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Damien Lightfoot

Research Scientist
Research Group: Mark Tester

Research Interests

Damien is currently involved in two major projects. The first of these projects involves the identification and characterization of a novel family of ion channels that appear play a role in sodium influx into the roots of plants and are involved in plant salinity tolerance. While much is known about the mechanisms of sodium transport throughout a plant, the mechanisms underlying initial influx are largely uncharacterized. The second project involves bioinformatics and genomics approaches to investigate the high salinity tolerance of wild tomato species relative to commercial tomato varieties.

Selected Publications

  • The Na+ transporter, TaHKT1;5-D, limits shoot Na+ accumulation in bread wheat. C.S. Byrt, B. Xu, M. Krishnan, D.J. Lightfoot, A. Athman, A.K. Jacobs, N.S. Watson-Haigh, R. Munns, M. Tester and M. Gilliham. Plant Journal, Volume 80, Issue 3, 516-526. (2014)
  • Identification and characterisation of cotton boll wall-specific promoters for future transgenic cotton varieties. D.J. Lightfoot, J.N. Timmis and S.J. Orford. Plant Molecular Biology Reporter, Volume 31, Issue 1, 174-184, (2013)
  • Growth of Pyrenophora teres in planta during barley net blotch disease. D.J. Lightfoot and A.J. Able. Australasian Plant Pathology, Volume 39, Issue 6, 499–507, (2010)
  • Identification and characterisation of barley (Hordeum vulgare) Respiratory Burst Oxidase Homologue family members.  D.J. Lightfoot, A. Boettcher, A. Little, N. Shirley and A.J. Able. Functional Plant Biology, Volume 35, Issue 5, 347-359, (2008)
  • Evidence for alternative splicing of MADS-box transcripts in developing cotton fibre cells.  D.J. Lightfoot, K.M. Malone, J.N. Timmis and S.J. Orford. Molecular Genetics and Genomics, Volume 279, Issue 1, 75-85, (2007)

Education Profile

  • 2007 PhD, Discipline of Genetics (School of Molecular and Biomedical Science) at the University of Adelaide, Australia.
  • 2002 BSc (Hons), Discipline of Genetics (School of Molecular and Biomedical Science) at the University of Adelaide, Australia.

Professional Profile

  • ​2014-current: Research Scientist, Centre for Desert Agriculture, KAUST, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia 
  • 2012-2014: Postdoctoral Researcher, Australian Centre for Plant Functional Research, The University of Adelaide, Australia.
  • 2010-2012: Postdoctoral Researcher, The Plant Accelerator, The University of Adelaide, Australia.  
  • 2007-2009: Postdoctoral Researcher, The School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, The University of Adelaide, Australia.