Eleven Years Of Growing Plant Science

After eleven years and over $2 million in research funding, the Ken and Yasuko Myer Plant Science Research Fund will be wound up at the CSIRO Discovery Centre in Canberra today.

Over its life, the Fund has supported eight scientists at CSIRO Plant Industry to undertake research to advance Australian agriculture, food processing industries and natural resource management.

The three latest projects included research into plant flowering processes, fusarium infection of plants, and biodiversity.

Dr Carol Andersson’s research focused on identifying genes involved in regulating the expression of FLC, a major gene controlling flowering time. The project identified a gene required for FLC expression and has increased the understanding of the broader network of genes involved in controlling the initiation of flowering.

Dr Agnieszka Mudge looked at the major disease of wheat, caused by the fungus Fusarium, to identify the critical genes and processes that enable the disease to affect plants. A better understanding of the disease could lead to wheat varieties with improved resistance to Fusarium and management strategies to limit its spread.

Dr Sophie Bickford investigated spatial distribution patterns of Australian plant diversity, developing predictive models of diversity ’hotspots’. The project provides a better understanding of the patterns and processes underlying the distribution of biodiversity in Australia – knowledge necessary for informed conservation decision making.

The Fund was set up in 1994 to administer a bequest of $1 million to CSIRO Plant Industry, following the untimely deaths of Ken and Yasuko Myer. That initial bequest has grown over the life of the Fund through careful investment by Myer Family Office Pty Ltd but has now been expended through the eight fellowships.

Ken Myer, the eldest son of the Australian-based mercantile family of Sidney Myer of Myer department stores, and his wife Yasuko were involved in a wide range of disciplines including the performing arts, libraries, museums, scientific and medical research, and the environment. They took an active interest in the work of CSIRO Plant Industry prior to their deaths and Ken’s brother Bailleau and son Martyn have been keen trustees of the Fund and very supportive of the research.

The Fund will be wound up at CSIRO Discovery Centre, Clunies Ross St, Acton in Canberra today with seminars from the three most recent fellows and a formal ceremony.

Further Information:
Dr Jim Peacock, CSIRO Plant Industry 02 6246 5250

Media Assistance:
Tony Steeper, CSIRO Plant Industry 02 6246 5323, 0407 032 131

Media Contact

Bill Stephens CSIRO News

More Information:

http://www.csiro.au

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