Doctor Chris Cazzonelli

Doctor Chris Cazzonelli

Senior Lecturer in Plant Molecular Biology,
Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment

Biography

Dr. Chris Cazzonelli is a Senior Lecturer in Plant Molecular Biology at Western Sydney University. He completed his Bachelor of Science (Honours Class I) at the University of Queensland and won an Australian Postgraduate Award to study mechanical stress gene regulation receiving a PhD in plant molecular biology and plant genetic engineering from the University of Queensland in 2002. He subsequently won a prestigious United States Department of Agriculture Postdoctoral Fellowship to investigate the molecular nature of gene activation, gene silencing and remote sensing of plant stress events in plants. In 2006, Dr. Cazzonelli was recruited by the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology at the Australian National University to investigate what regulates the production of health promoting carotenoid metabolites in plants. He was awarded the prestigious Goldacre Medal by the Australian Society of Plant Biologists in 2010. He now leads the Environmental Epigenetics Laboratory to understand molecular and phsiological mechanisms that facilitate metabolic homeostasis, prime plant stress acclimation, and program plant adaptation to changes in the environment (e.g. light quality, CO2, mechanical stress, acoustic vibration, and heatwaves). Our lab links memory forming processes to metabolite signalling and genetic regulation that controls the prodution of micronutrients; that has follow-on benefits for human and animal health. We are a scientific factory of discovery and knowledge advancing education, biological understanding, horticultural protected cropping, tree genomics, crop nutrition and environmental sustainability of agriculture.

This information has been contributed by Doctor Cazzonelli.

Qualifications

  • PhD University of Queensland
  • BSc Hons University of Queensland
  • BSc University of Queensland

Professional Memberships

  • Australian Society of Horticultural Science (2018)
  • International Society of Carotenoids (2014)
  • American Society of Plant Biologists (2000)
  • Australian Epigenetics Alliance (2012)
  • MDPI Editorial Board (2021 - 2021)

Awards

  • Australian Postgraduate Award 1996-01-01
  • ASPS Peter Goldacre Medal 2010-09-29

Interests

  • Epigenetics
  • Agriculture and the Environment
  • Botany
  • Climate Change
  • Genetics
  • Horticultural Crop Growth and Development
  • Plant Biology
  • Plant Biotechnology
  • Plant Genomics
  • Plant Nutrition
  • Plant Physiology
  • Plant Stress and Hormone Biology
  • Plant-microbe Interactions
  • Postharvest Horticulture

Organisational Unit (School / Division)

  • Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment

Committees

  • Next Generation Sequencing Committee
  • Biological and Radiation Safety Committee

Contact

Email: C.Cazzonelli@westernsydney.edu.au
Phone: (02) 4570 1752
Mobile: 0458536019
Location: L9.G.30
Hawkesbury

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Teaching

Current Teaching Areas

  • 300623 Genetics
  • 300865 Plant Physiology
  • 300869 Postharvest
  • 301097 Greenhouse Technology for Food Sustainability

Previous Teaching Areas

  • 300909 Biological Adaptation to Climate Change, 2014
  • 800186 Emerging Technologies for Biological Science, 2016

Publications

Chapters in Books

  • Alagoz, Y., Dhami, N., Mitchell, C. and Cazzonelli, C. (2020), 'cis/trans carotenoid extraction, purification, detection, quantification and profiling in plant tissues', Plant and Food Carotenoids: Methods and Protocols, Springer 9781493999514.
  • Baranski, R. and Cazzonelli, C. (2016), 'Carotenoid biosynthesis and regulation in plants', Carotenoids: Nutrition, Analysis and Technology, Wiley Blackwell 9781118622261.
  • Cuttriss, A., Cazzonelli, C., Wurtzel, E. and Pogson, B. (2011), 'Carotenoids', Biosynthesis of Vitamins in Plants. Part A. Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, Academic Press 9780123864796.
  • Cazzonelli, C., Nisar, N., Hussain, D., Carmody, M. and Pogson, B. (2010), 'Biosynthesis and regulation of carotenoids in plants-micronutrients, vitamins and health benefits', Plant Developmental Biology: Biotechnological Perspectives. Volume 2, Springer 9783642046698.

Journal Articles

  • Waterman, J., Hall, C., Mikhael, M., Cazzonelli, C., Hartley, S. and Johnson, S. (2021), 'Short-term resistance that persists : rapidly induced silicon anti-herbivore defence affects carbon-based plant defences', Functional Ecology, vol 35, no 1 , pp 82 - 92.
  • Biru, F., Islam, T., Cibils-Stewart, X., Cazzonelli, C., Elbaum, R. and Johnson, S. (2021), 'Anti-herbivore silicon defences in a model grass are greatest under Miocene levels of atmospheric CO2', Global Change Biology, vol 27, no 12 , pp 2959 - 2969.
  • Anwar, S., Brenya, E., Alagoz, Y. and Cazzonelli, C. (2021), 'Epigenetic control of carotenogenesis during plant development', Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences, vol 40, no 1 , pp 23 - 48.
  • Dhami, N. and Cazzonelli, C. (2021), 'Short photoperiod attenuates CO2 fertilization effect on shoot biomass in Arabidopsis thaliana', Physiology and Molecular Biology of Plants, vol 27, no 4 , pp 825 - 834.
  • Zhao, C., Chavan, S., He, X., Zhou, M., Cazzonelli, C., Chen, Z., Tissue, D. and Ghannoum, O. (2021), 'Smart glass impacts stomatal sensitivity of greenhouse Capsicum through altered light', Journal of Experimental Botany, vol 72, no 8 , pp 3235 - 3248.
  • Waterman, J., Cibils-Stewart, X., Cazzonelli, C., Hartley, S. and Johnson, S. (2021), 'Short-term exposure to silicon rapidly enhances plant resistance to herbivory', Ecology, vol 102, no 9 .
  • Dhami, N., Drake, J., Tjoelker, M., Tissue, D. and Cazzonelli, C. (2020), 'An extreme heatwave enhanced the xanthophyll de-epoxidation state in leaves of Eucalyptus trees grown in the field', Physiology and Molecular Biology of Plants, vol 26, no 2 , pp 211 - 218.
  • Cazzonelli, C., Hou, X., Alagoz, Y., Rivers, J., Dhami, N., Lee, J., Marri, S. and Pogson, B. (2020), 'A cis-carotene derived apocarotenoid regulates etioplast and chloroplast development', eLife, vol 9 .
  • Waterman, J., Mann, T., Cazzonelli, C., Hartley, S. and Johnson, S. (2020), 'Microbes in Helicoverpa armigera oral secretions contribute to increased senescence around plant wounds', Ecological Entomology, vol 45, no 5 , pp 1224 - 1229.
  • Dhami, N. and Cazzonelli, C. (2020), 'Prolonged cold exposure to Arabidopsis juvenile seedlings extends vegetative growth and increases the number of shoot branches', Plant Signaling and Behavior, vol 15, no 9 .
  • Biru, F., Cazzonelli, C., Elbaum, R. and Johnson, S. (2020), 'Contrasting effects of Miocene and Anthropocene levels of atmospheric CO2 on silicon accumulation in a model grass', Biology Letters, vol 16, no 11 .
  • Brenya, E., Chen, Z., Tissue, D., Papanicolaou, A. and Cazzonelli, C. (2020), 'Prior exposure of Arabidopsis seedlings to mechanical stress heightens jasmonic acid-mediated defense against necrotrophic pathogens', BMC Plant Biology, vol 20, no 1 .
  • Chavan, S., Maier, C., Alagoz, Y., Filipe, J., Warren, C., Lin, H., Jia, B., Loik, M., Cazzonelli, C., Chen, Z., Ghannoum, O. and Tissue, D. (2020), 'Light-limited photosynthesis under energy-saving film decreases eggplant yield', Food and Energy Security, vol 9, no 4 .
  • Dhami, N. and Cazzonelli, C. (2020), 'Environmental impacts on carotenoid metabolism in leaves', Plant Growth Regulation, vol 92, no 3 , pp 455 - 477.
  • Babla, M., Tissue, D., Cazzonelli, C. and Chen, Z. (2020), 'Effect of high light on canopy-level photosynthesis and leaf mesophyll ion flux in tomato', Planta, vol 252, no 5 .
  • Waterman, J., Cazzonelli, C., Hartley, S. and Johnson, S. (2019), 'Simulated herbivory : the key to disentangling plant defence responses', Trends in Ecology and Evolution, vol 34, no 5 , pp 447 - 458.
  • Babla, M., Cai, S., Chen, G., Tissue, D., Cazzonelli, C. and Chen, Z. (2019), 'Molecular evolution and interaction of membrane transport and photoreception in plants', Frontiers in Genetics, vol 10 .
  • Khan, M., Cazzonelli, C., Kurata, H., Li, C., Badsha, M., Muench, G. and Majid, A. (2019), 'Advancing herbal medicine through metabolic pathway analysis in plants and animals for routine pharmacological assessments', Advances in Integrative Medicine, vol 6, no Suppl. 1 , pp 106 - 107.
  • Khan, M., Cazzonelli, C., Kurata, H., Badsha, M., Li, C., Muench, G. and Majid, A. (2019), 'Metabolic similarity of plant and human : implications for efficacy and regulatory compliance of herbal therapies', Australian Herbal Insight, vol 2, no 1 , pp 028 - 037.
  • Schaub, P., Rodriguez-Franco, M., Cazzonelli, C., Alvarez, D., Wust, F. and Welsch, R. (2018), 'Establishment of an Arabidopsis callus system to study the interrelations of biosynthesis, degradation and accumulation of carotenoids', PLoS One, vol 13, no 2 .
  • Dhami, N., Tissue, D. and Cazzonelli, C. (2018), 'Leaf-age dependent response of carotenoid accumulation to elevated CO2 in Arabidopsis', Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, vol 647 , pp 67 - 75.
  • Alagoz, Y., Nayak, P., Dhami, N. and Cazzonelli, C. (2018), 'cis-carotene biosynthesis, evolution and regulation in plants : the emergence of novel signaling metabolites', Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, vol 654 , pp 172 - 184.
  • Pornsiriwong, W., Estavillo, G., Chan, K., Tee, E., Ganguly, D., Crisp, P., Phua, S., Zhao, C., Qiu, J., Park, J., Yong, D., Nisar, N., Yadav, A., Schwessinger, B., Rathjen, J., Cazzonelli, C., Wilson, P., Gilliham, M., Chen, Z. and Pogson, B. (2017), 'A chloroplast retrograde signal, 3'-phosphoadenosine 5'-phosphate, acts as a secondary messenger in abscisic acid signaling in stomatal closure and germination', eLife, vol 6 .
  • Van Norman, J., Zhang, J., Cazzonelli, C., Pogson, B., Harrison, P., Bugg, T., Chan, K., Thompson, A. and Benfey, P. (2014), 'Periodic root branching in Arabidopsis requires synthesis of an uncharacterized carotenoid derivative', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol 111, no 13 , pp 1300 - 1309.
  • Nisar, N., Cuttriss, A., Pogson, B. and Cazzonelli, C. (2014), 'The promoter of the Arabidopsis PIN6 auxin transporter enabled strong expression in the vasculature of roots, leaves, floral stems and reproductive organs', Plant Signaling and Behavior, vol 9 .
  • Avenda?o-Vazquez, A., Cordoba, E., Llamas, E., San Roman, C., Nisar, N., Torre, S., Ramos-Vega, M., Luz Gutierrez-Nava, M., Cazzonelli, C., Pogson, B. and Leon, P. (2014), 'An uncharacterized apocarotenoid-derived signal generated in carotene desaturase mutants regulates leaf development and the expression of chloroplast and nuclear genes in Arabidopsis', Plant Cell, vol 26, no 6 , pp 2524 - 2537.
  • Cazzonelli, C., Nizar, N., Roberts, A., Murray, K., Borevitz, J. and Pogson, B. (2014), 'A chromatin modifying enzyme, SDG8, is involved in morphological, gene expression, and epigenetic responses to mechanical stimulation', Frontiers in Plant Science, vol 5 .
  • Zhang, B., Aken, O., Thatcher, L., Clercq, I., Duncan, O., Law, S., Murcha, M., Van der Merwe, M., Seifi, H., Carrie, C., Cazzonelli, C., Radomiljac, J., Hofte, M., Singh, K., Breusegem, F. and Whelan, J. (2014), 'The mitochondrial outer membrane AAA ATPase AtOM66 affects cell death and pathogen resistance in Arabidopsis thaliana', Plant Journal, vol 80, no 4 , pp 709 - 727.
  • Cazzonelli, C., Vanstraelen, M., Simon, S., Yin, K., Carron-Arthur, A., Nisar, N., Tarle, G., Cuttriss, A., Searle, I., Benkova, E., Mathesius, U., Masle, J., Friml, J. and Pogson, B. (2013), 'Role of the Arabidopsis PIN6 auxin transporter in auxin homeostasis and auxin-mediated development', PLoS One, vol 8, no 7 .
  • Velten, J., Cakir, C., Youn, E., Chen, J. and Cazzonelli, C. (2012), 'Transgene silencing and transgene-derived siRNA production in tobacco plants homozygous for an introduced AtMYB90 construct', PLoS One, vol 7, no 2 .
  • Nisar, N., Verma, S., Pogson, B. and Cazzonelli, C. (2012), 'Inflorescence stem grafting made easy in Arabidopsis', Plant Methods, vol 8, no 1 .
  • Cazzonelli, C. (2011), 'Carotenoids in nature : insights from plants and beyond', Functional Plant Biology, vol 38, no 11 , pp 833 - 847.
  • Cazzonelli, C., Roberts, A., Carmody, M. and Pogson, B. (2010), 'Transcriptional control of Set Domain Group 8 and carotenoid isomerase during Arabidopsis development', Molecular Plant, vol 3, no 1 , pp 174 - 191.
  • Velten, J., Cakir, C. and Cazzonelli, C. (2010), 'A spontaneous dominant-negative mutation within a 35S::AtMYB90 transgene inhibits flower pigment production in tobacco', PLoS One, vol 5, no 3 .
  • Cazzonelli, C. and Pogson, B. (2010), 'Source to sink : regulation of carotenoid biosynthesis in plants', Trends in Plant Science, vol 15, no 5 , pp 266 - 274.
  • Wever, W., McCallum, E., Chakravorty, D., Cazzonelli, C. and Botella, J. (2010), 'The 5' untranslated region of the VR-ACS1 mRNA acts as a strong translational enhancer in plants', Transgenic Research, vol 19, no 4 , pp 667 - 674.
  • Cazzonelli, C., Yin, K. and Pogson, B. (2009), 'Potential implications for epigenetic regulation of carotenoid biosynthesis during root and shoot development', Plant Signaling and Behavior, vol 4, no 4 , pp 339 - 341.
  • Cazzonelli, C., Cuttriss, A., Cossetto, S., Pye, W., Crisp, P., Whelan, J., Finnegan, E., Turnbull, C. and Pogson, B. (2009), 'Regulation of carotenoid composition and shoot branching in Arabidopsis by a chromatin modifying histone methyltransferase, SDG8', Plant Cell, vol 21, no 1 , pp 39 - 53.
  • Howitt, C., Cavanagh, C., Bowerman, A., Cazzonelli, C., Rampling, L., Mimica, J. and Pogson, B. (2009), 'Alternative splicing, activation of cryptic exons and amino acid substitutions in carotenoid biosynthetic genes are associated with lutein accumulation in wheat endosperm', Functional and Integrative Genomics, vol 9, no 3 , pp 363 - 376.
  • Cazzonelli, C., Millar, T., Finnegan, E. and Pogson, B. (2009), 'Promoting gene expression in plants by permissive histone lysine methylation', Plant Signaling and Behavior, vol 4, no 6 , pp 484 - 488.
  • Velten, J., Pogson, B. and Cazzonelli, C. (2008), 'Luciferase as a reporter of gene activity in plants', Transgenic Plant Journal, vol 2, no 2 .
  • Cazzonelli, C. and Velten, J. (2008), 'In vivo characterization of plant promoter element interaction using synthetic promoters', Transgenic Research, vol 17, no 3 , pp 437 - 457.

Student research projects are available for enthusiastic and talented students wishing to further develop skills and knowledge in plant biology, environmental science and horticulture crop genomics. Research projects offer experience in technologies related to next generation sequencing, molecular biology, functional genomics, genetic engineering, synthetic biotechnology, viral gene editing, metabolite quantification, developmental and physiological characterisation, plant phenotyping, cell microscopy, postharvest quality analysis, and environmental plant growth strategies. We address fundamental questions and hypotheses relating to the impacts of environmental change on agricultural production. Our goal is to understand how changing environments (heatwaves, elevated CO2, light, drought and mechanical stress) influence health promoting micronutrient accumulation, growth, development and yield of plants. We investigate how the environment trains memory forming processes and primes stress acclimation to climate change.

HUNTING FOR GENETIC AND METABOLIC REGULATORY SWITCHES IN PLANTS 

Bacteria and plants are natural chemical factories producing micronutrient metabolites (e.g. vitamins and antioxidants such as carotenoid pigments) that promote animal health, cellular communication and regulate gene expression. We are discovering light and metabolite sensitive switches in plants that facilitate metabolic and cellular homeostasis, as well as control gene expression or protein levels. A translational goal will be to develop this new knowledge into synthetic biotechnology innovations.

ELUCIDATING CAROTENOID SIGNALS THAT PROMOTE PLANT GROWTH

Environmental and development conditions affect the temporal and spatial variation of plant carotenoid secondary metabolites that provide pharmaceutical and animal nutritional benefits. We are discovering carotenoid-derived metabolites that control root architecture, cellular signalling, nuclear gene expression, and that promote symbiotic microbial associations that enhance nutrient exchange and plant growth. A translation goal is to develop carotenoid derivatives as plant growth regulators that can innovate agricultural sustainability under extreme environments.

DECIPHERING HOW PLANTS ACCLIMATE TO MECHANICAL STRESS

Plants sense and respond to touch, acoustic vibration, wind, rain, herbivory and hence mechanical stress. Plants forget a single event of mechanical stress, yet remember prolonged mechanical stress that alters plant morphology; a phenomenon called thigmomorphogenesis. Our team investigates the physiological, molecular, and epigenetic forming processes that enable acclimation to plant mechanical stress events. We decipher how mechanical stress primes transcriptional memory and programs somatic stress acclimation to make a hardier plant. We are discovering how different events, intensities, and frequencies of mechanical stress alter plant growth, pollination, reproduction and acclimation to biotic as well as abiotic stress.

DEVELOPING TECHNOLOGIES TO ENHANCE AUSTRALIAN HORTICULTURE

Smart glass films, photovoltaic shade coverings, advanced fertigation strategies, breeding for elite genetic verities, and viral induced genome editing, are technologies used to advance protected cropping energy efficiency, promote early flowering of tree crops, redesign plant architecture, and speed up plant breeding programs.

This information has been contributed by Doctor Cazzonelli.

Current Projects

Title: Research and Operations to Trial Innovation Glass and Photovoltaic Technologies in Protected Cropping
Funder:
  • Horticulture Innovation Australia (non ACRG)
Western Researchers: David Tissue, Zhonghua Chen, Chris Cazzonelli, Oula Ghannoum and Ian Anderson
Years: 2017-06-21 - 2021-12-31
ID: P00024107
Title: Smart Glass film impacts on energy use and productivity in greenhouse lettuce
Funder:
  • Future Food Systems Limited CRC
Western Researchers: David Tissue, Zhonghua Chen, Oula Ghannoum, Chris Cazzonelli and Robert Sharwood
Years: 2021-02-28 - 2022-06-30
ID: P00027354
Title: National Tree Genomics Program - Genotype Prediction Toolbox [via QUT]
Funder:
  • Horticulture Innovation Australia (non ACRG)
Western Researchers: Chris Cazzonelli, Jonathan Plett and Alexie Papanicolaou
Years: 2018-03-01 - 2024-12-01
ID: P00025295
Title: Future Food Systems [Via UNSW]
Funder:
  • Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (CRC)
Western Researchers: Ian Anderson, David Tissue, Priti Krishna, Zhonghua Chen, Oula Ghannoum, Chris Cazzonelli, Mitchell Low, Chun Guang Li, Donald Mcneill and James Cook
Years: 2019-06-30 - 2029-06-01
ID: P00025995
Title: Advancing a potential acoustic-induced pollination solution for protected cropping
Funder:
  • Future Food Systems Limited CRC
Western Researchers: Chris Cazzonelli
Years: 2021-01-25 - 2021-09-30
ID: P00026840

Previous Projects

Title: The hunt for Ribonucleic Acid riboswitches and genetic sensors of metabolic flux in plants
Funder:
  • Australian Research Council (ACRG)
Western Researchers: Chris Cazzonelli
Years: 2014-01-26 - 2017-12-22
ID: P00021962
Title: Touching plants promotes memory and stress acclimation by DNA methylation
Funder:
  • University of the Philippines
Western Researchers: Chris Cazzonelli
Years: 2017-07-01 - 2018-06-30
ID: P00024470

Supervision

Current Supervision

Thesis Title: A Carotenoid-derived Metabolite Regulates Rna Structure and Carotenoid Gene Expression Controlling Pro-vitamin a Accumulation in Crops
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Integrating Simulated and True Herbivory with an Emphasis on Rapidly Deployed Anti-herbivore Silicon Defences
Field of Research: Environmental Studies
Thesis Title: National Tree Genomics - Functional genotype predicition for horticulture
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Physiological Mechanisms of Vegetables Grown Under Innovative Glass and Photovoltaic Technologies
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Deciphering how mechanical stress can prime plant defence mechanisms and train a hardier crop plant
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Investigating the Physiological Role of Protein Aggregation in Microbial Model Organisms and their Impact on Host Proteins (SOM
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: A Physiological and Molecular Insight into the Benefit of Light-diffusing Glass on Growth and Yield in Tomato in a High-tech Greenhouse
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: A carotenoid-derived signal controls root architecture in Arabidopsis
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Physiological and Molecular Insight into Fruit Development and Quality of Capsicum Annuum L. Under Smart Glass and Co2 Treatments
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Role of brassinosteroid in plant response to nutrient deficiency
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Functional Genetics in Horticulture Using Viral Induced Gene Regulation
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Effect of CO2 on Si Uptake and How This Affects Physical Traits and Herbivore Attack
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Floral Traits and Environmental Factors that Affect Mechanical-Induced Pollination, Fruit Development, Yield and Nutritional Qualities in Tomato
Field of Research:

Previous Supervision

Thesis Title: Environmental and Developmental Regulation of Carotenoid Metabolism in Arabidopsis Leaves
Field of Research: Environmental Studies; Biochemistry And Cell Biology
Thesis Title: Elucidating thigmomorphogenesis: An epigenetic phenomenon of mechanical stress acclimation in plants
Field of Research: Genetics; Environmental Studies; Pathology; Biological Sciences
Thesis Title: Feedback Regulation of Carotenoid Biosynthesis by an Apocarotenoid Sensing RNA Structural Switch
Field of Research: Environmental Studies; Environmental Engineering; Biochemistry And Cell Biology
Thesis Title: Elucidating a Novel Apocarotenoid Signal Controlling Root Development in Plants
Field of Research: Natural And Physical Sciences

Media

Title: 2010 Goldacre recipient Dr Chris Cazzonelli
Description: Australian Society of Plant Scientists
Title: From darkness to light: New findings unravel how plants control energy generation
Description: Phys.org
Title: How science explains the colours of our Christmas food
Description: Hawkesbury Gazette
Title: Inspiring Science
Description: Australian Society of Plant Scientists
Title: When science meets parliament in 2015
Description: Australian Society of Plant Scientists

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