research papers and book chapters and authored six books.

Professor Chase is a fellow of the Linnean Society of London (and received its Darwin-Wallace Medal in 2009) and the Royal Society of London (elected in 2003).

Emeritus Professor John Pate

Research on root:soil interrelationships:
Current activities impinge on roles played by plant roots and associated microorganisms on the overall functioning of biodiverse native ecosystems. Special attention is given to bioengineering activities of dominant deep-rooted taxa in radically altering soil profiles, and the consequences of this on availability of water and nutrients and attendant competition for resources between players of an ecosystem. Study of structural and functional modification of roots features prominently in this research.

Adjunct Professor Sir David Read

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