Melbourne-Potsdam PhD Programme
The Melbourne-Potsdam PhD Programme (MelPoPP) is an initiative between the University of Melbourne (UoM), Australia, the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology (MPI-MP) and the University of Potsdam (UP), Germany, that started in 2016. The programme provides international research training opportunities to PhD candidates/ Graduate Researchers who spend time in both Australia and Germany and will have the chance to obtain a joint PhD from the University of Melbourne and the University of Potsdam.
MelPoPP involves research groups at the University of Melbourne’s School of BioSciences and at the University of Potsdam’s Institute of Biochemistry and Biology; and at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology. Graduate researchers in the programme have projects that are jointly supervised by group leaders in Melbourne and in Potsdam. The joint projects combine expertise at either institution that complement each other and are cross-disciplinary in their nature.
MelPoPP graduate researchers are elite students, selected in a rigorous annual application call integrated with the prestigious International Max Planck Research School “Primary Metabolism and Plant Growth” (IMPRS-PMPG) doctoral programme.
Fellowships are awarded for 3 years, with the possibility of 6 months extension, and include a waiver for University of Melbourne tuition fees. Some details regarding benefits and conditions may differ depending on which institution the fellowship is coming from. Funding for the programme is provided by the University of Melbourne and the MPI-MP with a limited number of fellowships available from either institution during each application call.
Applications for 2020/2021 round have now closed.
Mike Ogden featured in ‘Humans of BioSciences’
MelPoPP candidate Mike Ogden has been featured in the University of Melbourne School of BioSciences' Humans of BioSciences campaign. Mike's research in plant molecular biology explores approaches to understanding how nitrogen regulates plant cell wall synthesis and root growth. He is interested in how plants respond to stressful growth conditions, such as nutrient deficiency or pest attack and "aims to identify …December 17, 2020 News
Professor Ute Roessner inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women
We are proud to announce that Professor Ute Roessner, MelPoPP PI and Head of the School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne, has been named a Trailblazer on the Victorian Honour Roll of Women. The Victorian Honour Roll of Women "acknowledges and celebrates the achievements of women in Victoria", and this year was the 20th anniversary of the Roll. In 2020, 32 …March 17, 2020 News
Interview with Mike Ting
Listen to Mike Ting, PhD Candidate for MelPoPP talk about his experience as a MelPoPP student. Click here to see Mike's full profile.April 27, 2019 Podcasts
What plant proteins can tell us about Alzheimers
Professor Staffan Persson, MelPoPP founding academic supervisor is featured in the University of Melbourne's Pursuit news discussing how plant protein CC1 helps plants to grow under salt stress and, intriguingly, shares features with a protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease. “We found the proteins we call CC1 and CC2 were in some way able to protect a plant’s ability to produce cellulose …February 25, 2019 News
Bo Eng Cheong
The Effect of Sub-Optimal Temperature on the Cellular Metabolism of Wheat and Arabidopsis thaliana Optimal temperature is the key to the viability of cereal crops. When the ambient temperature significantly deviates from the optimal one, physiological and molecular changes occur within crops, which adversely impact their growth and development. Excessive frosts have negatively impacted Australian wheat production in recent years, causing …
Analysis of ribosome heterogeneity and specialization during Arabidopsis temperature acclimation Research Project Summary: My PhD project supports the hypothesis of what has been called the ribosomal code. An analogous figure to the histone code in which structural features of chromatin influence transcription. Specifically my project entails the Analysis of ribosome heterogeneity and specialization during Arabidopsis temperature acclimation. I am focusing in plants …
Research Project: Building a Wall – Developing small molecule biosensors to visualize cell wall biosynthesis Project Supervisors: The Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology: Dr Arun Sampathkumar / The University of Melbourne: Dr Berit Ebert Email: Mariette@mpimp-golm.mpg.de
Mitchell Rey Toleco
Metabolic transport into plant mitochondria: promiscuous or specific? Research Project Summary: Most members of the mitochondrial carrier family (MCF) are transport proteins found in the inner mitochondrial membrane that link pathways and processes associated with mitochondrial functions such as cellular respiration. In Arabidopsis, 58 MCF proteins have been identified. However, while a number have been extensively investigated at the biochemical level, these …
Improving plant root performance by investigating the relationship between nutrient availability and cell wall biosynthesi Research Summary: Nitrogen (N) is a macronutrient essential for plant growth. N sensing, absorption, and transport occur at the root-soil interface. Over 100 megatons of costly synthetic nitrogen fertilizers are added to crops yearly to ensure yields; however, modern crops are highly inefficient in N acquisition. To …
Michael Yin Ting
Research Project: Circadian Regulated Dynamics of Translation in Plants Supervisors: The Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology: Dr Reimo Zoschke, The University of Melbourne: Dr Michael Haydon Email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com Student Bio: Michael Ting was raised in Calgary Alberta Canada. He became interested in plant research during his bachelors degree where he studied the synthesis of medicinal compounds from the opium poppy. He then …
Research Project: Interplay of microtubules and cellulose synthesis at the cell plate Project Supervisors: The University of Potsdam: Professor Dr Markus Grebe / The University of Melbourne: Professor Staffan Persson, Dr Heather McFarlane Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Publication: Chen HW, Persson S, Grebe M, McFarlane H (2018) Cellulose synthesis during cell plate formation. Physiologia Plantarum 164:17-26. doi: 10.1111/ppl.12703.
From nucleotide sugars to polysaccharides: How do plants control the delivery of substrates for cell wall biosynthesis and protein glycosylation? Research summary: The aim of Pawel’s Ph.D. project is the elucidation of the process of substrate delivery for cell wall biosynthesis in plant cells. In his research, he combines various protein-protein interaction studies, cutting edge microscopy, mass spectrometry and preparations of native …
Sugars, sinks and cell wall synthesis – how plants use sugar signals to invest their carbon capital for growth Research Project Summary: I have been working between Staffan Persson (UoM) and Prof Mark Stitt (MPI-MP) on a project where we try to elucidate how carbon allocation is controlled during the diel cycle in Arabidopsis thaliana. In particular, I have found that the …
Understanding how mechanical forces influence morphogenesis: the role of the putative mechanosensor DEK1 Research summary: Although sessile, plants still need to sense mechanical forces during their growth and development. Mechanical forces, generated by turgor pressure inside growing plant cells are actively shaping plant tissues and determine organ initiation and growth patterns. Growing cells in a plant tissue are “pushing” each other …
Research Project: The LEUNIG regulatory complex: How does it control shoot apical meristem formation during embryogenesis as well as its post-embryonic activity? My research focuses on the genetic processes controlling shoot growth during embryogenesis and then throughout the life of the plant. Shoot development during embryogenesis is characterized by the formation of the shoot apical meristem (SAM), a proliferative structure that …
A quantitative and global view of transport and tracking in plant cells using computational approaches Research summary: I work on automated, computational frameworks to analysis microscopy images by quantifying certain processes in plants. Here, I focus especially on cytoskeletal components, such as the actin filaments. In my first project, we developed an automated framework which extracts and analyzes actin filaments from images …
Future scholarship rounds for the MelPoPP program have been discontinued; further information on available opportunities in other International Research Training Groups can be found here.
Associate Professor Joshua Heazlewood
Joshua Heazlewood is the academic lead of the Melbourne-Potsdam (MelPoPP) joint PhD programme and an Associate Professor in Plant Biochemistry in the School of BioSciences in the Faculty of Science. He is also the lead for the MelPoPP programme project on Metabolic transport into plant mitochondria: promiscuous or specific?.
Dr Berit Ebert
Berit Ebert is an ARC Future Fellow in the School of BioSciences in the Faculty of Science. She is also the lead for the MelPoPP programme project on Building a Wall – Developing small molecule biosensors to visualize cell wall biosynthesis.
Dr Alexandre Fournier-Level
Alexandre Fournier-Level is a lecturer in the School of Biosciences and Head of the Adaptive Evolution Lab in the Faculty of Science.
Dr John Golz
John Golz is Group Leader of the Golz Group in Plant Developmental Genetics and Senior Lecturer in Genetics in the School of BioSciences in the Faculty of Science. He is also the lead for the MelPoPP programme project on The LEUNIG regulatory complex: How does it control shoot apical meristem formation during embryogenesis as well as its post-embryonic activity.
Dr Mike Haydon
Mike Haydon is a Senior Lecturer Genetics in the School of BioSciences in the Faculty of Science. He is also the lead for the MelPoPP programme project on Circadian regulated dynamics of translation in plants.
Associate Professor Alexander Idnurm
Alexander Idnurm is an Associate Professor in plant pathology in the School of Biosciences in the Faculty of Science.
Associate Professor Alex Johnson
Alex Johnson is an Associate Professor in plant nutrition in the School of Biosciences in the Faculty of Science.
Dr Mohammad Pourkheirandish
Mohammad Pourkheirandish is a senior lecturer in Crop Genetics & Molecular Breeding in the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences. He is also the lead for the MelPoPP programme project on Reclaiming the lost genetic diversity in barley.
Professor Ute Roessner
Ute Roessner is Head of School of BioSciences in the Faculty of Science. She is also the lead for the MelPoPP programme project on Analysis of ribosome heterogeneity and specialization during Arabidopsis temperature acclimation and The effect of sub-optimal temperature on the cellular metabolism of wheat and arabidopsis thaliana.
Associate Professor Heroen Verbruggen
Heroen Verbruggen is an Associate Professor in marine biology in the School of BioSciences in the Faculty of Science. He is also the lead for the MelPoPP programme project on How are phytoplankton metabolism and composition affected by seawater chemistry?
Professor Michelle Watt
Michelle Watt is a Professorial Chair in Botany Secured for the Future in the Faculty of Science. She is also the lead for the MelPoPP programme project on How do plant roots sense and adapt to soil water? An experimental and modelling study using root cap cells.