Mylne lab

We are a young and growing group of people interested in plant molecular biology, genetics and biochemistry. Our lab at UWA was established in January 2013. Our current and recent substantive funding is:

  • Nexgen-UWA Herbicide Partnership (Mylne, Stubbs & Haywood) with Nexgen Plants
  • DP190101048 (Mylne, Stubbs, Haywood, Maxwell) "Putting new herbicide targets on the table"
  • DP190102058 (Mylne, Rosengren, Hara-Nishimura, van der Hoorn) "Buried treasure: bioactive plant seed proteins evolving inside hosts"
  • DP160100107 (Mylne & Tawfik) "How scissors learn to glue: the catalysis of ligation by proteases"
  • For all funding see Projects on UWA respository

Bayliss Building

    The Bayliss Building is home to UWA's School of Molecular Sciences (SMS) and The ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology (ARC CoE PEB). SMS teaches three majors:

  1. Genetics

    RNA biology, genomics and epigenomics, plant genetics, organelle biogenesis and computational biology.

  2. Biochemistry

    Structural biology, synthetic biology, chemical biology, drug design, metabolomics, bionano and enzymology.

  3. Chemistry

    Catalysis, molecular electronics, molecular materials, theoretical and computational chemistry.

UWA Reputation

  • A world top 100 university. Since 2012, UWA has been among the world's top 100 universities and #1 in Australia (and world’s top 50) for Biological Sciences.

    Academic Ranking of World Universities
  • Consistently in the top 1% of universities worldwide as judged in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and the QS rankings.

    Times Higher Education & QS
  • UWA is ranked 1st in Australia and in the world’s top 50 for Biological Sciences and Agricultural Sciences among other areas.

    Academic Ranking of World Universities

Lab members

Grishma Vadlamani, Post-doc

Grishma did her PhD at the University of Manitoba in crystallography and antibiotic resistance, did a postdoc with Trevor Lithgow at Monash University then joined our lab funded by an ARC Discovery grant to pursue recombinant protein approaches with enzymes; specifically new herbicide targets.

Mark Fisher, Post-doc

Mark has a BSc and first class honours in genetics from UWA where he studied the structure of RNA binding proteins. He has blended his long experience in the IT industry with molecular biology to examine the importance of hijacking as a mechanism for de novo protein evolution.

Samuel Nonis, PhD student

Sam is from Singapore, but did a UWA undergraduate degree followed by an Honours degree in genetic engineering and epigenomics with Prof. Ryan Lister. Facinated by the origins of life, Sam has skills from A-Star in directed evolution that he is applying to enzymes involved in the evolutionary birth of proteins.

Kirill Suvkoverkov, PhD student

Hailing from Moscow in Russia, Kirill has a strong background in enzymology and protein modifications. He helped train Russian Chemistry Student Olympiad teams and is now working on novel herbicides as well as determining and characterising their targets.

Mario Bani, PhD student

Mario earned his Masters degree in peptide biochemistry from the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland working on recombinant production of spider peptide toxins. He is using Arabidopsis genetics and recombinant protein biochemistry to validate new herbicide targets.

Joel Haywood, DECRA Fellow

Joel did his undergraduate and a 3-year industry stint in the UK before a PhD on leukocyte receptor structure at the Chinese Academy of Science in Beijing. He is working on a range of protein projects where we seek to bring a structural understanding of biosynthesis and bioactivities.

Victoria Cornford, PhD student

Vicky did her undergrad at Curtin University and has come to work on novel herbicidal compounds and their proteins targets working close with DECRA Fellow Joel Haywood. Vicky is working with recombinant plant protein production and will attempt to crystallize ones that are potential new herbicide targets.

Kalia Bernath-Levin, Post-doc

Dr Bernath-Levin did her PhD in directed evolution with Dan Tawfik at the Weizmann in Israel, she did a post-doc with Ayelet Fishman at the Technion before joining our lab at UWA in 2013, then in 2015 took up a 5 year position with Ian Small upstairs and now is back bringing her protein exertise to work on projects funded by Nexgen Plants.

Michael Wallace, PhD student

Michael did his BSc in chemistry at UWA and is jointly supervised with Assoc. Prof. Keith Stubbs, in whose lab he is working with a potentially new class of herbicide. Using synthetic organic chemistry, Michael is creating analogs to find ones that make better herbicides by testing the analogs in Arabidopsis and other systems.

Colton Payne, PhD student

Colton did his undergraduate and Honours at UQ and remains based at UQ where he is jointly supervised with Assoc. Prof. Johan Rosengren, in whose lab he's based as he pursues a PhD. Colton is using synthetic peptide chemistry and NMR to study a range of buried seed peptides, especially vicilin-buried helical hairpins.

Joshua Mylne, lab head

Josh has a PhD (2002) in plant genetic engineering from UQ, did a 4-year post doc in Arabidopsis molecular genetics and epigenetics at the John Innes Centre (UK) before a 7-year fellowship stint with peptide chemists at the IMB, UQ. He currently yearns to get into the lab for more than just RNA extractions.

How about you?

PhD stipends may be made available to students with strong records. Enquiries with CV from students are welcome anytime by e-mail to Josh Mylne. Post-docs can consider seeking their own short-term funding for working visits, or for longer periods can consult with us about supporting fellowship applications.


Dr Amy James, 2018 PhD (UWA)

"I joined Josh’s lab as a PhD candidate after completing my Undergraduate and Masters degree at University of Victoria, BC, Canada. I submitted my PhD as a series of publications which included two published first author publications, one first author publication ready for submission, one co-authored published manuscript and one co-authored publication ready for submission. During my PhD, I developed numerous techniques in molecular biology and biochemistry. Along with Josh’s background in plant genetics and molecular biology, my co-supervisor Prof. Charlie Bond, with whom Josh maintains an active collaborative relationship, has exceptional knowledge and expertise in structural biology. Josh’s supervisory philosophy is to prepare his students for the next stage in their career by providing a well rounded and fulfilling experience. Beyond scientific ability, Josh encourages students to develop other skills important to a successful scientific career. For example, I had the opportunity to take part in all aspects of producing a published research article including writing of the manuscript, generating figures and writing the response to reviewers. He offers several workshops to assist in these skills including a photoshop/illustrator course and a bi-annual writing retreat." (9 Feb 2018)

Dr Alysha Elliott, 2013 PhD (UQ)

"Starting a graduate program in 2009 as Associate Professor Josh Mylne’s first primary PhD student was an exciting, challenging and rewarding time for us both. It was a great position to be in with a young and enthusiastic post doctoral supervisor who was keen to be by my side in the laboratory when needed as well as giving me the independence to find my own grounding and niche as a scientist. My thesis “A New Class of Daisy Seed Peptides” describes the discovery of a new and structurally diverse class of seed peptides. The majority of this work was [recently accepted] for publication in Plant Cell and other elements are currently being continued in the lab. I learnt a vast number of new techniques, as this project was multidisciplinary based on Josh’s plant molecular biology expertise, my own prior skill set in peptide chemistry and, via a strong collaboration with Dr. Johan Rosengren (NMR expert), structural biology. During my candidature, with the passionate support of Josh, I had the opportunity to attend international conferences, where I won student bursaries and prizes for my work, visited international collaborators to collect samples on a student travel award and competed in the GlaxoSmithKline student awards. My time in the Mylne lab was highly successful and enjoyable thanks to a great group, of not only intelligent and enthusiastic but friendly and supportive young people." (21 Oct 2013)

Kate Martinac, 2011 Honours (UQ), First Class

"I recently completed my honours in B. Biotechnology on in planta peptide processing at the IMB and received First Class Honours. It was a privilege to have Josh as my supervisor and to work with such an intelligent team of researchers in state-of-the-art facilities. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the lab and found the experience both challenging and rewarding. I now work at QUT bluebox, assisting in the commercialisation of research outcomes." (30 Nov 2011)

Zaiyang Phua, 2010 Masters (UQ), Dean's Commendation

"I did my Masters in Molecular Biology in 2010 with Josh at the IMB on the genetic evolution of seed peptides and received a grade of straight sevens [7 is the highest mark possible] as well as the Dean's Commendation for High Achievement. It was a tremendously rewarding experience working under Josh and I have learned many invaluable laboratory techniques and skills which I will hold on to for my scientific career. I really enjoyed my time in the lab and Josh's dedication and passion towards his work will always be an inspiration for me. I now work at the Genome Institute of Singapore as a research officer performing next-generation sequencing." (17 Dec 2011)

Dr Achala Jayasena, 2016 PhD (UWA)

"I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from Sri Lanka and gained a Masters of Biology from Adelphi University, New York studying Arabidopsis genetics. With a desire to expand my skill set, I joined what would become the Mylne lab (while Josh was hosted by the Craik lab at IMB, UQ) as a PhD candidate in 2012. I got to be the first student in the official 'Mylne lab' at UWA where I continued working on my project studying the evolution of the dual-fate protein PawS1. My PhD journey (2012-2016) was an extremely successful and interesting one. I developed skills in de novo transcriptomics and proteomics in addition to strengthening my skills in molecular biology. I graduated in 2016 authoring six manuscripts in respected journals and I have a few more on the way. I was lucky enough to submit my PhD thesis as a series of publications. Despite being a small lab, we were well connected with big labs from whom we sought expertise in next generation sequencing, proteomics and daisy evolution. The lab always had a very friendly working environment and it was a pleasant surprise to see our lab head working in the lab along with us most of the time. Josh was a very supportive supervisor with a positive mindset, who helped me with all the steps in my candidature from the scholarship application to the thesis submission. I enjoyed my time in the Mylne lab and thank Josh, my lab colleagues and our collaborators for their wonderful support." (2 Nov 2016)

Joseph O'Neill, 2011-2012 Summer, IMB Summer Scholar

"I was lucky enough to receive an IMB Summer Scholarship for an internship with Assoc. Prof. Mylne. I worked on a project that built on the effect antimalarial drugs have on plants. Specifically, I sterilised and sowed mutated Arabidopsis seed onto antimalarial-drug-containing plates of media, aiming to find a drug-resistant line. It is hoped that, given the shared evolutionary history between malaria parasites and photosynthetic plants, Assoc. Prof. Mylne's work in this area will help elucidate the mode of action of antimalarial drugs in parasites. Being in charge of my own project, albeit with expert guidance, I was able to learn and develop new skills that I was yet to do in my undergraduate education. I learned much about drug design and action, as well as practical skills like sterile technique, liquid and gas seed sterilisation, plant husbandry, making media, following scientific methods, researching techniques, and keeping a lab book. All of which will be useful for my science career. During my time I was supervised by the competent and engaged members of Assoc. Prof. Mylne's and Prof. Craik's group, and as my first experience of the research world my time in Assoc. Prof. Mylne's lab offered me invaluable experience and knowledge. As I am graduating from my B.Sc. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UQ in June, I feel I have made connections at the IMB that will serve me in my postgraduate education and my future career. I had a great summer and thoroughly enjoyed my time at the IMB." (13 Feb 2012)

Christina Delay, 2011 Honours (UQ), First Class, Dean's Commendation

"For my honours project, I set out to investigate how and when cyclic peptides first arose albumin genes in the daisy family. This project gave me the opportunity to use a range of different experimental techniques, including molecular biology, plant biology and protein chemistry. I received First Class Honours with a Dean's Commendation for High Achievement and my results will be included in a forthcoming publication [see here]. Josh is extremely passionate about his work and his enthusiasm certainly rubs off onto his students. The lab has a great dynamic, with a good mix of students and RAs who are always able to offer advice when needed. Additionally, the lab has a number of excellent collaborators. Next year, I will be starting a Ph.D. in plant sciences under the supervision of Assoc. Professor Michael Djordjevic at the Australian National University in Canberra." (3 Dec 2011)