Richard Hill


PhD Candidate

Thesis Title

Genes beyond organisms: Using machine learning and pan-omic datasets to unravel the complex perception/response systems of plants during microbial symbiosis

Research Project

I am essentially studying how Eucalyptus roots differentiate between pathogenic and mutualistic fungi. Starting off with the interaction between Eucalyptus grandis roots and firstly the mutualistic fungi Pisolithus microcarpus, and secondarily the pathogenic fungus Armillaria luteobubalina; I shall independently study and later compare these two interactions. Through this, I shall construct a model of E. grandis gene regulation and how this differentiates between the two interactions. I shall then test this model, trying to identify responsible signal molecules and later seeing how this model translates to other such plant-fungal interactions.

This research shall help enable further developments to tailor plants to their local microbiome and optimize the mutualistic plant-fungal interaction for human benefit.

Research Supervisors

Dr Jonathan Plett, Dr Krista Plett and Dr Thomas Jeffries