Division of
Natural and Applied Sciences

PhD opportunities at the Hawkesbury Institute for then Environment

The Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE) located in western Sydney, New South Wales, Australia is offering research scholarships to two highly motivated PhD candidate to work on a project focused towards improving production of vegetable crops and trialing technologies for management of common bacterial diseases. The project is co-funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia, the Department of Primary Industries NSW, and Western Sydney University.

One candidate will develop a toolbox for management decisions by vegetable growers in the battle against bacterial pathogens. They will study how biocontrol products promote plant growth and nutrition while maintaining disease suppression of the target pathogens. The student will then scale up these results to determine targeted and timing-based applications of these approaches under field-realistic conditions. Alongside these trials, the student will experimentally test whether soil amendments can be used on farms to suppress pathogen prevalence and disease outbreaks by enhancing the activity of naturally occurring free-living soil microbes.

For more detail see: https://tinyurl.com/yc2y7e3t

The other candidate will develop early warning systems for the detection of bacterial foliar pathogens. Sensitive eDNA methods will be developed to detect the presence and viability of these pathogens. They will investigate the molecular changes in the plant during the pre-symptomatic stages of the disease to identify novel biomarkers of infection for diagnostic assay development for early warning systems. Controlled environment experiments will determine if different climatic events will have an impact on biomarker variability. The most promising methods for early detection will be tested at local farms to develop case studies illustrating how they can be adopted by growers.

For more detail see: https://tinyurl.com/3a55ppm6

The Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE) is a research institute within Western Sydney University. The HIE has rapidly become a research leader in agronomic and plant-microbe research, with a strong reputation for delivering research outcomes of the highest quality. The project will be based at HIE with the opportunity to work with industry professionals.

Application close August 31, 2023

Uffe N Nielsen

Associate Professor | Soil Invertebrate Ecology

Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment

P: 02 4570 1131 |

E: u.nielsen@westernsydney.edu.au