Dr Edwin R. Lampugnani

School of BioSciences

University of Melbourne

My research:

My current work focuses on the development of a novel in planta protein-protein interaction method and the turn-over of proteins in a plant cell. I have also been exploring how cellulose is made in the different walls of the developing Arabidopsis flower; a superb system for studying organ development.

About me:

I completed my PhD at Monash University (Australia) under the guidance of Prof. David R. Smyth in the field of developmental plant genetics using the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. My PhD project involved examining how organ primordia are initiated in the flowers of Arabidopsis thaliana, and the genetic factors and pathways involved in this process. I have been able to show that petal development is triggered by the chemical hormone auxin. When the shape of flower buds is disrupted by mutation, auxin accumulation is affected and petals do not arise. Thus floral architecture is established by the finely-tuned interplay of growth gene and hormone action.

After I completed my PhD in 2011 I undertook a post-doctoral position with Assoc. Prof. Ed Newbigin and Prof Tony Bacic investigating the cell and molecular biology of cell wall synthesis with a particular emphasis on arabinan and xyloglucan biosynthesis. We used Nicotiana alata pollen tubes as a model to study cell wall biosynthesis because of their relatively simple structure and their ability to grow rapidly in culture. In 2014 I moved to the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls where I continued to investigate the cell and molecular biology of cell wall synthesis, but this time with a particular emphasis on understanding how grasses make the two main non-cellulosic polysaccharides, mixed linkage (1,3;1,4)-β-glucan (β-glucan) and arabinoxylan, in order to manipulate cereal grain wall composition. In 2016 I joined the Persson Cell Wall biology research group where I am developing a number of novel technologies to study protein-protein interactions and protein turnover.