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Wheat plant infected with rust disease
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Cereal rust research

Researching rust diseases since 1921
The University of Sydney’s Rust Laboratory seeks genetic solutions to control rust pathogens – among the most damaging pathogens of plants. Our goal is to deliver world class genetic protection from the cereal rust diseases to Australian winter cereal crops.

Our aim

Our work seeks to find genetic solutions to rust control in important plant species. For 100 years, we have monitored cereal rust pathogens throughout Australia, and have conducted fundamental world-class research to find and characterise new sources of rust resistance in cereals and investigate the molecular basis of plant resistance to rust fungi.

We assist Australian cereal breeding groups to incorporate rust resistance in new cultivars and promote stewardship of rust resistance genes by raising awareness of the importance of rust diseases in Australian cereal production and ensuring an ongoing skill-base in genetic control of these diseases.

Opportunities

The Rust Lab has a long and proud history of training postgraduate students from all over the world in rust and rust management. Since 2010, some 18 students have graduated with PhD degrees, conducting research programs on rust genetics in wheat, barley oat, and triticale, and on rust pathogen genomics. About half of these students are women.

We currently have 12 postgraduate students training with us, and we are especially keen to attract students with a passion for learning and a strong desire to contribute to the ongoing challenge of feeding the world in a changing environment.

Interested students should contact Jill Azmi, Hub Coordinator: pbi.acrcp@sydney.edu.au

How we are protecting wheat crops from disease

Our team

  • Deepak Barnwal
    Thesis title: Discovery of new sources of rust resistance in wheat to achieve durable rust control.
  • Michelle Demers (scholarship holder)
    Thesis title: Genome assembly of the rye stem rust Puccinia graminis f. sp. secalis and characterisation of putative Puccinia graminis somatic hybrids.
  • Hoan Dinh
    Thesis title: The genetics of resistance to leaf rust and stem rust in barley.
  • Wenjun Gu (scholarship holder)
    Research: plant breeding, plant genetics, molecular plant breeding.
  • Rouja Haghdoust
    Thesis title: Genetic and molecular analysis of resistance to adapted and non-adapted (heterologous) rust pathogens in barley.
  • Anisa Inkikhab, International visiting student
  • Mehwish Kanwal
    Thesis title: Genetic analysis and molecular mapping of stripe rust resistance in wheat.
  • Jennifer Le
    Thesis title: Rapid diagnostic tests for fresh produce pathogens.
  • Ching-Yu (Joey) Lu (scholarship holder)
    Thesis title: Genetic analysis of the oat crown rust pathogen Puccinia coronata f. sp. avenae and identification of candidate avirulence genes.
  • Mehnaz Mehnaz
    Thesis title: Molecular Genetic Characterization of Leaf Rust Resistance in Barley.
  • Michael Norman (scholarship holder)
  • Chris Rothwell (scholarship holder)
    Research: genetic resistance in barley against leaf rust.
  • Gurpreet Singh
    Thesis title: Understanding the genetic basis of resistance to Vascular Streak Dieback in cocoa
  • Lovepreet Singh
    Thesis title: Characterisation of new sources and superior gene combinations for durable resistance to leaf rust in barley
  • Long Song
    Thesis title: Genomic studies of the wheat leaf rust pathogen Puccinia triticina
  • Siraj Uddin, International visiting student
    Thesis title: Genomic studies of the stripe rust pathogen Puccinia striiformis f. ps. tritici
  • Xiaohui (Frank) Yu
    Thesis title: Rapid cloning of barley leaf rust resistance genes

Events

Upcoming events

Check back for information on our upcoming events.

Mitigating the effects of stripe rust on wheat production in south Asia and eastern Africa

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Professor Robert Park

Director of Cereal Rust Research, Judith & David Coffee Chair of Sustainable Agriculture

General enquiries contact

Jill Azmi, Hub Coordinator

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