The Australian Plant Phenomics Facility has announced the recipients of its November 2022 Postgraduate Internship Awards.

Rucha Patil from the School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne, and Isobella Revell from the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney, will join the APPF team at The Plant Accelerator® in Adelaide to work on their projects.

Rucha is researching the phenotypic and nutritional characteristics of biofortified bread wheat for her doctoral studies. Specifically, she plans to grow and study biofortified and conventional bread wheat to understand whether inoculation with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and phosphorus fertilizer impacts plant growth and iron bioavailability in the grain.

Rucha will access the Smarthouse imaging system to monitor growth over time, and the X-ray CT scanner to measure grain size and morphology at maturity.

Isobella is working to increase our understanding of the mechanisms behind heterosis (hybrid vigour) in bread wheat, by phenotyping several commercially competitive bread wheat cultivars and their parental lines.

Her work already includes extensive datasets from two years of field research. However, access to the controlled growth and irrigation facilities at The Plant Accelerator®, and the X-ray CT scanner equipment, will remove the environmental variability of field trials and allow her to gather data from different lines grown under controlled conditions.

As part of their Awards, both students will receive approximately $10,000 of infrastructure access plus accommodation and travel support from APPF.

They will also benefit from the opportunity to ‘get hands-on’ with our state-of-the-art phenotyping equipment, while working alongside researchers who can share their substantial experience in designing and conducting plant science experiments.

Scientific Director of The Plant Accelerator® Associate Professor Bettina Berger says hosting postgraduate interns allows the APPF team to share their facilities and experience with up-and-coming researchers.

“We very much look forward to hosting Rucha and Isobella at APPF and working with them to answer their important research questions,” she says.

“Supporting the next generation of researchers is one of the many benefits of our national research infrastructure and incredibly rewarding for our team.”

The Postgraduate Internship Awards reflect APPF’s commitment to encouraging young plant scientists in the dynamic ag tech and food innovation sectors, by offering exposure to world class research technology and knowledge.

Award applications are opened twice per year, closing at the end of March and November, with recipients announced in June and February.

For more information and to apply click here.