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Dr Sarah Mathews

Team Leader

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Sarah combines phylogenetics, molecular evolution, and genomics to understand plant speciation and adaptation. She studied hybridisation in Indian-painbrushes and developed novel nuclear markers for plant phylogenetics during her MSc and PhD degrees from Montana State University. She went from there to Harvard University as an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow to work on the phylogenetics of basal angiosperms. From 2000-2003 Sarah was an assistant professor at the University of Missouri, Columbia, and then returned to Harvard University as a Sargent Fellow of the Arnold Arboretum, where she was Principal Investigator of a lab with research projects in phylogenetics, molecular evolution, and plant responses to red and far-red light. In July 2014, she moved to the Australian National Herbarium in CSIRO, where she is using genomics to understand adaptation of polyploids to whole genome duplication and to harsh environments.

Other Interests

Sarah's other interests include desiccation tolerance in seeds and the development of seeds for stable, enzyme-based assay systems for low-cost diagnostics, leading to collaborations with chemists and biophysicists in France and the US.

Professional Areas

Current Roles

  • Team Leader
    Genomics and molecular systematics in ANH

  • Principal Investigator
    NSF-funded project: IOS-1416825

Academic Qualifications

  • 1995

    Montana State University

  • 1990

    Montana State University

Professional Experiences

  • 2015-2020

    Honorary Associate Professor
    ANU Research School of Biology

  • 2014-present

    Senior Research Scientist

  • 2003-2014

    Senior Research Fellow
    Harvard University

  • 2011-2012

    Program Officer
    US National Science Foundation

  • 2007-2009

    Harvard University

  • 2000-2003

    Assistant Professor
    University of Missouri, Columbia

  • 1997-2000

    Postdoctoral Fellow
    Harvard University

  • 1995-1997

    NSF Postdoctoral Fellow
    Harvard University


  • 2014-2016

    NSF: IOS-1416825, Plant Genome Research Program: “Comparative genomics of a species radiation: sequencing the apple tribe”. (Lead PI)

  • 2010-2015

    NSF: DEB-1020868: “Biogeographical and ecological diversification of trees across the Indonesian archipelago: developing indigenous leadership in biodiversity informatics.” (Co-PI with Lead PI Campbell O. Webb)

  • 2006-2013

    NSF: EF-0629890: "Collaborative Research: Gymnosperms on the Tree of Life: Resolving the phylogeny of seed plants”. (Lead PI)

  • 2002-2005

    NSF: DEB-0215780: “Phylogeny of Orobanchaceae sensu lato inferred from phytochromes and other data: implications for the evolution of parasitism”. (PI)

  • 2002-2005

    NSF: IBN-0214449: “Adaptive evolution in the photoreceptor phytochrome A and its role in the ecological success of the first angiosperms”. (PI)

  • 2001-2003

    University of Missouri Research Board: “Evolution and expression of phytochrome genes in parasites”. (PI)

  • 1998-2001

    NSF: DEB-9806397: “Duplicate genes and plant phylogeny”. (Co-PI with PI Michael J Donoghue)

  • 1995-1997

    NSF: Postdoctoral Research Award in Biosciences Related to the Environment: “The evolution of phytochrome genes in early-diverging angiosperms”



We have publications by Dr Sarah Mathews
For more publications, please see Google Scholar: qRYzu3sAAAAJ Researcher ID: A-6513-2015 ORCID: 0000-0002-5518-7541