Prof. Michelle Watt

Research interests

Plant root system discovery and application to human and environmental challenges

My group works in the lab and the field to understand how roots develop and function in dynamic rainfall and climate conditions. We combine imaging, phenotyping and omics methods, and include root interactions with the soil microbiome.

  • Water efficiency for agriculture by improving genetics and phenotypes of roots
  • engineering root carbon for more effective water use
  • imaging and modeling root-water-microorganism spatial-temporal dynamics in model soils
  • lab to field proof of concept experiments and collaborations

Research projects

  • Enhance root carbon genes (with Dr. Berit Ebert)
  • Build more efficient and finer roots with genetics (with Dr. John Golz)
  • Discover omics of root systems in real soil and water environments (with Drs. Ute Roessner and Heazlewood)
  • Visualise root-symbiont dynamics to optimse shoot growth and water uptake (with Prof. Linda Blackall, Dr. Doug Brumley and Dr. Allison van de Meene)
  • Explore root drought mechanisms of Australian native plants (with Dr. Jo Birth and Dr. Allison van de Meene)
  • Options for projects in translating lab results to agriculture in the real world

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