UWA plant biochemist awarded Australian Laureate Fellowship

07/07/2020 | 2 minutes

A plant biochemist from The University of Western Australia who is working to create sustainable protein resources from crops for new industries has been awarded a prestigious national Fellowship.

Professor Harvey Millar from UWA’s School of Molecular Sciences and Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology has received a prestigious Australian Laureate Fellowship, announced today by the Minister for Education, the Hon Dan Tehan MP.

One of the 14 Australian Laureate Fellows to be recognised nationally this year, Professor Millar was granted $3.3 million to develop new ways to optimise the stability of proteins in crops in order to increase crop performance and quality.

His project aims to understand the cellular processes and genes that regulate synthesis and degradation of proteins in wheat and barley plants and unveil how to control this for the first time.

Professor Millar said the research had the potential to increase crop quality through the control of protein abundance in wheat and barley plants, and that this would be harnessed by biotech industries to create future nutritious crops worldwide.

"Mapping out, and developing systems to alter the rates of protein production and degradation inside plants will allow us to hone plant protein production in the future so that we’ll gain the nutritional benefits of higher-protein, plant-based food products.” 

UWA Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Tim Colmer said the University’s new ARC Laureate Fellow was an outstanding researcher and internationally recognised for discoveries in plant proteomics and energy metabolism, who had continued to innovate in a field that could have an enormous impact on future crops and food for global populations.

“The ARC Laureate scheme recognises cutting-edge research in Australia, by our world-leading researchers, and the University congratulates Professor Millar on receiving this recognition,” Professor Colmer said.

“His research will help boost the State’s biotechnology capacity, as well as broker new collaborations and provide a high-quality training environment for students and mentoring of early-career researchers.”

Professor Millar is the ninth researcher at UWA to be awarded an ARC Laureate Fellowship since the scheme was initiated in 2009.

Media references

Anna-lee Harry (UWA Media and PR Adviser)                                        08 6488 7975

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