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Simon Kelly

 

Microbiome and bacterial genetics

Microbiome analysis of legume and cereal plants

We aim to characterise the microbiomes of model legumes (Lotus japonicus and Medicago truncatula) and cereals (barley and maize) to determine the impact of host genetics on root microbiota associations. A particular focus of this research is on the rhizobia component of the microbiome that interact with legumes and cereals.

Characterisation of plant endophytic bacteria

Soil contains a diverse microbial population, yet only a restricted set of bacteria colonise plant roots. The characteristics that allow these bacteria to exist as endophytes are not well understood. Using genome-sequenced complex bacterial synthetic communities and model plant hosts we aim to identify isolates proficient at endophytic colonisation. Large-scale mutagenesis and bioinformatics approaches are then employed to identify the gene complements that allow these isolates to be successful endophytes.

Molecular communication in the establishment of rhizobia-legume symbiosis

Molecular communication between rhizobia and their host legume plant determines compatibility in the establishment of nitrogen-fixing symbiosis. Rhizobial Nod factor and exopolysaccharide represent two important signalling molecules in this process. We aim to analyse their regulation/biosynthesis and characterise the downstream signalling initiated following their perception by legume receptors.

Simon’s group receives funding from the Independent Research Fund Denmark as well as larger consortia (InRoot and ENSA).

Here you can find the group’s publications and pre-prints.

If you are interested in our work or would like to join the group, please contact Simon Kelly (kelly@mbg.au.dk).