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James McKenna Research Officer, Biochemistry

I am currently working as a research officer in the Department of Biochemistry at La Trobe University involved creating a library of antimicrobial extracts from Australian native plants. In the future we will be exploiting the library to identify novel proteins or molecules that can be used to control fungi and bacteria in agricultural or medical settings. Previously I was involved in the assessment of transgenic maize plants for enhanced resistance to fungal pathogens. This project involved the high throughput assessment of primary and T1 generation plants against 4 major maize pathogens (F. graminearum, C. graminicola, C. heterostrophus and E. turcicum). Other areas of interest also include the study of plant cystatins and their synergistic inhibition of fungal growth in combination with other plant antifungal proteins. I am also interested in how plant pathogenic fungi infect and reproduce within their host(s).

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