Dr Taj Arndell

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Research Fellow - Plant Molecular Biology, Faculty of Science

PhD (University of Adelaide)

I completed a PhD in Plant Biotechnology at the University of Adelaide in 2018. During my PhD, I used CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing to create genic male-sterile wheat lines for hybrid seed production. In 2018, I joined the CSIRO (Agriculture & Food) as a Postdoctoral Fellow working on various synthetic biology projects focused primarily on crop metabolic engineering for plant-based oil production. I was then the lead Research Scientist on a CSIRO Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform project in which we developed a high-throughput platform for screening pooled gene libraries in plant protoplasts. In the first application of the platform, we screened a designed wheat stem rust effector library and identified novel avirulence (Avr) genes, namely AvrSr13 and AvrSr22. During this time, I also led a project on metabolic engineering of the oleaginous yeast Yarrowia lipolytica for lipid production and was the Team Leader for CSIRO's Metabolic Engineering team within the Synthetic Traits group. I joined QUT's Centre for Agriculture and the Bioeconomy (Banana Biotechnology Program) in 2023 and I am currently working on improving fruit quality and resistance to Fusarium wilt (Panama disease) tropical race 4 (TR4) using genome editing.