Frances Sussmilch: Plant Physiology First Author

Frances Sussmilch, first author of “Mendel: from Genes to Genome”

Current Position: ARC DECRA Fellow, University of Tasmania, Australia

Education: PhD in Molecular Biology/Genetics, University of Tasmania, Australia

Non-scientific Interests: Reading, woolcrafts, long scenic walks with the dog

Brief bio:

I completed my PhD and first postdoc position in Assoc. Prof. Jim Weller’s group, investigating the genes controlling flowering time and inflorescence development in garden pea, using a forward genetics, candidate gene approach. As a postdoc, I had the opportunity to begin studying the evolution of genes controlling stomatal movements in land plants with Dr Scott McAdam and Prof. Tim Brodribb. After receiving a Short-Term Postdoctoral Research Grant from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), I spent a few years at the University of Würzburg (Germany) investigating the evolution of guard cell ion channels and signalling pathways with Prof. Rainer Hedrich. I returned to Tasmania after securing an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA) to investigate the genes that control rapid biosynthesis of the plant stress hormone abscisic acid (ABA). I am also fortunate to be an Associate Investigator within the ARC Centre of Excellence for Plant Success in Nature and Agriculture. My research interests gravitate towards the evolution of gene function, the influence that small changes in single genes can have on plant phenotype, the similarities and differences that can be seen in the functions of related genes between diverse plant lineages, and the molecular features that have helped plants to survive and thrive in challenging environments.