Zeeshan Khan, a visiting PhD student from Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, Pakistan, is currently working with the salt tolerance research group led by Dr Richard James in CSIRO’s Agriculture Flagship. Over the next six months, Zeeshan will be working at the High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre (HRPPC), the Canberra node of the Australian Plant Phenomics Facility.

Zeeshan KhanZeeshan’s PhD project aims to phenotype a large mapping population of primary D-genome synthetic hexaploid wheat for novel salt tolerance traits. The primary focus will be the osmotic component of salinity stress. With guidance from Richard James and assistance from the HRPPC team, Zeeshan will grow wheat seedlings in hydroponics in controlled environment growth cabinets for use in multiple experiments. His work involves capturing temperature response to salinity, a surrogate for osmotic stress tolerance. Zeeshan will quantify his results by using the analysis of images and data extracted by the HRPPC’s infrared thermography platform, TRAYSCAN. He hopes this will allow him to map novel QTL for tolerance to the osmotic component of salinity stress.

Zeeshan says “The team is professional and friendly, they are always interested in my work. My time in Australia is already proving very beneficial”.

”Screening protocols developed at CSIRO, together with the use of the latest high throughput non-destructive imaging platforms such as TRAYSCAN at the HRPPC, provide a unique opportunity to screen this collection of wheat using technology not available in Pakistan”, says Richard James.