Dr Shannon Dillon

Senior Research Scientist & Project Leader

Contact details:

  • GPO BOX 1700


I am an early-mid-career quantitative and computational geneticist, passionate about integration of genomic, transcriptomic (‘multi-omic’) and environmental data in large, genetically diverse populations to enable prediction of biological outcomes in ecology, agriculture and forestry. My capability sits at the interface of quantitative genomics, GWAS, bioinformatics, machine learning and evolutionary adaptation. Our team focuses on resolving genomic and environmental factors that determine plant phenotypic performance, including interactive networks, enabling delivery of tools for improved productivity and adaptability of crops to industry. Equally these approaches are being applied to understand the processes driving evolutionary adaptation in native forests, and how this knowledge can inform management of natural resources in the face of changing climate.

Other Interests

Current projects

Whole transcriptome association genetic platform for resolving flowering time and yield component traits (e.g. spike architecture) in wheat:
CSIRO Strategic Funding, Genome to Phenome Platform, 2015-2018
We are applying GWAS and machine learning methods to integrate genome, transcriptome and environmental data to resolve biological pathways and develop accurate predictive models of flowering time and floral architecture in wheat in diverse wheat germplasm.

Machine Learning Genome Biology – Cutting Edge Symposium:
CSIRO Research Office, 2018 - 2019
Our team is coordinating a three day symposium in Kiama, NSW, with key local and international speakers, from Tuesday the 9th to Thursday the 11th of April 2019. This workshop will address advances in the application of a broad array of “artificial intelligence” methods to effectively integrate large-scale ‘omic’, environmental and trait/diagnostic data to predict phenotypic performance.

Pedigree based GWAS of phenology in Australian wheat:
Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), 2015 - 2018
We are applying machine learning and GWAS methods to resolve gene, epistatic and gene by environment interactions underpinning flowering time variation in the Australian wheat pedigree, exploiting experiments across thousands of trials sites collated over more than a decade.

Forests for the future: making the most of a high CO2 world:
SIEF (science Industry Endowment Fund) 2013 - 2018
Recent advances in eucalypt genome sequencing and plant phenomics provide pathways to screen responses to elevated CO2. Using Eucalyptus as a proof of concept we are assessing rapid screening techniques to predict the performance of eucalypt plantings under high CO2, to develop, test and deploy decision tools based, including genomic based markers for the forestry sector.

Evolutionary adaptation and adaptive plasticity in eucalypts:
CSIRO Transformational Biology Catalytic Project, 2012-2015
Phenotypic responses to rising CO2 will have consequences for the productivity and management of the world’s forests. Intraspecific variation in plasticity remains poorly characterised in trees, but has the capacity to produce unexpected trends in response across species distributions. Using a quantitative transcriptomics approach we have explored genomic factors, including pre-existing adaptations, underlying plant physiological responses to elevated CO2, in a continent wide sample of the river red gum.

Genome wide assessment of landscape level adaptation in eucalypts:
CSIRO Transformational Biology Catalytic Project, 2009 - 2013
We have assessed sample of genome diversity via single nucleotide polymorphism markers in 1000 genotypes of the iconic riparian tree, the River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) spanning provenances along the Murray River, to probe for signatures of adaptation to fine-scale environmental gradients within riparian habitats.

Community and Corporate Citizenship

  • 2015-2018

    Vacation scholar program – Agriculture and Food Comittee Chair. Our Undergraduate Vacation Scholarships are run over the Australian summer holidays and offers high achieving and promising undergraduate students the opportunity to collaborate with leading CSIRO scientists in our world class facilities.