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Dr Peter Dodds

Chief Research Scientist


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Contact details:

GPO BOX 1700


Dr Dodds' research focuses on fungal rust diseases of plants, which constitute one of the most significant threats to cereal crops worldwide. The recent emergence and spread of highly virulent wheat stem rust strains in Africa, including Ug99, is of particular concern to world food security.
Dr Dodds' has used the pathogenic interaction between flax and the flax rust fungus as a model for understanding the basis of rust disease as well as host resistance mechanisms. Resistance to rust disease is governed by the gene-for-gene model, where resistance depends on an interaction between host resistance (R) genes pathogen avirulence (Avr) genes.
Host R proteins constitute the recognition components of the plant innate immunity system and function to recognise specific proteins produced by the pathogen, the Avr proteins, and then induce a localised defence response that prevents infection.
Our work in the model flax rust system identified rust Avr proteins as members of a class of small secreted proteins that are translocated into host cells during infection as disease effectors that promote infection. We have corroborated these observations in cereal rusts through the identification of numerous resistance proteins from wheat and recently the first Avr genes from wheat stem rust, Puccinia graminis fsp tritici.
Current work in the group focuses on:
• molecular basis of recognition of rust Avr proteins by plant R proteins
• the mechanism of R protein activation and signalling in model and crop plants
• improving resistance breeding in wheat through DNA markers for R genes
• identification of wheat stem rust Avr genes
• the mechanism of translocation of rust effector proteins into plant cells
• functions of rust effectors in disease.

Academic Qualifications

  • 1991

    University of Melbourne

  • 1996

    University of Melbourne

Achievements and Awards

  • 2022-2022

    Highly Cited Researcher
    Clarivate/Web of Science

  • 2021-2021

    Highly Cited Researcher
    Clarivate/Web of Science

  • 2020-2020

    Highly Cited Researcher
    Clarivate/Web of Science

  • 2019- 2019

    Highly Cited Researcher
    Clarivate/Web of Science

  • 2018- 2018

    Highly Cited Researcher
    Clarivate/Web of Science

  • 2017- 2017

    Co-operative Research Program Fellowship

  • 2017-2017

    CSIRO Chairman's Medal

  • 2016-2016

    Highly Cited Researcher
    Clarivate/Web of Science

  • 2013-2013

    Gene Stewardship Award
    Borlaug Global Rust Initiative

  • 2012-2012

    Australian Academy of Science

  • 2007-2007

    Fenner Medal
    Australian Academy of Science

  • 2006-2006

    Peter Goldacre Award
    Australian Society of Plant Scientists

  • 2004-2004

    CSIRO Medal

Community and Corporate Citizenship

  • 2016-current

    Expert Working group on Control of Wheat Pests and Pathogens

  • 2007-2019

    Board member, International Society for Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions

  • 2010-2016

    Treasurer, International Society for Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions

  • 2012-2017

    Editorial board, Molecular Plant Pathology

  • 2004-2007

    Senior editor, Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions

We have publications by Dr Peter Dodds