Dr Nabil Ahmad

Research Fellow
Dept of Plant and Food Sciences

C44 - Plant Breeding Inst - Admin. & Labs A1 Camden
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 9351 8829
Fax +61 2 9351 8875

Biographical details

Nabil has a BSc and MSc from the University of Jordan (Jordan). This was followed by four years at the National Centre for Agricultural Research and Technology Transfer in Amman / Jordan as a researcher and coordinator of the vegetable unit. During that time, Nabil undertook research on salt and drought tolerance beside many extension activities to promote the hydroponic growing systems.
In 2005, Nabil graduated from the University of Sydney with a PhD in plant breeding. The main aim of his PhD dissertation was to develop a new approach to the rapid development of improved drought tolerant hybrid varieties of Australian native grasses and grass-like plants. In this work, floral development and embryology of Lomandra longifolia and Poa labillardieri have been described for the first time using scanning electron microscopy analysis and cytological observations. Self-incompatibility and somatic embryogenesis have also been studied in the targeted plants for the first time.

From 2005 Nabil was an honorary research associate at the University of Sydney. During this time he worked for the private sector and developed the first breeding program for F1 hybrid cucumbers in Australia. This was a successful program leading to the release of a number of parthenocarpic gynoecious varieties in the Australian and overseas market.
Since July 2011, Nabil has been employed by the University of Sydney as a research fellow with an interest in drought and salt tolerance in cucumber and tomato and enhancing the flavour in F1 Tomato varieties.

Research interests

I have been greatly influenced by my research perspective; I am a plant breeder with a special interest in incorporating modern breeding tools for plant improvement in my research work. Tissue culture techniques for micropropagation, gene recombination and enhancing genetic variation (e.g. protoplast fusion, embryo rescue, mutation breeding and somaclonal variation) are within my research focus in addition to special interest in anther culture to dramatically reduce the time required to develop inbred parents for breeding of F1 hybrid varieties and facilitates the selection of recessive traits.

My research into the commercialisation and biology of Australian grasses and grass-like plants is a long term interest flowing from my PhD work. It includes special interest in mass propagation and synthetic seed production of Lomandra species through cell culture and somatic embryogenesis.

I have a passion for plant developmental biology research including embryology and floral morphogenesis; and due to my extensive expertise in cucumber breeding, I have special interest in sex expression research of the cucurbit family.

The ultimate goal of our current effort is to breed tomatoes for tolerance to abiotic stresses such as heat, drought and salinity using marker-assisted breeding. Genetic, morphological, physiological and biochemical basis of the tolerance and their usefulness as selection criteria are within the scope of our research.

Selected grants

2001

  • Development of F1 hybrid seed production systems for native grasses and rushes; Marshall D, Ahmad N; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Strategic Partnerships with Industry - Research and Training (SPIRT).

Selected publications

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Journals

  • Ahmad, N., Martin, P. (2013). Flowering, Seed setting and Self-incompatibility in Poa labillardieri (Poaceae). The International Journal of Plant Reproductive Biology, 5(1), 1-14.
  • Ahmad, N., Martin, P., Vella, J. (2009). Floral morphogenesis and proliferation in Poa labillardieri (Poaceae). Australian Journal of Botany, 57, 602-618.
  • Ahmad, N., Martin, P., Vella, J. (2008). Embryology of the dioecious Australian endemic Lomandra Longifolia (Lomandraceae). Australian Journal of Botany, 56, 651-665.
  • Ahmad, N., Martin, P., Vella, J. (2008). Floral structure and development in the dioecious Australian endemic Lomandra longifolia (Lomandraceae). Australian Journal of Botany, 56, 666-683.

2013

  • Ahmad, N., Martin, P. (2013). Flowering, Seed setting and Self-incompatibility in Poa labillardieri (Poaceae). The International Journal of Plant Reproductive Biology, 5(1), 1-14.

2009

  • Ahmad, N., Martin, P., Vella, J. (2009). Floral morphogenesis and proliferation in Poa labillardieri (Poaceae). Australian Journal of Botany, 57, 602-618.

2008

  • Ahmad, N., Martin, P., Vella, J. (2008). Embryology of the dioecious Australian endemic Lomandra Longifolia (Lomandraceae). Australian Journal of Botany, 56, 651-665.
  • Ahmad, N., Martin, P., Vella, J. (2008). Floral structure and development in the dioecious Australian endemic Lomandra longifolia (Lomandraceae). Australian Journal of Botany, 56, 666-683.

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