News

Sydney node for Translational Photosynthesis research



6 March 2014

Recently funded ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis has Associate Professor Min Chen as Chief Investigator for the Sydney node.

This new Centre of Excellence intends to revolutionise plant productivity. The centre pulls together scientists from the Australian National University (where the centre will be based), the University of Queensland, the University of Western Sydney, CSIRO Plant Industry, the International Rice Research Institute and the University of Sydney, with the aim to develop and harness advances in photosynthesis research, crop bioengineering, plant characterisations and computational tools to realise increased and sustainable crop yields.

The node at Sydney, lead by Associate Professor Min Chen, is focused on improving light energy capture. "We aim to identify how novel chlorophylls extend the spectral band of sunlight available for leaf photosynthesis," said Min "Also, to demonstrate that near infrared energy can drive photosynthetic electron transport in higher plants."

Associate Professor Min Chen, chief investigator for the University of Sydney node of the Centre of Excellence in Translational Photosynthesis
Associate Professor Min Chen, chief investigator for the University of Sydney node of the Centre of Excellence in Translational Photosynthesis

More broadly, the Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis also aims to enhance CO2 capture and link leaf function to the field performance of crops. The centre has funding for seven years, with the Sydney node receiving about $300,000 per annum.

A new boost to plant productivity is needed to feed the expected increase in world population and to provide world food security. Improvements in photosynthesis are now widely recognised as the new frontier for increasing crop yields and this Centre seeks to harness new developments in photosynthesis research to achieve the next yield revolution.